This story has come up recently, so perhaps it’s time to give it a little wider circulation:
When Zack was just six months old, we discovered that Susan had early-stage thyroid cancer for which she underwent surgery twice in six weeks. Part of her treatment involved a medication that significantly increased a baby’s risk of cardiac arrest, so Zack was unexpectedly and abruptly weaned. He had not yet become accustomed to a bottle and wasn’t happy about the sudden change. That was tough. Susan’s further treatment added radioactive iodine to the mix, and Zack was allowed very little physical contact with radioactive Mommy. If she had been on her own as a parent, Susan could have obtained a lead-shielded apron to hold him, but we didn’t push it. By the time she was far enough out of the woods to resume nursing, Zack had lost the hang of it. Aaargh.
Some time later Susan was in for a follow-up scan and I shared the radiology waiting area with a young couple. She looked like she might have a baby any minute, and he had a big and new-looking scar across his neck. I noticed that they had a devotional book with them. When Susan emerged from the scan with a big thumbs up, we hugged and whooped it up. The pregnant couple asked what news we had just received, and we learned that they were about six months behind us in his treatment for thyroid cancer. He was concerned about not holding their new baby and missing out on those first opportunities to bond. As we talked with them, there were half a dozen specific things we had learned that were helpful or encouraging for them – including the lead apron option if they wanted to do it.
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That situation remains one of our clearest pictures of how things work in God’s kingdom. As we celebrated the good news of a clean scan, there were people less than ten feet away who needed some of that same hope and encouragement that God had just delivered to us. God’s gifts are not given solely for our benefit, but also for the sake of others. And sometimes we don’t even have to look or wait for a chance to get them circulating.
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. –2 Corinthians 1:4