Today marks exactly one year since my wife got the phone call that everyone prays will never come. I remember her calling me crying and all she could say was “come home.” I drove and prayed and asked God to do a miracle, and he did not in the way I would have done it but a year later I can say that I don’t understand, but we’ve learned to trust more. This year has been difficult because walking through cancer was difficult for everyone in our family in very different ways. It has been hard because we have lost some very dear friends a few of them to cancer. Every time I think of them my heart aches a bit because this isn’t how it was supposed to be.
To be clear, I hate cancer. I also don’t believe that it is a gift from God. I do believe that God works through our greatest pains for our good and his glory (Romans 8). While I would never wish for Cancer to come. There are things in my life and in our family I would have never known existed both good and bad if it wasn’t for the trial that took the form of cancer in our family. At the moment we were rejoicing from the good news that my wife was Cancer free a few of our friends discovered they had Cancer in their bodies. With the freshness of the pain from what we had walked through I can’t tell you how this pained my heart. Yet having just walked through something so similar and watched God move in my wife’s life and in several others I had a faith to believe and pray in a way I wouldn’t have before.
One of those friends of mine was Jeremy Lee, a guy I had recently met in person but have known online for some time. As my wife was receiving her joy-filled news 6 months ago he was received far worse news. Since the day I found out he had Cancer I began to pray with new wisdom and fresh hope for healing. This week he received a clean bill of health, to God be the Glory. I wanted to share his Facebook status with you because I found it personally helpful and profoundly true.
I had a friend pray a prayer over me a few months back that said, “May he clearly see the gifts this disease has for him.”
I’ll admit that at first that prayer made me angry. Cancer had no gifts for me. It had ruined my life, stolen my joy, and threatened everything I held dear.
But then God began to show me that cancer did have gifts for me.
* I was able to learn that I had very little control over anything in my life, and I learned to be at peace with that.
* I was able to wrap my mind around the idea of dying and eventually no longer be afraid of it.
* I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was.
* I discovered that the love and loyalty of my friends and family is more valuable than any amount of money I could ever make in my lifetime. In essence, I am rich!
* I learned that my faith in God is a calm in the midst of chaos. So often the only thing I could do was whisper a prayer, and that kept me going.
* I learned that when I feel fear it is my heart telling me to “plan and prepare”. I now look at fear differently. It’s not something that paralyzes me like a deer in headlights. It’s something that informs me to be as ready as I can be and leave the rest to God.
* I learned the power of a letter, a card, a meal, or a kind gesture. I’ve been inspired to live a life of love and generosity after experiencing so much of it during this journey from others.
* I learned to take life one day at a time.
It’s been quite a journey.
And it’s not over. I have to get scanned and checked every few months for the next five years to make sure the cancer doesn’t return.
But thanks to the gifts I’ve received from cancer, I’ll always celebrate its absence, and I won’t fear its return. I’ve learned cancer can’t take anything from me anymore. “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
I’m very aware that in the midst of my good news, there are so many others who are receiving a cancer diagnosis or struggling through treatments or find themselves with very little hope of good news in regards to their cancer. Please know that my heart is with you, and I don’t post this ignorantly without considering you. I stand with you and cheer you on as you fight your battle.
Cancer is no joke. It brings everything right to the point. It makes you think in terms of life and death. All the crap in your life boils right to the top, and you’re forced to deal with it.
But I’ve learned that in the end, that’s all a gift.
Thanks again to everyone who has loved us through this time! Praise God for healing.
I say Amen and I look forward to the day when all the sad things in this world Cancer being one of those things, comes untrue. When Christ returns and wipes every tear from every eye. I long for home.