My daughter said something to me that struck a chord. She was told by the doctors that she must start to take insulin and my daughter said it was a life sentence. I realized that so many things are “life sentences.” I am on Chemo drugs that I must take to live. So often we think of these as life sentences in a negative way, but what they really are is life-giving.
God has enabled doctors to give us drugs that extend and improve our lives. My grandfather most likely died of diabetes as insulin was not available to most people in 1942. My father died due to the side effects of uncontrollable diabetes; now diabetes is controlled with a pump. New discoveries are saving our lives.
Other life sentences are emotional and spiritual rather than physical. But God does not intend us to live with them. He wants to reach down and heal us so that he can use us to reach others with the empathy that the hurt gives us.
When I first became a Christian, I was filled with hate, and I was afraid of people. I would hide it, but it was there. I never let others see it. Gradually God reached this spot and poured the oil of forgiveness on me and on those who abused me. I came to realize that I could love people as they were. God helped me get over my fear of people through selling Avon in an apartment building. I had to knock on every door each month. At first, I shook so badly that I could hardly speak. Then I started to realize that people were friendly, and I started to make friends. I learned to reach out and love all people.
God has been teaching me things that I have only begun to realize. He put me in situations where I needed to use the empathy that was forged in me from the hurt that I experienced to reach others who were hurt as well. He sent me into a prison to visit with native inmates who had experienced hurt beyond my imagining. I learned from those who had lived through the repercussions of the things we are learning about now. I watched a young man transform from being totally locked in and on suicide watch to leading the Christmas play in the prison; he went on to work at the reserve that he was from. I felt I had done nothing but listen to him, but God worked the miracle that was him. The life sentence that was placed on the whole reserve was beginning to be broken through redeemed lives.
Two years ago, I was given a physical life. I was told that my cancer had metastasized; someone else told me I only had a few months left and that I should just give up. Obviously, that few months has come and gone. Now I know that the life sentence is God’s sentence, and I will live for as long as He wants me to. I have learned with the help of so many through Zoom meetings and in person to enjoy and reach out in the worst of situations. This life sentence may be my last, but it will last as long as God wants me to be here.
I have learned to give all my life sentences to God to see what He can do with them.
As a funny note on life sentences, my husband’s great uncle, Cannon Adye, was in a car accident in Florida and was taken off life support. His daughter was told by the doctors that he only had a few hours to live at the most. She arranged to have his body sent to Toronto and the funeral was arranged. He lived for another two weeks, and she was heard to comment that he was always late – even to his own funeral.
By Sandra Adye-White