Monday, October 15, 2012

Cancer And Hope

My sister in law has cancer. Note I did not say she is dying of cancer though that is the usual outcome. This is the tension we live in. As family most of us are followers of Christ. As Christ followers we believe in the efficacy of prayer and the healing power of God who counts the stars by number and knows each one by name. Still cancer is a strong enemy which is why we celebrate survivors. For though we know God can heal we assume that the cancer will end life. This last is what frustrates me.

I do not believe in a positive outcome because I have no experience. My dear cousin Jeff died in his twenties of Leukemia as did my uncle. I’ve lost an aunt and my mother to cancer. I had two college friends, both named Eric, that succumbed to cancer of the brain. I have been down this road before.

Everyone I’ve talked to expects near and certain death. I understand the tension and the reality. I think what frustrates me is that we don’t fight for the possibility that God will heal. I want to be sensitive to the day to day reality that is cancer and to the statistics. In some way we strain between the realities that God is able and that the statistics are negative.

I keep coming back to Matt Chandler. He is a husband and father and pastor to over 10,000 in the Dallas area. In 2010 he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He just finished a book and today has a thriving ministry. God can heal.

We need not be Pollyanna Christians wearing fake smiles and claiming everything will be all right. In the midst of the reality we mustn’t give up in our hope or our belief. God is not bound by statistics. As E.V. Hill said, “Doctors are only practicing medicine.” So we live out our faith day by day in the context of Hebrews 11; “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” and, “All of these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

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