(I was honored to be chosen to be a part of The Darlington Society, a group designed to support Michael King in his new book, “A Thousand Sleepless Nights”. Since then the group has evolved into a family that has grown together, cried together, prayed together and laughed together. We have shared our personal struggles, our spiritual battles, our pleasant surprises–all a part of God’s plan as He brings the family of God together. What follows is a message from Michael King who was gracious enough to share from his heart to you, my readers. I hope you will also consider purchasing his book as it is about the struggle of a family as they battle cancer together.)
When I meet someone who has suffered, whether physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, I take the time to talk to them, to pick their brains, to dig into their experience. I want to know what they went through, how they felt, how they made it through, what they learned, how they changed.
No one emerges from suffering unchanged. These folk have discovered what it is to really live, the value of life and relationships. They know the importance of perspective and priorities. Life has taught them lessons you can’t put a price tag on; it has tempered their resolve, strengthened their courage, sharpened their wisdom. God has shown them a side of himself few get to see.
For them, suffering has been a blessing. And they’ll be the first ones to admit that.
I need that reminder, that refresher course in what really matters in life. In the midst of the busyness of life and the constant battle with expectations and desires and pressure, I need to be refocused by these folks.
Here is a sampling of life lessons I’ve learned from people who have traversed the Valley of the Shadow of Death:
- Relationships are what matter most, not success or image or climbing some ladder to nowhere.
- God is there even if you can’t feel his presence.
- It’s okay to be honest with God. He’s big enough to hear us put a voice to our emotions.
- Suffering is temporary. No matter how long you have to endure it, an end will come.
- When I am weak, then I am strong.
- It’s okay to accept help from others, they are God’s messengers of grace.
- When you have nothing else to hold on to, God is still there.
- When God is silent, that’s when he’s holding us tight.
- Suffering can be a blessing in disguise.
A challenge: Take the time to talk to those who have suffered. And if you’ve suffered, take the time to talk about it to others. You have wisdom they need to hear.
In March of 2008, at the age of 35, Michael King was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. He fought that monster and by the grace of God won. Now he’s written A Thousand Sleepless Nights, a story about a woman fighting that same battle. To continue his fight against colon cancer, Michael has partnered with the Colon Cancer Alliance (www.ccalliance.org) and has agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds of every book sold through the end of 2012 to their mission to eliminate colon cancer completely through education, awareness, and early screenings.
Join him in this fight by purchasing a copy of A Thousand Sleepless Nights. And if you purchase a copy during the week of October 15-20 you’ll receive access to a page of free downloads including an exclusive short story, essays on living and suffering, and Michael’s own 84-page journal containing thoughts and writings during his battle with cancer. For more information go to http://michaelkingbooks.wordpress.com/athousandsleeplessnights/.