“And I will be with you, day after day, . . .” Matthew 28:20
The true story below triggered a memory for me from 2011.
I was on my way to the mall, when my cell phone rang — it was Dr. Sims, my surgeon on the other end, and she said, “Lucinda you have fast-growing breast cancer, call my office and make an appointment because I’m on my way to the hospital, sorry I had to tell you this way, goodbye.”
I can still remember how I felt at first, dazed, disoriented, and confused all at the same time because of hearing the word cancer.
But First the story,
In the spring of 1930, 9-year-old Anna Marie found herself on a ship going to America, “the land of opportunity.” She would meet her father, Antonio, who had moved from Italy to make a way for his family to join him.
With Anna Maria were her mother, her sister, an aunt, and three cousins. All left their cozy peasant village in Italy knowing they would never again see many of their relatives.
In the middle of their 12-day journey across the Atlantic, the ship battled its way through a violent storm. The frightened passengers huddled together in their life jackets, praying for safety. Today, more than 60 years later, 73-year-old Anna Maria still remembers the terrifying journey as if it all happened yesterday:
“We were all so scared. But Mom, she was always so strong. I remember her holding me and my sister close to her and saying, God will take care of us. He is with us. He touches us all the time— if we let Him.
Here, take my hand, she added, squeezing my sister’s hand and mine in hers. This isn’t just me holding your hand. God is touching you too. He works through each of us.
Now, you pass it on. You hold Maria’s hand. And Maria, you hold Tony’s hand God will give us all strength through His Holy Spirit.”
As I read Anna Marie’s story a memory came back the day I got the terrifying news from Dr. Sims that I had fast-growing breast cancer.
About a week before that phone call that day from Dr. Sims I was visiting my grandson, Charlie, in Virginia. During the night he had a scary nightmare and woke up crying. I went to his room crouched down beside him and took his hand in mine and said, “It’s ok Charlie, Grammy’s here.” With that, he stopped crying and fell back to sleep till morning.
And in my car that day after I got off the phone several minutes later these words went through my mind as I was driving home to tell my husband the bad news,
“Remember how you were with Charlie, I’m with you the same way.”
It was a God moment and I’ve never forgotten how real His presence was in my car that day.
I love how J C Philpot so beautifully says what I sensed that day.
“None but those who are partakers of a heavenly birth feel heavenly realities to be their choice element, holy things their sweetest meditation, and the solemn worship of God their supreme delight.
Look at this mark as a touchstone of divine life; for to be spiritually-minded a man must be spiritual, and to be spiritual he must have received the Spirit and been made a partaker of that “kingdom of God which is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
Have you never found in reading the Scriptures a sweet peace distill over your soul, as the glorious promises came forth one after another as the stars in the evening sky, each one brighter and clearer, and you felt a blessed persuasion of your interest in them?
When at the throne of grace, favored with liberty of spirit and access to your heavenly Friend, have you never felt the peace of God to drop into your heart, and like oil upon the waves, to allay every rising of rebellion within?
Have you never found, in conversing with the saints of God, a sweet flowing of heart to heart and soul to soul, and felt that such conversation left behind a blessed fragrance upon your spirit?
Have you never in the house of prayer had your heart and affections drawn up to the things of God; and as you sat and heard Christ,
—his Person and work, his grace and glory set forth, faith was drawn out to believe, hope to cast forth its anchor,
—and love and affection to flow, so that you experienced a spirituality of mind, a heavenly calm, and a holy peace that touched every spring of your soul, and watered it as the river that went out of Eden to water the garden?” –J C Philpot
That last line from Philpot was exactly what happened in my hot car back in August 2011.