Monday, May 26, 2014

Living with Cancer

Every month I receive an e-newsletter from the American Cancer Society, called “Living with Cancer.” As I was doing my usual delete-without-reading, it suddenly occurred to me we are all living with “something” we would rather not be. Maybe something temporary, like a financial loss or an inconsiderate roommate. Or more long-term, like diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Whatever it is, we think we would be better off without it.

These days, you will find a plethora of books telling you how to tolerate/manage this undesirable thing. But in God's economy, you cannot live ‘without’ it: “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow... and when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4). By living with our “self-eliminating cancers,” we are all being conformed to the image of Jesus. Given that, how can we possibly say we would rather not be living with it?


  1. As Mueller was quoted in The Complete Green Letters, "God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means. I say-and say it deliberately- trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith."

    God definitely will use our "thorns in the flesh" to allow the temporal discomfort work for our eternal good.

  2. Good morning Greg,
    Good post.
    God wants people of strong character. I want an easy comfortable life. An easy comfortable life does not promote growth of a person of strong character. With these things that so easily beset me, I am more likely to cling to the One who can set me free. And in that place of clinging, God works in me, through me, and for me, to make me a little more like Jesus.
    As you have noted with Paul, in my weakness, I am made strong. The world says run with your strengths. God says boast in your weaknesses.
    If God paid the price of the blood of His son to establish the potential of an intimate relationship with me, in God's perspective, everything else to quicken that relationship are just maintenance dues. So the question I need to ask myself is, "with this thing that contrains me, how can God make me more like Jesus?"
    Larry Q

  3. And is that not the question: "what is God doing?" Not"what is God doing 'in' me or 'for' me or 'through' me but, completely apart from me, "what is God doing that fits His purposes?" Remember when I recently wrote that God didn't provide Abraham with a road map? To me that's the ultimate test of faith: when what God is doing seemingly makes no sense, apparently has nothing to do with me, and by all appearances seems far more harmful than good.

    God demands absolute perfection in our faith. That's what Jesus did! Thank God for His faithfulness, His obedience, His righteousness... no more religious efforts to appease a just God. Jesus did it for us. And "It is finished."

    1. Good morning Greg,
      Excellent response! Thank you for your cogent thoughts!
      As with Abraham, the principle that I think God established was this, "Relationship with Me is more important than the rules." This actually started in the garden, when God told them that they did not need to eat of the fruit that would bring them the knowledge of good and evil. They didn't need the rules. They needed a relationship with God. In like manner, we need a relationship with God more than we need a map. So it was with the wandering in the wilderness. They had to keep one eye open all the time watching to see if God was moving. Would that my heart was so quickened to that effect. It seems I only notice long after the evidence is demonstrating that God has moved on.
      But God is good to me, all the time. God is faithful, all the time. Sometimes, those are the words of faith that can lead to a more full perspective of what the abundant life is really all about (Christ in me, the hope of glory!).
      Larry Q