It was such a simple little drawing. After I was informed in March 2006 that I would undergo twelve chemotherapy treatments, I made a little graph shaped like a thermometer with twelve sections. I put in on the bulletin board in front of my desk at work. Each week when I returned to work after chemo, I would fill in a section with a red or pink marker. It was a visible reminder of my progress with chemotherapy. What a joy when the graph was completely filled in on June 15, 2006.
In looking back, I guess the graph was a way of me looking beyond the present circumstances. In spite of the extreme nausea, profound fatigue and multiple hospitalizations with chemo, the graph showed me I was making progress. There was an end in sight. All I had to do was continue filling in sections from week to week.
The Bible states that Jesus also looked beyond His circumstances. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus "for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God" (NASB). Come to think of it, even the most severe of circumstances may be endured if one knows there is a reward at the end. It could be a paycheck for a job well done, a trophy for demonstrating the highest character or simply a good night's rest for tackling the day's challenges in heroic fashion.
This type of thinking is displayed in a commercial, I believe it's for a sports drink, where it shows a football player running up and down the steps of a stadium. He is sweating profusely and panting heavily. He is all alone....laboring. Yet, his thoughts are, "Touchdowns aren't given away....they're paid for." He knows his hard work will one day end up with him in the endzone, scoring for his team in front of numerous screaming fans. His efforts will all be worth it one day.
Going through cancer, and especially chemotherapy, is painful. Yet, having the ability to look beyond the present can turn even the worst of cancer treatment into a "momentary, light affliction...producing an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (II Corinthians 4:17).