I remember a sermon Bishop Alden Hathaway gave many years ago at St. Helena’s. It was the story of a little caterpillar stuck in a rug. As he crawled through the different colors he could feel them completely. When he was in the yellow portions he was joyful and in the white full of peace. Through the grey he was hopeless and through the brown, sorrowful. The red brought much anger and the green envy, while the purple gave great beauty. The times of crawling through the orange yielded complete happiness and the blue, grief. His feelings reflected all that he could see and understand in the environment around him. He believed this was all there was of life. And finally when he reach the black it seemed he had died.
He was bound up in the cocoon. All life stopped. (I felt this way when I received my cancer diagnosis.) But we know this is not where the story ends although he did not. For what he considered an end was only a beginning. The Beginning of something much greater.
We know that he burst forth from the cocoon with wings. When these wings could work he lifted himself high above the rug in which he’d labored for what he thought was all of his life. Rising above the rug he could see something he could never see before. The beauty of all the colors coming together. The pattern on the beautiful oriental rug. How everything made sense. How the greens, the browns, and the reds blended so beautifully with the whites, yellows and oranges. Making a complete picture and sense of everything. When he was in the rug, he could only see what was around him. He couldn’t see the great pattern, great plan and the beauty of it all.
I feel like in life we are so often that caterpillar, stuck in our own color, our own part of the rug unable to see the great plan and a great beauty of it all.This is where faith intercedes. To me, faith is believing things which are not yet seen or realized. It is a trusting that there is something greater and bigger afoot. The Bible says “walk by faith not by sight”.
Think how much sorrow and sadness could have been avoided by that little caterpillar had he had faith in a greater picture, something bigger than himself; if he had hope and believed that all that was around him, all he could see, was not all that there really was.
For if I allowed only what I see, feel, and experience now--to be what my life is, then, just as that caterpillar.... it would be a pitiful situation. I instead choose to believe that a greater plan is afoot. Perhaps these hard colors and hard times will blend together in the tapestry of my life to produce a greater more beautiful, complete picture that will glorify God‘s plan, point others to his grace and bless me or those around me.
I accept the situation as fully as I can. I pray daily that the Lord use me and my weakness and suffering to bless others. I do not have any special understanding, but the Lord does and I am choosing to have faith.
I am in fact a very private person and keep “my cards close to my chest”. But the Lord has put it on my heart to share my journey through cancer with others. Cancer, a word that is so scary, yet I can proclaim that cancer has blessed me already. And I pray that the Lord will continue to guide me to walk by faith in His plan, rather than what I see, which is the greys, browns and blacks of cancer.
Consider that perhaps there is more than what we see and feel on a day-to-day basis. Consider that God has a greater plan afoot. I do. Which is why I choose to believe on his promises in Jeremiah 29:11,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I hope that you will follow along with me in this journey. I feel there’s much to glean from it and it’s on my heart to share all the colors I go through. I hope it becomes a rainbow of God’s promises.