THE STORIES \ Meghan Merideth

Meghan Merideth

A life of long-suffering

No one asks to live a life of long suffering, or even short suffering for that matter. Our natural tendency as human beings is to want to live as much of a pain free, easy life as possible. I know I for one am not knocking on the door hoping disappointment, disease, diagnosis, deceit, or death answers and bid me entry.

As someone who has lived a life marked by long-suffering, I can attest to its malignancy. But I can also share testimony of the powerful ways in which I have been transformed.

My story includes almost all of the horrible ‘D’s’- disappointment, diagnosis, destruction, and discord. I grew up in an unhealthy, toxic home environment with my father who struggles with severe addiction to alcohol. When I was a sophomore in college, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. It felt like a death sentence and was one of the scariest moments of my life. Mere weeks later, I received another one of those bad news phone calls that rock you to your core; my father had fallen off our second story roof, severely injuring his back and further leading to an induced coma because his blood alcohol levels were through the roof.

The last seven years in particular, our family has been faced with extreme adversity; from job loss to cancer to accidents to death. Like the common phrase goes, when it rains it pours….or so it seems.

 When I married in 2013, I didn’t know that I would later struggle with infertility for nearly two years. I also didn’t know that I would come to find out that I carry the BRCA1 gene, just like my mom, predisposing me to breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and various other life altering cancers. After I found out about this diagnosis, I felt the words, ‘face your fears in the midst of adversity’ wash over me. I thought to myself, “how will I ever be able to do that? For the next ‘x’ amount of years, I am going to be plagued by the worry and fear of getting a cancer diagnosis just like my mama.” It felt like it was a foreshadowing of the future I would surely live out given all of the pouring rain I’d already experienced in my young life.

 But I can say in full confidence that by the grace and strength of God, I have been able to face my fears in the midst of adversity. This doesn’t mean I have been without fear or haven’t worried a wink, but I have learned to take every thought captive and to welcome God into this area of my life for Him to use it for the good of others.  When fear overcomes us, we can either fuel it or forbid it.

 We never really know the battles we will walk through until we are precisely there. And once we are there, we must make a decision to either allow this pain and suffering to derail us or to direct us. When we begin to look at our pain and long suffering through the lens of direction and purpose, we can begin to take our eyes off ourselves and find true healing and wholeness. Healing begins when we use our pain for the purpose of helping to love and serve others in their places of pain. Our pain has to be ‘more than me’ otherwise we are left in the pit of despair feeling hopeless and left to wonder why we had to endure such difficulty. God designed us to share in one another’s burdens and to share life together, spurring each other on in the faith. And although we cannot fully understand His rationale, trials and suffering are often times what God uses to grow us to look more like Christ and to spur others on in the faith. While this is contrary to the way the world thinks and lives, it is so much richer, deeper, and more beautiful.

 What I’ve learned over the last two years in particular is that when God allows our paths to wind through the valleys of devastation, despair, and death, we are to extend to Him long suffering- a slow to anger patience like we are called to in Scripture. The Lord wants us to reflect and remember the promise and the redemptive purpose that He brought to completion and fulfilled in the lives of Abraham, Job, and even His own Son. An entire nation and generations to come were ushered into deliverance and hope because of the suffering and sacrifice of our father of the faith, Abraham and His son, Jesus. Like so many of the people we read about in the Word, we can exercise the same patience to wait on God for Him to reveal and fulfill His purpose, promise, and rescue.  

As my husband and I have walked through infertility, we were encouraged by a word from the Lord to wait in wonder. Wait and see what He can and will do. Wait and see the fulfillment of His promises, even if that looked different than we originally imagined. Long suffering requires a patient endurance. It patiently forbears and does not respond in anger or retribution. Even in times of long suffering, we have hope and God extends mercy to us.

Living a well life doesn’t mean it will be whimsical and without hardship. In fact, if we truly want to live an impactful life that leaves ripples behind us, it most definitely will be marked by suffering and adversity. But take hope, He has overcome the world and He always has the victory! When we trust Him in the darkness, He will lead us into goodness and glory. Always.

“My dear friends, Satan literally had me feeling stone-cold dead. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. But God said, “RISE UP! You are my daughter.”

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