Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Psalm When Undergoing Chemotherapy

Read another passage which captured my heart, especially in relation to my cancer battle.  As I read Psalms 88 (New American Standard version), verse after verse reminded me what I experienced while going through chemotherapy.  Consider these poignant verses from what is described as the saddest psalm.  My comments are listed in red beside the verses.

 1 O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.   
2 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry !
3 For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol. (Chemotherapy makes you feel like you're dying).
4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit ; I have become like a man without strength, (Some chemotherapy agents cause profound fatigue).
5Forsaken among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom You remember no more, And they are cut off from Your hand(You feel abandoned).   
6 You have put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths. (Chemotherapy takes you as low as a person can possibly go...then it takes you even lower than that).
7 Your wrath has rested upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. (The effects of chemotherapy are relentless.  Wave after wave of fatigue and nausea).  Selah.  
8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out.  (With chemotherapy, routine actions of life are difficult, e.g. going to church or work because you feel SO bad).
9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction ; I have called upon You every day, O LORD ; I have spread out my hands to You.  (I am desperate).
10 Will You perform wonders for the dead ? Will the departed spirits rise and praise You? (In other words, God, do you want to leave me this way?  What good am I in this present pitiful state?) Selah.  
11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Your faithfulness in Abaddon ?  
12 Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness ? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness (How can I praise You if I'm dead?). 
13 But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.  
14 O LORD, why do You reject my soul ? Why do You hide Your face from me?  
15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on; I suffer Your terrors ; I am overcome.  
16 Your burning anger has passed over me; Your terrors have destroyed me.  (Chemotherapy wreaks havoc on the body).
17 They have surrounded me like water all day long; They have encompassed me altogether.  
18 You have removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness.  (It may be difficult for friends and family to deal with a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy.  Many hospitalizations.  Frequent doctors' visits.).  

Notice the psalm ends on a sad note.  How true!  Sometimes situations in life end in sorrow.  Sad endings occur in abundance.  As people of faith, we must believe, we have to believe, that there is a God of love who allows such things.  Otherwise, life makes no sense whatsoever. 

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