One of the hardest parts of having cancer is making new friends only to lose way too many of them in death. I don’t believe I’ve ever grieved the loss of so many friends as I have the past three years.
It happened again two weeks ago when my friend Angela passed away. Angela was about six months ahead of me on the breast cancer journey. She was one of a small group of women I fondly called my “chemo coaches.” They had gone before me and helped me know what was on the road ahead.
Angela wasn’t a new friend, though. She and I had known each other for a long time. We shared a love of music, we homeschooled together, we both served on the Board of Directors at Hearts at Home in the early years of the ministry.
When I saw her husband’s post on her CaringBridge page that she was now safe in the arms of Jesus, I bawled my eyes out. Another. Friend. Lost. To. Cancer.
I silently told myself I wasn’t sure I could attend Angela’s memorial service. It’s just too hard. I would probably uncontrollably cry the whole time. Then I got a Facebook message from her husband…. “Would you be willing to say a few words at the memorial service, Jill?”
How could I say no? She was my friend.
This world is a broken place. It’s a place of joy but also a place of pain, brokenness, and unanswered questions.
If your heart is broken for whatever reason, you need to know you’re not alone. If you’re asking why and getting no answers, you can still trust the unknown answers to a known God.
Life is not so much about finding the answers but rather living with the questions.
I don’t understand why my friend’s life was cut short. But here’s what I do know: Angela’s faith never wavered in the midst of her four-year cancer fight. When I last visited with her and she shared such excitement about her new Bible reading plan, she challenged me in my faith journey. She knew God and couldn’t get enough of Him and His word. Even in the midst of cancer, Angela’s light shone bright.
Angela understood that even when it is not well with our circumstances, it can be well with our soul.
May it be the same for each of us.
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