Right before my musical group was scheduled to leave for our spring break tour, celebrating the release of our new album and performing in front of a number of churches and student conferences, I received a phone call from home.
My mother had breast cancer.
It runs in her family. Her grandmother had died of it. Several other family members had too. My mother wasn’t old. She was in great shape. She was eating well. She was doing EVERYTHING in her power to prevent this … and still, it came.
My best friend Josh was in the room when I got the call. As a young man, being hundreds of miles from your parents is a bit unsettling, but it was almost unbearable at that moment. Josh didn’t leave me alone. He stayed with me for several days. He made me laugh. Mostly, he loved me. Those moments, just like earlier moments in our friendship when he was forced to endure tragedy in his life, forged our friendship.
Josh accompanied me to see the advisor over our music group, Dr. David Horton.
Dr Horton was a brilliant man. I once witnessed him cry as simply read over the score of a piece of music. He loved Jesus and had a deep devotion to Him.
Dr. Horton’s family had also experienced tragedy. John, his son and our bass player, had an infection reach his brain a year prior that left him mentally handicapped. It was one of the saddest circumstances I have ever witnessed in my life.
Dr. Horton, busy as he always was, hurried me into his office, sat me down, and said these words:
“You’ve got to let it go. You’ve got to trust Jesus. You’ll know when you have, because you’ll stop worrying about it.”
He then left for an appointment and left me wrecked.
I made the decision to forgo the tour and head home for spring break. My mom had surgery to remove the masses of cancer and a radical mastectomy.
I watched my father strongly display faith in God and love for my mother. As a husband, your wife’s body is a treasure, and her’s was being decimated by this disease. He thought nothing of it. He was in love with something far more significant than her body: he displayed a love for her person. My dad taught me a lot about leading in a crisis during that time. He taught me a lot about what it means to love a wife. He taught me without saying anything … he just did it.
My mom came home quickly after the surgery. While there were funny moments where she was so drugged she said some incredibly silly things, she approached her situation with a resolve and strength that I could only hope I would have.
In one of her greatest moments of pain she whispered to me: “Kevin, I am thankful to God that get to go through this.”
She knew that the type of cancer she had should have quickly spread. She knew that her life had been spared by the grace and mercy of God. She chose to view her current circumstance in the light of God’s grace and blessing and not through the filter of pain.
Twelve years later, we can say that she went THROUGH cancer. She started on one side and came out on the other.
This was one of those pivotal moments in my life that I learned to “let go of it” in the words of my mentor and friend, Dr. Horton.
We will all face troubles; that’s certain (John 16:33). Place your confidence in Jesus and march on through.
I saw my mother do it, and it inspired me to do that same.
A few questions to consider as you reflect:
- What are you going through?
- Who is watching you?