I’ve had a hard time processing the hundreds of responses. The outpouring of love. The support.
Understandably, fear has been a prominent theme. Cancer is a word that has wreaked havoc on so many people and families you & I know and love.
Am I afraid? Not yet.
First of all, I do not want to become too emotional prior to the January 6th operation. This will be basically another, more profound, biopsy. The surgeon will excise several whole lymph nodes. At that point we will have a detailed diagnosis. We will know exactly what we are dealing with and how serious it is. Prior to that knowledge, we wait.
Secondly, as a pastor, I’ve been in and out of hospitals, spending time praying and encouraging the sick and dying more times than I can count.
When you look a terminally ill cancer patient in the eye, it changes you. At that moment, there is no room for feel-good platitudes. Questions of life and death are no longer theoretical.
Is there a God? Does a spiritual realm exist? Did Jesus really conquer death?
If the answers to these questions cannot withstand the onslaught of the most difficult situations on this earth, then they are false. If my answers to life’s most difficult existential questions only function when life is going well, then I am only fooling myself.
If the answers to these questions are found to be real, however, and can withstand and give hope in the midst of the most horrific experiences this world has to offer; civil war in the Congo, Ebola in Liberia, and Cancer in the U.S.; then these same real truths are able sustain me as I face my own mortality.
Fear? Maybe. Hope? Definitely.
The reality of the resurrection does not eliminate fear. It does not undo, for the moment, the destruction of death. But it gives hope.
If Jesus conquered death as Scripture states, then death is conquerable. There is more to come for those who are in Christ.
The valley of death becomes a shadow, blocking the sun for but a moment.