I naively thought when you graduate college, get a job and find your spouse, that you were living out God’s will and all would be relatively fine. As we all know, life is not like that. Through this journey of life, our Lord gives us the promises and encouragement to keep going.
In Romans we are told to “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Jesus puts this into action. Jesus did not “call it a night” knowing His fate. The night He was arrested in the garden, He was constant in prayer.
He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus did not raise a fuss defending His good name when He was brought before Pilate and scourged. He was patient in tribulation.
Lastly, Jeremiah reminds us, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
The number three calls our hearts and minds above as it reminds us of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:12 gives us three things to work towards in the tribulations of daily life.
Three Strikes: Rejoice, Be Patient, Pray
In Baseball, three is it. Three strikes and you’re out.
Jesus didn’t give up or give in with all of the disbelief He encountered during His ministry. Why are we so quick to lose hope, give up, and turn away from prayer when we are emotionally, physically, spiritually, or relationally exhausted after the tribulations of life? I’m not talking about walking away from the Faith necessarily. But we can allow ourselves to grow lax in our prayer life, devotion, hope, and joy.
Three strikes have occurred recently for me and have shown me how easily it is to start the count and forget about Romans 12:12.
Over a year ago, my 28-year-old husband was rushed to the ER due to passing out at home.
Nine hours in the ER resulted in emergency surgery to remove 500mL of fluid from his heart to relieve the pressure and allow him to breath normally again.
A four day stay in the ICU resulted, without answers.
The fifth day. Answers, but not what we were expecting: “It looks like cancerous cells” the nurse said.
My 28-year-old healthy, non-smoking, half-marathon-running husband had lung cancer.
We are released to meet that evening with the oncologist the next day.
We were gripping to the thought that we caught it early as the day dragged until the appointment.
Stage IV. Stage IV lung cancer.
A cancer that has a survival rate of 50% for the first year and 4 % by the fifth year.
He underwent more tests to ensure the best treatment plan, and he began. Fourteen months later, with many ups and downs, he is thriving, not just surviving.
Late on Sunday evening two months ago, my husband started having seizures. Seizures, when you’re a cancer patient, most likely means cancer has metastasized to the brain.
After many tests, and more doctors, the seizures are unrelated to the cancer. Praise God.
What Gets Us Through
Rejoice in hope. Many days it is a struggle to find the hope. My husband still has stage IV lung cancer and now epilepsy. However, I can sit in self-pity, or I can remember and know that God’s plan is best, His will is best, and that brings me hope!
Be patient in tribulation. This one is most challenging for me. In the trenches of tribulation, the last thing I want to do is be patient. I want answers now or I want out now. I find that placing myself in the presence of the Eucharist in Adoration brings clarity, light, strength, and peace for all the things I don’t have answers for.
Be constant in prayer. There have been many times over the last 14 months where I have been unable to pray. I have been completely overwhelmed, exhausted, emotional, and scared. At those points I know it is the prayers of those around us that keep us going. When I finally get back together, I use songs, so many songs, as my prayers. There are also days when just weeping on my knees is prayer enough. He knows your pain and suffering, just turn to Him and entrust your situation to Him. He’s ready to take it.
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Maureen Fiudo hails from Upstate NY but has found her home in the Midwest. She loves praising the Lord through song, spending time outdoors and a good cup of coffee. Helping women see their beauty within brings her joy! You can follow her husband’s cancer journey here.