In the fall of 2002 I was diagnosed with an advanced and very aggressive cancer. Hearing my doctors words, “The odds are not in your favor,” I realized I was heading into the battle of my life.
Would I live or would I die?
Facing your own mortality changes the way you look at the world. Some things that seemed so important no longer matter.
- What difference does it make if I do not get that promotion I wanted.
- Who cares if the windows need washed?
Other things take on a new importance.
- Reading a book to my granddaughter.
- Taking a walk with my husband.
During that long year as I lost my hair and my strength became less and less, I thought about the very real possibility that I would never see another birthday.
We took a picture of me with my Dad and we laughed at how much I looked like him with my bald head.
Throughout it all I had a deep assurance that whatever the end result, it would be fine. When I first heard those terrible words from my doctor, I immediately thought of the scripture that says:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.
Feeling at that moment God had given me that scripture for this battle, I did not know if it meant I would walk through the valley and come out on the other side alive and well. Or, did it mean I would walk through the valley into death?
For me, it did not matter which it meant. What comforted me was the assurance no matter what the outcome, God would be with me.
As the treatment continued and my strength got less and less, I began to think perhaps it meant I was walking through the valley into death. Thoughts of exactly what that would mean kept running through my head.
Then, I heard a song that had been released just the year before. It had become the most played Christian single in 2002 and you could not listen to any Christian radio station without hearing it. In fact, it became a main stream hit in 2003 hitting the top 40, adult top 40 and country radio lists.
In the song the writer talks about trying to imagine what he would do when he stands before God in heaven. He questions:
- Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still?
- Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall?
- Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all?
Listening to that song over and over, I tried to imagine what I would do when I stood before Jesus? Slowly in my mind a picture began to take place. I saw myself standing with my hands raised in the air and dancing round and round the throne of God.
Wanting to live for my family, yet there were moments I wanted to see that vision fulfilled and to dance for Jesus.
I did not share this thought with my family. For them, I continued to maintain a strong belief that I would live.
When all my treatment was finally over, my youngest daughter took me to lunch to celebrate. She arrived with a gift for me. It was a Willow Tree angel.
When I saw it, I almost cried with joy. The angel she gave me was the exact vision I had of me with hands raised dancing around the throne of God.
So grateful that I survived that battle and God has given me many years beyond what the doctor said I would have. Still, as I age I know before many more years pass, I will be facing my eternal destiny. I have no idea what I will do on that day when I see Jesus, but I hope I can dance for Him.
A movie has been made about the life of the young man who wrote this song. If you have not seen the movie, I highly recommend it. It is an inspiring story of what God can do to change a monster into a good father. The move has the same title as the song, “I Can Only Imagine.”
What do you imagine you will do when you stand before the throne of God?