This morning my sweet friend Lori lost her beautiful little girl to cancer. At 3:05am, sweet Katie was completely healed and met Jesus. Katie’s battle started nearly 2 years ago. She fought hard with grace and dignity. Watching this sweet family endure this journey has left an impact that will last a lifetime. You see, Katie, was a child. It’s not fair. A mother’s dream comes true when she sees her child come into this world. No mother should ever have to witness a child leaving this world.
What is the purpose in all this? How can this be part of God’s greater plan? How unfair is it for a child to suffer? How wrong is it for a family to be left with a hole that can never be filled again?
None of those questions can be answered this side of heaven. But, I have no doubt the Lord will reveal the purpose behind His plan in due time. You see, the Lord has been working long before Katie was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He has been fighting for Katie long before she was born. He knew the number of seconds she would have breath here on this earth. While Lori and Rick and the rest of their family will grieve for a long time, this journey is not meaningless. In fact, one of the best parts of this watching this all unfold is that because of her cancer, Katie’s sweet daddy met Jesus. They were baptized together on Good Friday this past Spring. How beautiful is this?!?
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20
Most people see cancer as evil. Don’t get me wrong, it is. I hate cancer. But I do believe the Lord allowed this season of suffering to use it for His good. I do believe Katie’s life was meaningful and had significant purpose. While it was way too short, she didn’t live a minute longer than the Lord allowed. I do believe the Lord will continue to show mercy to Lori and Rick and give them glimpses of how God worked in others through Katie.
As a cancer survivor myself, I understand the weight of it all. Cancer brings loss. That loss looks differently for everyone. Some will be set free from cancer, while some ultimately never see complete healing on this earth. But, let it be known that each person will win their battle with God as their leader. Cancer forever changed me. While the chemo may have killed my cancer cells, the battle was won long before it ever started. Cancer gave me a purpose. Cancer filled me with a passion I had never felt before. As said in Genesis, what the enemy meant to harm me, the Lord meant for good. The Lord works in all things. Even in cancer. The Lord knows what it takes to get our attention. Ultimately surrendering to his purpose in our lives brings life and healing for the wounds from this world.
Our world today is filled with so much darkness. But John 1:5 tells us…. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. Our light is Jesus. What he did for us on the cross covers all darkness. The cross covers all sin in our lives. We will never be left in the dark again. His light shines through us.
My challenge to you (and me). Live like there’s no tomorrow. Katie lived her life well. The Lord called her home. Her life mission was complete. Will you do the same? How will you live your life on purpose? How can you live so others can see Jesus through you?
Take your eyes off yourself and look to Jesus.
Jesus calls us to love others. God has given each of us a passion and a unique purpose here on this earth. One of the many things I love about my job is that I get to see real life miracles every day in the lives of children. Children born with life-threatening illnesses that require major surgeries to repair their broken hearts. While this is more than most any of us will ever endure in a lifetime, these children are nothing short of a miracle. The joy that radiates from their lives is indescribable. They missed the memo that they’re even sick. Never complaining. Always smiling. What would the world look like if we as adults lived the same way? What if we considered others above ourselves? Take our eyes off our pain and misfortunes and focus on others. There is always someone worse off than we are.
Live a life with purpose and passion.
God has given each of us a passion for something. Adoption is not meant for everyone. Fostering is not for everyone. I never imagined we would walk down both those paths. But had it not been for cancer, we never would have. The Lord broke us down in places we needed it to give us eyes to see His greater purpose and plan for our lives. We were living for ourselves. We loved our life of comfort. But that’s not what Jesus asks of us. We are not called to live in comfort. We are called to follow Him. We are called to live out his word. We are called to lead others to him. The Lord knew where we needed pressing. This is not always easy. In fact, I would venture to say it’s never easy. Following Jesus isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. There is pain in the path of obedience, but the joy that comes in the journey is irreplaceable. The smile I wake up to every morning from a baby that was not from my flesh is indescribable. I can’t imagine my life without him. I pray I never have to.
What has the Lord given you a passion for? How can you forever change the life of someone else? I challenge you to pray about that. How can you live like there’s no tomorrow? Why waste a single second of your life that you can never get back. Death seems so permanent here on earth, but the hope we have as believers of Jesus is that it is not forever. One day Katie and her family will be reunited in heaven and will spend eternity praising the One who created them. One day they will be able to tell Katie all the ways she forever changed the lives of so many people. As long as we have breath and life on this earth, we are on a mission. A mission to walk in obedience to the Lord and what he’s asking of us. A mission to glorify him in all that we do.
Please don’t waste a single second of your life. Pour into the lives of others. You can’t change anyone, but you can trust and follow the One who can.
Thank you sweet Katie for reminding us of the importance of life and living it to the fullest. Thank you Lori, Rick and Abigail for walking this road with such grace and dignity. Thank you for sharing the struggles, the victories and all that fell in between. Katie, this journey will all be worth it. Your daddy found Jesus. My prayer is that many others will too. My prayer is that others will find hope and see the light that shines bright through all darkness. Even death.
Jesus came so that we would have life and life to the fullest (John 10:10b).
The Lord never promised life on this earth would be easy, but he does promise it will be worth it. Life your life on a mission. Live with purpose and a passion that draws others to Christ.
Rest well sweet Katie. Enjoy the best worship celebration you’ve ever seen. We will see you soon.
Jesus, it’s all for you.