Walking towards the Light from the cross of a King

A blog by Josh Humbert

Grace Beneath The Waves


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It all sounds so strange.

If I form the words and speak them out loud, they ring false, odd, and ill-fitting.  “My wife has cancer.”  That sentence…it feels foreign and abnormal.  Like I’m an actor who’s reciting dialogue for someone else’s life.  That cannot really be true for her, for us, can it?

My wife has cancer.  Stage 3.  At age 32.  When seemingly every ‘controllable’ factor is in her favor.  The diagnosis comes regardless.  Cancer doesn’t care about ‘controllables.’  It’s there, on the inside.  It is on our doorstep.  And it all sounds so strange.

But I would like to tell you something else.

While those words: “My wife has cancer,” seem so strange, even as I type them right now…there are other words that are so familiar, warm, and more true to us now than ever before.  These goods words are:  Our God is holy, awesome, and gracious.

  • He is holy—He never makes mistakes and everything He does or allows is absolutely right.  His way is perfect and there is no flaw in what He is doing.
  • He is awesome—His power is unmatched and unstoppable.  Complete healing is possible and it would be a light thing for God.  And…no matter what happens, He is accomplishing His good purposes in Jessica and in our lives.  He is awesome enough to get glory in all things and bring our hearts to humble worship, regardless of circumstances.
  • He is gracious—He is kind, merciful, and loving.  We don’t get what we deserve with God.  He has blessed us immensely in countless ways.  He graciously supplies exactly what we need in all times and places.

My wife has cancer…but our God is holy, awesome, and gracious.  It is the foreign and the familiar.  The bizarre and the blessing.  Strangeness and sweetness.

This is life and this is our God.

I’ve been watching the skies,

They’ve been turning blood red.

Not a doubt in my mind anymore,

There’s a storm up ahead.”

Overboard, Sinking, And Saved

Jonah was a prophet in the Old Testament who did all he could to run from God’s call on his life.  He literally went the exact opposite way of where God wanted him to go.  Jonah boarded a ship and sought escape.  What he found was God there with him still.

The boat Jonah is on faces a tremendous storm.  Jonah recognizes it is God’s doing and he asks to be thrown overboard to face his consequences (and protect the sailors who had no idea).

Jonah is thrown overboard, into the raging sea and crushing waves.  He expects to find God’s judgment for disobedience as he sinks to his death, but what he discovers is the wild, free, surprising grace of God.

The waves won’t be his death; they will bring his deliverance.  God isn’t done with Jonah, not by a long shot.  God appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah and for three days, Jonah repents and realizes the grace of God in a fresh way.  On the third day, Jonah comes back and is restored to walk in obedience.

Jonah, as Tim Keller says, discovers that with God, there is grace beneath the waves.  What he thought was his sure doom becomes a chance to start again.  The place he thought would be his ultimate loss becomes the unlikely but best place to worship God again and to honor Him once more.

Hello Hurricane,

You’re not enough!

Hello Hurricane,

You can’t silence my love.
I’ve got doors and windows boarded up

All your dead end fury is not enough

You can’t silence my love, my love!”

Treatment Begins

I could not be more proud of my wife in this time.  To say she has a great mindset about all of this is a terrible understatement.  She has received this news without flinching.  She is a rock.  I’ve always told her that she is the strongest person I know and the past few weeks are the definitive evidence in that case.

Multiple doctors and nurses we have dealt with have remarked very candidly about Jessica’s positive outlook and confidence.  They have caught small glimpses of what I have known for years.  And in these days of heavy adversity, her heart has shown up.  She is here to fight.

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I don’t have the words to say what I want here, but in simple terms what I mean is this: I count it a privilege to witness her stare down this storm and not blink.  She had all the reasons in the world to react much differently and negatively.  But that’s not what she did.  That’s not what she’s doing.  That’s not her.  And it is a blessing to stand by her side and prepare for battle.

And that battle has begun.

Already we can see the things God has done on our behalf to prepare us for these times.  We can look back over the past year and see very specific details and we know now what God was doing.  We can look at our present setup, including the doctors and nurses who will be caring for her, and we see His hand in it all.  And while there are some rough days ahead on this journey, we know God will be there too.

These waves weren’t sent to overwhelm us.  The storm isn’t to utterly doom her. My wife has cancer…but our God is holy, awesome, and gracious.

And under these waves we have already richly tasted of His grace.

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God Of The Waves

There was One who did face the waves of total destruction.  There was One who was thrown overboard and received no gracious reprieve.  There was One who went out into the storm to suffer to the utmost, even though He was innocent.

There was One who willingly let the breakers and waves of God’s wrath overwhelm Him.  He is Jesus Christ.  This is what He has accomplished on the Cross.  He has taken upon Himself what should have fallen on us.

He went out into those monstrous waves so that we will never be alone in ours.  He faced the fiercest of all storms so that we would always be safe in ours.

In life, in death, in good times, in rough waters, in the waves of cancer, we are absolutely sure of this:  our God is holy, awesome, and gracious.

Jesus isn’t a far-off god.  He isn’t some man-made statue.  He isn’t an idea or philosophy.  He isn’t cold and distant.  No, He came down here and got personally involved in suffering.  He did not exempt Himself from the brutal pain of this world.  He came near.  He’s been in the deepest waters and the roughest waves.  And after three days, He too rose from the depths triumphantly to show the power He has over all this.

So we will keep our eyes on Him.  No matter what happens.  No matter if the reports come back favorably or not.  We look to Him.  May He get the glory and praise and honor and worship that is due Him.

Jessica’s chemo began the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.  She marches on through what will be a tough and trying year. Let it be known right here, right now: we are thankful for God’s work in our situation.  He is here and He is with us.  We don’t face this alone.  God is our Strength and Peace.  And He reaches us through others.  Our families, our church, all our friends are supporting her in AMAZING ways.  We are stunned by the outpouring of love and support that has come.  It is truly humbling and beautiful to see the love of Christ so perfectly displayed in others.

The waters rise.  The waves are massive.  We don’t know how this will all turn out.

But we are thankful for the wild, free, and surprising grace of God.

The waves are here, but that is ok.  There is grace beneath the waves.

Life is not what I thought it was, 24 hours ago…

Still I’m singing ‘Spirit! Take me up in arms with You!’”

21 comments on “Grace Beneath The Waves

  1. wkb2texans
    December 3, 2014

    Josh, you both are God filled … God blessed. Prayers for God’s Will to be done. He indeed is faithful …

    “Trust His Heart”

    All things work for our good
    Though sometimes we don’t
    See how they could
    Struggles that break our hearts in two
    Sometimes blind us to the truth
    Our Father knows what’s best for us
    His ways are not our own
    So when your pathway grows dim
    And you just don’t see him,
    Remember your never alone

    Chorus:

    God is too wise to be mistaken
    God is too good to be unkind
    So when you don’t understand
    When don’t see his plan
    When you can’t trace his hand
    Trust His Heart

    He sees the master plan
    He holds the future in his hand,
    So don’t live as those who have no hope,
    ALL our hope is found in him.
    We see the present clearly
    He sees the first and last
    And like a tapestry He’s weaving you and me,
    To someday be just like him

    (Chorus)

    He alone is faithful and true
    He alone knows what is best for you

    (Chorus)

    When you can’t trace his hand
    When you don’t see his plan
    When you don’t understand
    Trust His Heart

  2. phyllis freeman
    December 3, 2014

    Jess, Paul and I have and will continue to pray for you and Josh during this journey. Much love.

    • Josh Humbert
      December 3, 2014

      Thank you so much for the prayers & support Mrs. Freeman!

      • phyllis freeman
        December 4, 2014

        You’ve got our prayers, Josh and Jessica, but please let us know if you need anything. Jessica, I can help with child care, clean house, run errands, bring meals……whatever you need. I’m just a fb message away.

  3. Jamie Parker
    December 3, 2014

    Sam and I are praying mightily for Jessica and the rest of your family. My last chemo was in August, and I KNOW that Attitude and Faith in our Lord is the only way to get through it. We love y’all and will lift you all up through our own prayers and those of our church family

  4. Lisa Sova
    December 3, 2014

    Joshua
    What a beautifully written testament to your wife and God. I will be praying for Jessica.

    I remember you guys from many years ago at Hilltop. Your Dad taught me in Sunday school. : ) He & your mom were always such a blessing to us!

    May God keep Jessica close and continue to give her strength!! Our God IS holy, awesome & gracious. He is faithful to supply our needs.

    In Christ,
    Lisa Sova

    • Josh Humbert
      December 3, 2014

      Good to hear from a Hilltopper! We appreciate your prayers – thank you!

  5. Donna Limrick
    December 3, 2014

    The entire Rose Garden Family lifts Jessica up to our Savior and King! We know that God is in charge of this journey and we lean on His unwavering strength and love. While we pray for all of you, we will be here supporting Mom so she can be with Jessica. Prayers and Hugs!

    • Josh Humbert
      December 3, 2014

      Thank you so much! And Becky is pretty special too, huh?

  6. DancinDiva
    December 4, 2014

    Josh (and Jessica)

    I loved this..well actually I both loved and hated reading this. Obviously I hate the diagnosis and all that it entails, but I love your heart and the words that are written on this page. They are words of truth and truth is so important in order to battle the lies that come at us (I know this to be especially true in my own health issues over the past 9.5 years.) I know it’s corny, but do you remember the old song “whose report will you believe?” While it’s corny in some ways, a few years back God reminded me of it… and I have had to remind myself of it over the years. Not just in regards to physical healing, but truth in general (i.e. when people would say God hasn’t healed you because of bla bla bla, etc)…I had to go back to the Word or what I KNOW is God’s character and ask myself whose report I would believe – what people said or His Word. His report is the only one that matters and He IS good all the time, no matter what the circumstances are or what the future looks like to our natural earthly eyes. I’m not surprised by Jessica’s strength as that’s one of the major things I can remember about her. Now that I know what she’s going through (and what your family is going through as well), know that I’ll be praying for you all. But not just for the physical, but the mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects as well. Sometimes we can be strong in multiple areas and have a moment of weakness in another area. I can’t physically help your family out, but I can help out spiritually by praying… and that’s what I vow to do. We serve an awesome and mighty God and on any journey/adventure we are on, we will encounter His love and peace. .. I’ve seen it over and over again. Thanks for writing this! I’m glad Jake shared it or I would have never known.

    Angela

    • Josh Humbert
      December 4, 2014

      Thank you for the kind words and prayer suppport. That is something we definitely believe in—prayers to a mighty God! Thanks angela and may God bless you too.

  7. kymberlisentner
    December 4, 2014

    We are praying for you all… Such a blessing, looking forward to more of His beautiful insight and inspiration as you walk this journey in the fellowship of suffering, counting it all joy! John’s dad endured 4 different cancers and multiple surgeries over 12 years before going to be with the Lord. He still rode in the MS150 Houston to Austin every year, bag attached…the last one 3 months before his last breath. Everyone remembers him, he honored everyone, he was humble and left the mark of Christ on their hearts. No matter how this road turns or what it holds, we hope and pray for total healing! See you soon 🙂 Love and blessings, John and Kymberli

    • Josh Humbert
      December 7, 2014

      Thank you, Kymberli! And that is quite amazing about john’s dad!! awesome stuff!!

  8. Helen Guajardo
    December 9, 2014

    When I heard the news my heart broke! You have always inspired me to be a better person Jessica! You took care of my children with such a loving heart and I was always in awe of your beautiful spirit. My prayers are with you, your husband, your children and family at this time. Stay strong and be the amazing woman you are!!!

  9. Allison
    December 18, 2014

    Josh, I’m so sad to hear this news. I’ll be praying for your family during this difficult journey. God is greater than cancer!

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