Loneliness and Suffering: An Invitation to God
In the loneliness and stress of difficult challenges like cancer, the humility and suffering of our bodies, hearts and souls can be an invitation to the Holy Spirit, who assists us to pray in ways we cannot understand, for that which we cannot even speak.
Having stage 4 cancer of the head and neck, and subsequently losing his job, Greg Thomas’ life was a ‘nightmare you couldn’t wake up from’ as he says. For any of us, to add physical labor into such a nightmare would seem too much. However, like St. Francis of Assisi, discovering a dilapidated old church provided an opening into the Life Beyond, satisfaction, gratitude and hope.
Miracles of Comfort and Light
Many times I have seen the power of God enter into the suffering and agony of ill people’s final days. The bewilderment and intensive loneliness of these times is almost impossible to comfort, even for people like Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The truth is that it is THOSE times, where God demonstrates that He is always greater.
In Greg Thomas’ beautiful story, it was loneliness and difficulty that drove him to walk the countryside, and led him to discover a beautiful but crumbling little church 140 years old.
Something about that church moved him, and he, like St. Francis, decided to do what he could to restore the ancient structure.
In difficult times, it is so important to remember that to do the smallest thing for the Divine Will is an honor of unfathomable greatness, an eternal act in concert with the Eternal God. That is the place where miracles happen.
Not only was the very ill Greg able to scrape and paint the outside of the chapel, and do manful things to work on other areas of great restoration need, he himself was blessed in many ways.
His cancer, for one thing, went into remission. He had a wonderful purpose. His heart was filled with tears, gratitude and blessing, and he was given a wonderful place to pray.
I get the impression that somehow his pain and suffering was turned, by Jesus, into an interactive and living faith, and the comfort of knowing that whatever the course of Greg’s cancer, and the remainder of his life, will take, somehow he knows that the Lord will be ready for him on the other side.
In dark times of ruthless atheism and general apostasy, that is a miracle beyond measure. Divine mercy, Divine love, is sometimes the ONLY thing profound enough to reach down into the depths of our sorrow.
Praise God for such a lovely story, and Praise God for his touching Greg Thomas. If possible and you have the means, consider donating to assist Greg in replacing the roof and floor of that little church.