Does it ever seem like everyone you know is getting diagnosed with cancer? It's been one of those weeks for me.
When I hear about a potential cancer diagnosis, I immediately think death, disability, and devastation. Do you? This morning my little boy asked me, "Is chemo a good thing or a bad thing?" What an interesting question. My gut reaction, honestly, was that chemo is a very bad thing. But the question made me think rather than react. The truth is, I have loved ones who have survived cancer for many years after having chemotherapy. How then could I believe that it's a bad thing?
I couldn't offer my son any simple answers, but this I do know. The real challenge of cancer isn't chemotherapy, disability, or death. The real challenge of cancer is fear. This week as I brought dear ones before the Lord in prayer, asking Him for healing, there was a little part of me that was afraid He wasn't listening. There was a part of me that feared He didn't care. If it were true that God wasn't listening and He didn't care, then what hope was there for me?
The real challenge of cancer is that it can lead to fear based on lies about who God is and who we are to God. While it does seem that all around us people we love are getting cancer, if we will look, we will also see the faces of those who've survived it. God listens to our prayers on their behalf. God cares. He carries them through the valley of cancer. And yes, sometimes He takes our loved ones to a place where there is no more cancer. A pastor whose first wife succumbed to cancer shared with the women at a retreat I attended that his wife told him near the end of her life, "Just because God is taking me home doesn't mean He is leaving you." We can meet and defeat the challenge of cancer by believing that God is with us and for us. That is a very good thing.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)