There is something about the place of human weakness that God is pleased to do His deepest work. Human power and strength don’t do much to impress God – the Scriptures prove that. Oh, but let the weakling cry out in the smallest voice; or a heart, once set ablaze by redeeming love, faintly flicker in the night season of the soul, and the God of Israel sends from on High.
Early last year I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. During my sickness I experienced a fatigue and lethargy such as I had never known before. Simple, every-day tasks seemed like mountains of impossibility, and with each passing day I felt myself grow more distant to the things of God. It was as if the wilderness of my own sickness had left me burned beyond my own recognition. The secret cry of my heart was, “Lord, don’t look at me for what I have become but rather love me for what I yearn for – You.” I think this is what the Shulamite woman meant when she said, “Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the Sun…” (Song of Solomon 1:6) Like her, I perceived my own spiritual condition to be darkened and most unlovely.
One of the most wonderful things about the Bible is that when you cannot articulate what is wrong with you, God’s Word can do it for you. In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite woman is brought into her King’s chambers where a banquet has been prepared for her. While the voices of the “angry watchmen” would have her stay outside in the blazing sun where they could beat and shame her, her King was drawing her into the shade of His presence, where she would be refreshed and strengthened. “With his left arm under my head and his right arm embracing me”, the Shulamite woman was reminded that she had been set like a seal over His heart, “for love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” (Song of Songs 8:6). How utterly foolish to think that there is any depth, or life storm that can alter the love of God. “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” (Song of Songs 8:7). I belong to Him and His desire will always be for me.
Today, as far as the doctors are concerned, I am cancer free. I don’t know why God in His sovereignty chose to heal me, but this much I do know: There are depths of God’s love that can only be known through the experience of weakness. Whereas I didn’t think I could make it through one more day – suddenly I had these hinds feet and I was standing on new heights. Job knew the power of God in the face of deep pain and loss, and today I can say like him, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen.” (Job 42:5)