The evening after my third chemotherapy, I was lying on my bed and barely able to lift my head. My nausea and fatigue had increased with the cumulative impact of the medicine. It was distressing to think I had to go through three more infusions, scheduled once every three weeks, and after that thirty radiation treatments. In my cast down state, I turned to the Psalms my go-to book of the Bible. I identified with the cries of the Psalmist and had just enough concentration for the pithy verses.
Thumbing through the chapters, the first portion of Psalm 86:1 (NIV) caught my attention: “Give me a sign of your goodness.” I could think of nothing good, only the daily strain of dealing with cancer treatment, trying to maintain our home life, and struggling with my job. In the darkness of that hour, all I could do was pray the Psalm, “God, give me a sign of your goodness.”
I wondered if that prayer would make any difference, given my situation. I found myself changing “Give” to “Show“ me your goodness. Was it because I needed the eyes of my heart opened?
I waited and watched, almost like I was daring God to do something. Some of me was dug in, determine to be despondent—like I could get something good from a martyr’s stance. Finally, I began to notice what could be answers to that prayer.
In my mailbox arrived a stack of “Thinking of You” cards that matched the number of medical bills. A co-worker offered to help me sort through the insurance statements that totally overwhelmed me. A friend called to invite me to go to the mountains for the weekend.
Some days nature was the provider of that goodness; our Heavenly Blue morning glory vine delighting me with a mass of those stunning blooms; my Golden Retriever, Molly snuggling next to me as we sat together on the porch; a beautiful walk at sunset with a horse neighing as a blue heron landed over a neighbor’s pond. All of these reminded me of the steadfast beauty of creation, how nothing could change that.
While it’s been years now since those days of cancer treatment, I still look to that Psalm when I lose my way. When I’m discouraged and everything seems to be a challenge, I try to remind myself to step back, take a moment, and pray for a sign of God’s goodness.
I’ve thought about whether God causes new things to show up, or were those things present all along—waiting for me to have the eyes to see? I think maybe it’s both.
When I’m listening for God’s direction in my life, through that ‘still small voice’ inside of me, sometimes I’m directed to do things for others. I get the nudge to make a phone call, an impulse to send a card, the courage to approach that stranger that God has put in my path. The longer I live, the more I see that when I, and others, follow that intuition—that leading from within, people receive what they need. When I’m moving in my own direction and paying attention only to my agenda, some of these needs undoubtedly go unfulfilled.
By opening the eyes of my heart, God prepares me to receive the gift that will meet my need. While these things may seem very everyday—the phone call, a colorful sunset, the comfort of your dog, they become Divine because their source is our Creator and they are a healing balm for our souls.
What about you?
Have you seen God’s goodness show up in the Everyday when you most needed it?
How did that sign make a difference in the direction of your life?
Have your actions supplied that Divine sign for someone?