I have two very good friends with whom my wife and I served a mission in 2001-03. About a year ago, the wife contracted cancer in her left eye. Her case was dragged out by the doctors and we feel was mishandled. Now her left eye has been removed and her remaining eye and her very life is in great danger. The cancer spread is pretty prevalent and things do not look good. Her husband has been taking good care of her, and when I talked with him, he couldn’t understand why this is happening to her. She is one of the Lord’s sweetest sisters. She never says a bad thing about anyone and is a dear, dear woman. But he is questioning his faith, and just how much more he can take. They have been married for more than fifty years. I have said just about everything I can think of saying to him. My wife and I are serving another mission in another state and cannot go to be with them. Could you give them some things to think about?
It is a very sad and often troublesome thing when friends and family members suffer. But suffering is an essential part of mortality, and so is dying. My belief is that among those who love the Lord and who are trying to keep His commandments, there are no accidents! Think about it for a minute. Those who have been to the temple have been anointed to become rulers in eternity, to live with God and to inherit, with the Savior, all that the Father has! Do you not think that such people are under the specific and direct loving watchcare of the Father? He is grooming them by every experience of their lives to assume their promised role in eternity. He said,
And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. (D&C 84:88)
We do not walk alone! Of your two friends, both of them will die. And in all probability one will go before the other. So, why don’t we rejoice in the Lord, take what He has to give us and be thankful for both the joyous and the difficult to bear. For a little perspective on this subject, direct your friends to the second lesson, “Destiny or Tragedy?” in this year’s Melchizedek Priesthood class manual, The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball.