Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Late Night Thoughts about Cancer

I admire David in the Old Testament. Described as “a man after God’s own heart,” he was a real man. He was a man’s man. He messed up his life horribly, but in the final evaluation, he was known as a man with a heart for God. In the psalms, he cried out to God about his circumstances – he made known his anger, his fears, his discouragement, and a whole host of other human emotions – yet he was able to look past his circumstances, his thoughts, and his feelings, and focus on the God who created him, sustained him, and kept him secure in times of trouble.

Over the past few weeks, I have attempted to be transparent about my battle with cancer. I want to be like David. I want to be genuine in sharing my thoughts and emotions concerning our circumstances, but I also want others to know that, because of God’s grace, we can look beyond our circumstances and see the sovereign hand of God.

I have fears. I have concerns. I have shed some tears, and will certainly shed some more. In the past few weeks, my wife and I have had some very frank discussions about my prognosis and about what will happen if I die. We have talked about how to handle finances, funeral arrangements, the care of our children, and other things related to me not being here. I am concerned about leaving my wife a widow, about my children not having a father. I am a real man with real thoughts and emotions. Yet, these thoughts and emotions do not consume me. Like David, I trust that God already has these things figured out. He is the One who numbers my days. He will care for my wife and children if I am no longer around. As much as I love and care for them, He loves and cares for them even more.

Having a relationship with God does not require “checking our brains at the door,” giving up our thoughts, or giving up our emotions; but it does require submitting our thoughts and emotions to God – giving them over to Him and trusting in His goodness rather than focusing on our circumstances.

Every day I am reminded of the cancer that has invaded my body. I have a tumor on my lower right leg. I still have some pain. I have to walk with a cane. My hair is falling out. I get fatigued. I have an incision in my chest where a vascular port was inserted. I have to visit my oncologist weekly. I have chemotherapy every three weeks. Yet, by God’s grace, I am not consumed by the cancer. It is not my daily focus. My wife and I often joke that “life is great, except for the cancer!” My days are filled with reminders of God’s grace. My days revolve around sharing with others the wonderful things that God is doing and the lessons that He is teaching me. As I have said before, cancer may take my body – outwardly I may be wasting away – but inwardly, I have life! Cancer cannot take away the life that God has given to me through Jesus Christ, His Son and my Savior.

No comments: