Could we all just stop with the “troubles are a blessing” nonsense, specifically the “cancer is a gift” nonsense? I’m sick to death of this.
Here’s what happens. Someone gets a cancer diagnosis. It’s a Stage 1 tiny encapsulated tumor. The surgeon operates, says, “We got it all! You don’t even need radiation!” The person I’m going to call Victim One says, “Praise the Lord! I value my life so much more now! I’m thankful this happened, because now I know what’s important. So it’s actually good that I had cancer!”
Here’s Victim Two. Stage 2. There’s a non-encapsulated tumor and some lymph nodes are involved. They do surgery and then they blast away with radiation that leaves Victim Two sick, exhausted, and depressed. But, perhaps there’s remission. Maybe the tumor doesn’t recur. Again, someone may offer praise to God for the cancer because it heightened awareness of her need for Jesus and made her focus on Him and His great love for her. Perhaps her family was re-connected after a lengthy estrangement. Good came of it, so it must have been a blessing.
Let’s cut to the chase and leave Victim Three out of it.
Victim Four. Inoperable. Chemo contraindicated. Terminal. A matter of time. And so, for however long it takes for the tumor to grow, to assault the lymph system, to spread to the liver, the lungs, the brain, Jesus works in sanctifying His child and making her fit for heaven. Then she dies. And someone will say, “I’m thankful for the cancer, because it brought our family closer together and made her more like Jesus, more than perhaps she would have been had the cancer not come.”
It wasn’t the cancer that brought her close to Jesus. It was Jesus who brought her close to Himself. Do not give unto a messenger of Satan—an illness caused by the Fall, exacerbated perhaps by poor nutrition, or by bad choices, by environmental pollution, by shoddy medical attention, by primitive meds, by failed protocols—the name “blessing.” Do not take the Lord’s name in vain by saying, “Cancer is a blessing.”
Cancer is a curse. Cancer brings sickness, pain, heartache, and death. Damn cancer!
Rejoice that in the situation where you or a loved mother, father, sister, daughter, friend gets a diagnosis, you can cry out to the Father for help. Rejoice that within the bounds of the trial, you do not have to sin by denying God, by losing hope, by jumping out of a window or in front of a train. Rejoice that the Father—who Himself is Love—works within the trial to bring families back together, to draw His own child close in to His own heart. Give glory where it is due—it is due to God alone, who can work within the most hateful circumstances to bring glory to Himself and sanctification to His children.
But do not dress up the cancer and call it good.
It is not the cancer that brings a man to salvation when he realizes he is not long for this life. It is the Holy Spirit who graciously leads the man to see his mortality and that Jesus Alone is the answer to the need of the dying soul.
It is not cancer that makes a dying husband look into the eyes of the wife he is leaving alone and say, “It’s all right, Sweetheart. You’ll be okay.” It is the comfort of the Holy Spirit energizing a man to give voice to the truth that Jesus is enough for him as he dies and enough for her as she lives.
We are assured by the Word of God that death—the last enemy—will be wholly and entirely defeated.
In the meantime, let us pray against cancer in all its forms: from the smallest skin cancer to the most raging life-stealing Stage Four Destroyer.
Let us pray for the men and women who labor year after year in medical and pharmaceutical research that a cure will be found. Why do you smile? Do you think it impossible that a cure can be found? Of course there is a cure—we simply have not discovered it yet. My friend, do you fear that your child will die of smallpox? Do you lie awake at night afraid your child will fall into a pond and contract polio? Do you worry lest yellow fever steal your dearest friend? Those enemies were not less formidable. They were not less deadly. And they are gone. Pray for a cure.
Raise money, raise awareness, race for the cure! Do what you can within the context of your life to seek destruction for this enemy. The next time a prayer request is given for someone with cancer, stop the meeting—there is no reason to gather any more requests: PRAY fervently against the cancer with all your hearts. A brother or sister is in physical distress, in emotional anguish, and we are pencilling down the request and saying, “Okay, what else?”
Whatever you do, do not tell a friend that cancer will bring him closer to God. Tell your friend that God will meet him in his need. That Jesus is there with him. That our High Priest who suffered in all points as we have suffered—who bore our sins in His own body on the cross—will carry him. And pray with your dear brother or sister that the love and goodness of Jesus will be palpable in every moment, during every treatment, in every despair, and even when friends and family trickle away and don’t really want to come around all that much anymore. There can be great loneliness in cancer. Pray against it. BE THERE against it.
No more soft words about this beast from hell, this life-destroying, family-crushing disaster.
As there is no glory in cancer, there is also no cancer in Glory: so we may pray that there be no cancer on earth as it is in Heaven. May God be pleased to grant this mercy.