So much of what I read about cancer is centered around what it takes from you: your health, your hair, your skin, your energy, your social life, your mind. While all this is true, cancer does take a lot, but it also gives a lot. I read once before that all suffering is pain +plus+. God never wastes the hurt, in fact he multiplies it into blessing for the sufferer and for those who are impacted by it.
So, what is cancer giving me?
+ A renewed eternal perspective. There is nothing like facing a trial like this to cause you to consider the eternal. Priorities begin to change when eternity comes into view more clearly. (Colossians 3:2)
+ An increased faith in the God who Provides. We have seen the hand of our Jehovah Jireh in such a new and incredible ways, beyond what we could ask or imagine over the past few weeks. Three weeks ago we had a few suitcases and a car, today we have a beautiful, fully furnished home! ( Ephesians 3:20)
+ An increased appreciation for the Body of Christ and humanity in general. We have seen the church (at large) come together to support, encourage, and help us in so many ways; from meals, to sweet notes of encouragement, to financial gifts, to practical gifts and donations and even the extras aka the “beyonds” (the “beyond what we could ask or imagine”). Total strangers have reached out and blessed us in so many ways. Our hearts are so moved and touched that we struggle to find words to say thank you. (Matthew 4:32a)
+ A renewed perspective on prayer, His presence and a peace passes understanding. Even when I haven’t been able to utter a prayer, I sense His presence as His spirit intercedes for me along with the Body of Christ all over the world. I do not feel that I carry this burden alone! He walks with me and His people, uphold me! It is well with my soul. (Galatians 6:2, Romans 8:26-27)
+ Incredible opportunities to share His light in new places and reveal His glory in new, unexpected places. In a recent article on Desiring God’s blog about suffering really impacted me. The author, Marshal Segal stated, “Many will not be curious about the hope within us unless we suffer something that requires hope.” Already, God is using our situation to impact those around us. My nurse coordinator was completely blown away to hear how God and His people have provided in so many ways for us! She said to me, “This renews a hope in me.” (Philippians 1:12-18)
+ Offering opportunities for fellow believers to store up treasures in heaven. A friend of mine was sharing about a Joni Erickson Tada message she had been listening to. One thing that Joni shared was how God changed her perspective on how she views those who serve her. She rejoices in knowing that she is helping them to store up treasures in heaven where dust and moth don’t corrupt (Matthew 16:19-20). What an incredible perspective!
So, it’s true, there is an element of grief these days – my hair is gone, my appetite could be better, my mind isn’t what it used to be, a lot has changed in a short period of time, but cancer is giving me more than it is taking away, so I press on into round two of chemo (tomorrow, December 5th) and what lies beyond with a renewed hope and peace that can only come from above.
“Don’t assume that suffering is a detour. Suffering may hinder even halt thing in our lives, but God loves to use our griefs to magnify our small vision of Him. And suffering makes the Gospel run with a pace unknown in prosperity. ” Marshal Segal https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/someone-needs-to-see-you-suffer-well
Letting the Gospel run lose in my life these days