Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) | "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"
In the summer and fall of 2014, I experienced the effects of cancer up close and personal as I walked the intense yet intimate journey with my mother, from her initial diagnosis in late June to her eventual Home-going on November 16.
I felt like I lived and breathed the Lord's prayer during those months.
How could this be happening to my mother who has been healthy and athletic all her life? Lord, are you going to heal her? How much time do we have left? In a season full of uncertainty, helplessness was the predominant feeling I experienced. In the midst of the storm, I only had one anchor to help me maintain some perspective.
Our Father in Heaven hallowed be your name.
I knew God was up to something in my mom's life. He was in pursuit of her, but I didn't know what that would lead to. I prayed for all kinds of healing — physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual. I sensed they were all connected in light of her cancer, and I longed for all aspects of freedom for her.
Lord, you never meant for there to be disease, death, and suffering. We long for more of heaven on earth.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
With a diagnosis of gastric cancer, so much of the journey was literally centered around food. Shopping and meal preparation were constant needs as her appetite varied wildly, and she desperately needed calories for strength and health. Eating became a matter of life and death.
And taking on the unexpected role of full-time caregiver for my dear mother took its toll on me. Sleep-deprived and weary, at times I felt I was barely hanging on, and all I could ask from the Lord was for him to provide what I needed for the day — or the moment.
Give us today our daily bread.
In times like these, the most important things in life come into sharp focus. Making relationships right with God and others; forgiveness of past and present wrongs we have done or that have been done to us. I will not forget these sweet and sacred moments with my mom.
Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Seeing my mom growing weaker and weaker before my eyes — seeing her in pain and feeling helpless to do anything — at times I felt tempted toward despair and hopelessness. Desiring more time with her yet knowing the Lord might take her Home soon, I struggled between my human desires and what I knew was the greater reality that even death cannot ultimately separate us from the ones we love who are also in Christ Jesus.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
There is hope, even in the darkest of valleys.
For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION
- In what places of your life do you long for “more of heaven on earth”? Ask God for the “more”.
- What areas of unforgiveness are keeping you from experiencing fullness of life with God or with another person?
- What questions, fears, and doubts do you have in the face of suffering and pain? Consider inviting the Lord and a trusted friend into the process.
This reading is a part of our "Small Feet Big Shoes" devotional series. You can also sign up to receive these meditations by email.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lily Chou serves on CRM’s Staff Development and Care Team, offering professional counseling, training, and soul care to field staff around the world. Based in Málaga, Spain, she is part of a team that is birthing CRM’s first international missionary care and training hub.