Notebook > Lifestyle

'In the thick of it'

"'In the thick of it'" Continued...

Issue: "2010 Election: The Governors," Oct. 23, 2010

Our conversation took place on a Monday afternoon. Joni had a chemo session scheduled for Thursday. She says the week after the three-hour procedure is hard, but the procedure itself is also difficult. She tries to ward off painful mouth ulcers by chewing on ice before the procedure; during it she maintains energy by nibbling on celery sticks and peanut butter. When the chemo kicks in and she feels awful, she reminds herself that it will pass: "Don't get stuck in this moment." She reads on her iPad-her current book is John Piper's Roots of Endurance-and plays games like Boggle if she needs a break.

She also talks with other patients, weeping with those who weep. She shares "times of terror" while trusting that cancer "can grab us by our spiritual shoulders and give us a good shake." She keeps thinking, "God's up to something big. How can I showcase Him to others?" She knows her life is on display and that others are watching and learning by her response: "I am on this battlefield. How can I glorify God?"

Since people often approach Joni and want to pray for her healing, that's one of the subjects of her new book. She would love to be healed, but recently she told one of those earnest people: "I want to be set free from my laziness and slothful attitudes." The person was focused on her physical healing, but Joni says Christ's focus is our soul. She knows God is not punishing her-Christ took the punishment-but she accepts that she's being disciplined: "What needs to be confessed, uprooted for my sanctification? What is there in me that needs to be exposed and dealt with?"

She concludes, "I'm convinced that the core of Christ's plan is to rescue. We are saved. We are being saved." She fears that we've become so "infected by our culture of comfort" that we've grown comfortable with our sin: "We domesticate it, tame it, and make it our own. . . . It's not pretty. Don't turn your face away."

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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