FACES - YWAM Singapore Issue.2017 - Page 17

“This cancer makes me feel human and vulnerable. I’m a mere human being who fears death.” In Korean- accented English, Hannah Nai expressed a similar sentiment to Paul Kalanithi in his book When Breath Becomes Air: Coming face to face with your own mortality, changes both nothing and everything. Before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew that someday she would die. She just didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, she knew that someday, she would die. But now she knew it acutely. Cancer had pushed the eternal perspective to the forefront of her mind, but it didn’t always eliminate the tangible fear of death. and grace is with me everyday, at every moment, and that’s an absolute wonder.” The illness scripted Hannah into an almost predetermined process – scans, chemo, radiation, remission, and a possible relapse. But in the midst of uncontrollable outcomes, and the questions that ensued, “Is God teaching me something? Did I do something wrong?” Hannah made the choice to trust the Lord. “This trust isn’t based on how much I know about myself or the situation. It’s dependent on the maturity of my relationship with Him – knowing that He is a good and omniscient God. My usually calm and composed disposition caved in to angst and anxiety. But in that place, I experience His responses to me – His graciousness as He covers me, His generosity as He loves me, and His patience as He waits. This has allowed me to see a greater dimension of God and the depth of His love for me. He’s my security.” Together with her Singaporean husband, Edmund Nai, Hannah had plans to sojourn to the YWAM base in Worcester, South Africa. With the full intention of experiencing another culture, they were also looking forward to a break from ministry in YWAM Singapore. But the unfavourable outcome of a medical check-up derailed their endeavours. Confronted by a diagnosis that constricts the reality of how long have I got left into a tight windpipe that barely allows you to breathe, Hannah found an underlying honesty that is simple: The lessons cloaked in fear are the invaluable ones, and cancer had taught Hannah more about life and herself, than it did about death. “My brokenness became apparent. I had been heavily involved in ministry and it was my desire to serve God whole- heartedly. But instead of leaning in and relying on Him, the emphasis was on my own strength. Unknowingly, I had used my ministry as a platform to prove my worth. I thought I was serving God, but I was actually serving myself. The realisation broke me, and I cried. I was so conscious about what others thought of me, but how God sees me is far more precious than the eyes of any man. This journey is really a lesson in humility and trusting completely in the Lord.” LIFE IS NOT ABOUT AVOIDING SUFFERING BUT CREATING MEANING. And inevitably, the question that distils life’s meaning arises: What matters most to me? Edmund, without a doubt, is her favourite person, and you can safely assume that she’s never felt as close to another human being as she did with him during her struggle. Only in his presence could her tears and unpredictable emotions freely flow, and it was the dreadful possibility of leaving him behind that gnawed at her stomach. But aside from who (on earth) matters most, it was her personal growth, God and her relationship with Him that were of unwavering importance. As Hannah battled through the story lines of hope and disappointments, endurance and faith, she came out intact – she even got to keep her breasts. Her doctors had prepared her for the possibility that post-tumour-removal surgery, she might lose her left nipple, and be confronted with a sunken right breast. But she gleefully shared, “When I woke, I was ecstatic to discover that I wasn’t only alive, but my breasts were whole. God had considered every detail of my desires, even when it was least expected and not expressly asked for.” Her Father’s unfailing provision always extended beyond her mere needs, and met her heart’s desires, warranting the belief that she could completely entrust herself into His faithful embrace. She shared, “Pain and suffering in itself is very negative. But when we experience pain, it means that we’re still alive. That’s good… My understanding of a miracle used to be limited to ‘instantaneous healing’ but now, every breath I take is a miracle. At any moment, my existence may be a breath away from being my last, but God has exercised mercy. His mercy 15