A dear sister-in-Christ gave me the little devotional “Jesus Calling” (2004, Thomas Nelson) when I was first beginning my cancer storm — thank you, Peg Bemis! Like so many others, “Jesus Calling” captured my heart. At a critical time when I needed so much to hear from God, it breathed His fresh words into my thirsty soul. Written by Sarah Young (nice last name!), the devotional is uncommon in that it is not written from the author’s perspective but each day offers a word which the author expresses as coming from God to the reader. It is based in Scripture and I have found it a beautiful expression of the author’s Spirit-given gift of hearing from the heart of God. Yes, I still read it and recommend it highly.
In the book’s introduction, the author gives the story of how she came to develop her gift of listening to and hearing from God. It’s an interesting story. At one point in her spiritual journey, Sarah Young was living in a little village in France. One night she left the chalet where she was staying to take a walk in the surrounding snowy woods, led by the moon’s light. She says, “Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence, and my involuntary response was to whisper, ‘Sweet Jesus.'” This was Sarah Young’s first time of being aware of the presence of Christ. She was surprised by what she heard come from her mouth and the tenderness with which she spoke.
The presence of Christ will do that to us.
When I read Young’s story, I knew exactly what she experienced on that moonlit night in the snowy woods of France. I know the sweetness, the tenderness that comes when Jesus makes His presence known. That is the reason that all through my cancer storm and ever since, I have called Him the KIND Savior.
I remember the hard, dark nights when no comfort could be found for my body or for my mind. I remember seeing myself sitting in my little boat on the stormy, stormy sea. I remember feeling alone and very frightened by the violent waves and the howling wind. I remember feeling like I would surely die.
That’s what most cancer sufferers feel at some point in their journey. Fear is reported to be the most commonly shared enemy of cancer sufferers. It is an even greater enemy than the cancer itself.
On those hard, dark nights I would sit scared in my little boat and ask Jesus to “please come.” And He would — He always came. I would see Him sitting in my little boat alongside me and the sweet, tender sense of His presence would envelope me as it did Sarah Young in that woods in France. Soon I felt my body and mind begin to relax and Jesus, my Kind Savior, would let me rest while He kept watch on the storm through the rest of the hard, dark night.
His presence changed those hard, dark nights into something sweet, something tender, something KIND.
All those who suffer need a KIND Savior. They need to be released from the harsh realities that accompany their journey. They need to rest in the sweet, tender, kind presence of Jesus.
If you have cancer or are suffering in another way at this time, I pray that you, like Sarah Young and like me, might be enveloped today in the presence of the KIND Savior. He loves you with a deep and abiding love and He wants you to know His presence in a real and yes, tangible way. And if you know someone who has cancer or is suffering, please offer them the gift of praying that they might know Jesus. As Sarah Young and I would attest, He is everything. Every person, but especially every suffering person, needs the Kind Savior Jesus. Share Christ with someone today.
With love and blessings today,
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.