Understanding the sting

My mammogram results came back negative for cancer today! The lump on my sternum is a piece of bony scar tissue, probably from an old multiple rib fracture I suffered while playing goalie in college.

Rosy danced on a red ant hill today, and came running to me, arms waving, a familiar look of terror in her eyes. I remember that feeling of consternation and panic so well from my own childhood. My mother once told me (the only girl in the family, bolstering female stereotypes faithfully by being petrified of bugs, snakes, and toads), "Oh, that ant won't bite you!" I wrongly interpreted her statement as "ants never bite". My first foray on a red ant hill found me bewildered and shrieking in pain as they crawled all over my body, stinging everywhere. My best friend, also covered in ants, knew exactly what was wrong and began flailing wildly, slapping them out of her hair and off her skin. I continued my crazed dance on the ant hill, trying to determine what in heaven's name could possibly be causing me such ridiculous pain. My father finally came to my rescue, and I will never forget my mother's horror as she bathed the thousands of red welts all over my body later that morning.

Do we, as children of God, do this with the words of the Bible, I wonder? Do we take statements like that in Jeremiah 29:11 (plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future) and assume that means we won't ever find a lump on our chest? Or that the lump on the throat the doctor discovers will either be harmless, or that we will be miraculously cured?
I would argue that sometimes the plans include lumps that turn out benign and draw out a response of new praise from our hearts; and sometimes they turn out to be malignant, and bring us through a million fires we would never have chosen but bless us indescribably in ways no human would ever request. When we read the assurances of scripture, shouldn't we also balance them with the suffering of scripture? Shouldn't we read them with the eternal perspective always fixed in our minds - that, in the end, all sorrows will be healed and all tears will be wiped away? I need to learn to recognize ants that bite, and ants that don't, in a figurative sense. To throw off the naïveté of spiritual infancy, and recognize the realities of adulthood in the servanthood of the faith: wars, battles, scars, wounds ministered to through God's compassionate - and unknowable - mercy.

And to the two secret servants of Christ who brought His love to my doorstep today in their beautiful, love-worn faces and backs bent to ease my labor:

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, bring glad tidings of good things, proclaim salvation, and proclaim to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7)