A few years before my breast cancer diagnosis, an OB/GYN had cornered me in the atrium of the hospital where I was doing clinical rotations. He told me he was working with an infertile couple who wanted a daughter just like me — tall, thin, blond-haired Ivy League grad student. He offered me $20,000 for my eggs. (I declined.)
After I completed my cancer treatments, I thought maybe the reason why I’d gotten cancer, maybe the reason why God had deconstructed the life I was building and had taken away so many things I wanted is because he was preparing me to live overseas.
I applied to several missions agencies, who all declined to take me because of my recent cancer diagnosis.
I felt like my value had plummeted.
Now, after cancer, people didn’t want my eggs or my life — even if I gave them away for free.
If the value of a painting or an antique is determined by what people are willing to pay for it at auction, what did it say about my value that not only were people not willing to pay for me; they wouldn’t even take me for free?
I was now in the class of rescue animals, truck stop coffee, junk stocks and stained thrift store t-shirts.
I couldn’t give my life away if I tried.
No one would take it.
No one would take me.
Every morning when I looked at myself in the mirror, when I saw my bald head and scarred chest, I wondered if — or why — it mattered that I was alive.
During this time, I had started attending a church in Portland. Every Sunday, I would go to the front to receive communion, and then I would kneel down and I would beg God to find me. To love me. To take notice of me. But, the longer God felt distant and silent, the more I felt that I was less-than-nothing, a liability rather than an asset.
I went to this church every Sunday for six months. Six months of slipping into the back row of the church, wearing huge sunglasses even in the dead of winter because I was ashamed for strangers to see me cry. Six months of kneeling down at the front altar, begging, pleading for God to come and find me because I felt so lost.
One Sunday, while I was kneeling at the front, the worship band started playing a hymn I had loved singing when I was a little girl.
The Love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen could ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
Suddenly it dawned on me that God’s love is stronger than anything on earth — even death. And his love is so wide and high and long and deep that all this time, in all this pain, through all the heartache, and in all this loss, not only now was I found by God, but never for a single second had I ever been lost.
And that’s when I knew what I was truly worth.
I had been basing my worth on what others were willing to pay for me. But now I realized that I needed to look up — to see what God was willing to pay for me.
What had God paid for me?
What did God spare to pursue me — both on the cross, and through my cancer treatments?
Nothing. Divine Love spared no expense to claim and to keep me.
If you feel invaluable, worthless, unloved or less-than-nothing today, let this sink into your soul: You are precious.
God spared no expense to reach you, to find you, to love you. God didn’t even spare his only son — and all that, just to get to you.
You are precious, not because your painting sells for a million dollars, not because you have a modeling contract that pays you $10,000 a day, not because your Etsy store is wildly successful, not because you can charge $500 an hour for your services, not because people are willing to buy an expensive ticket to see you perform.
You are not precious because of the value that other people place on you.
You are precious because God spent everything he had for you, because he guards your soul with his very life, because God so loved the world — because God has, does and will forever so love YOU.