I hate cancer.
Some say that I shouldn’t. I don’t agree.
There are some things that it is only right to hate. Sin, and its results in this world (including cancer, in my opinion), are some of them.
I can be thankful to God for orchestrating all of this for his good purposes, because I know that this is all working out according to His sovereign plan. I know for sure, this will all end well. There is more to my family’s battle with cancer than meets the eye, and I am okay with that.
It doesn’t mean I have to like Cancer itself. It doesn’t mean I have to thank God for the existence of Cancer. It doesn’t mean I have to pretend I’m okay with all of this.
Heaven forbid if I ever pretend anything of the kind!
The truth is, I am not okay, but God is good. The truth is, I don’t understand, but God understands everything. The truth is that Cancer is nasty, vile, and terrible, but God is good, and promises that a day is coming when he rights everything that is wrong in the world.
Hating cancer doesn’t mean I don’t trust God. It doesn’t mean I am ungrateful, or ungodly. It just means I hate what God hates. God hates cancer, too. It is not His creation. It’s the offspring of evil at large in the world.
It doesn’t give God some kind of sick joy to see my Dad dying of cancer that has taken over his brain, and is now giving him petit mal seizures, taking his short-term memory, and confusing him.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” ~Romans 12:9-17 (NIV)
“Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.” Cancer is evil. How can I not hate it? I cling to my God and Father, Jesus Christ, as the only true Good in my life. I cling to Him through my loved ones who know him, and through those who reach out to encourage me. I cling to Him through the positive things about this situation – the fact that I can minister to my dad, the fact that he’s not in pain, and the fact that the kids are here to bring joy into this dark valley of shadow.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction….” Notice: It does not say “be joyful in affliction.” It says to be patient. My joy is in the hope of salvation, so I can still rejoice in that, even if there is nothing else to rejoice in in my life. If I had nothing else, my salvation would be enough reason to call myself to joy. I rejoice when I face trials – not because I have to face them, but because God is with me through them. Because of this source of joy, I can patiently wait through this trial, resting in the sure hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is my foundation.
Last, but not least, “mourn with those who mourn.” I may not grieve as the world grieves, but I am still grieving. Deeply. This is hard. I refuse to pretend this is easy for me, or that I am strong. I am at my weakest right now. When I am weak, it is God who is strong in me, strengthening my hands to the tasks that I face alongside my mother and my sisters, and it doesn’t help to be given platitudes about heaven, or anything else. I know the truth of Dad’s salvation. I feel the relief inherent in the knowledge that soon, he will no longer be suffering. That doesn’t mean my pain will end when his does.
This is my consolation:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” ~Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
Ultimately, I have the promise of comfort. There is no promise that assures me that I won’t face grief in life, but there are many promises of comfort, peace, and joy through them, because I will never walk alone, and I don’t see anywhere in God’s Word a rebuke for those of us left behind in our grief. I see comfort, help, and love.
Anyway. I hate cancer.
But I love my God.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him. (Job 13:15)
I have heard some in authority say that a grieving Christian is an oxymoron. They are wrong. Even Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb, though he knew that he would be calling him back to life in about five minutes. He mourned with those who mourned, and comforted them.
Grace & Peace,