Thank You God For Cancer

 Photography by:  Doug Reynolds

Photography by: Doug Reynolds

My father got diagnosed with Bone Cancer.  A little difficult for my brain to wrap itself around those words. I've known the news for a week and I'm still in a disbelief state, I think.

I do a gratitude journal, it has become a great practice and habit of mine to write down things I am grateful for during the week. It usually fills up pages in my bullet journal. I opened it up the other day and noticed I hadn't been grateful for anything since September 11th, and even further I noticed that was the day my dad gave me his news about the Cancer. I put my pen to the paper and scribbled, September 12 -17: "Thank you God for Cancer." Tears filled my eyes and I shut my journal and went to bed.  I didn't really feel grateful for it, but I knew it was the best place to start.

My heart hurts so much it's numb. Can you relate to this odd feeling? You know something is terribly wrong, yet your heart can't feel anything? I guess it's a spiritual analgesic so that we don't go into emotional shock or something. I have felt that feeling many times in my life as I've received, terrible-no-good, news in the past. It's weeks after the "news" that the anesthesia starts wearing out and the heart starts feeling the Ouch. All the pain rushes in like an avalanche that comes out of your eyeballs the moment someone asks how you're doing. Even though my heart can't feel right now, I want my mind to be in the frame of gratitude. For I know that God says it's important that we are grateful, even in hardship. I know this truth and have personally seen the fruit it can bring.

In 2014 I was healing from being sexually molested and I remember reading  "In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1: 6-7)  I remember thinking, I feel many things about the way I was abused and "grateful" is not one of them. But I remained obedient in learning how to overcome this hardship that had silently torn my life apart for so many years. As I said the words out loud, "I'm grateful for the abuse." I began seeing my heart softening in ways I never knew possible. I began to see God moving in ways I never even imagined. It was completely unnatural for me to express gratitude for such an atrocity and yet, God's grace and power helped my heart open up to heal me in ways I greatly needed. My heart was calloused and speaking out gratitude even before I felt it, gave God's love and light a chance to come into the dark places in my soul that believed my circumstances were permanent and couldn't change. The expression of gratitude for hardship began to lift my soul into a new paradigm. It began giving me hope that it wasn't going to remain that same. I started to have hope that maybe God would use my brokenness to help someone else out. I had already been through the pain of it, so if God was legitimately telling me that he could turn it around for my good and others, I wanted to see if he really meant it. He did! In that circumstance, he showed himself so faithful to me.  I witnessed God blessing me and others through it and he is still working it for my good.  So much has changed in my life because I decided to be grateful for something so painful. And I want to believe that now as I face another difficulty in my life, God will remain faithful again

As I face Cancer with my dad and family, I will begin with gratitude, even when that's the last thing I feel at this moment in time. Because what I really feel right now is confusion, resentment, and sadness. I feel frustrated and worried. Much of me is trying to suppress these emotions because they might seem faithless, but I am beginning to learn, this is our human experience. Being a Christian doesn't mean you have no negative feelings or thoughts!  It's what we do with them that matter. So I am actively taking them to the Lord and asking him to take me as I am and comfort me in my mess. To give me hope and new thoughts.  When I can, I whisper, "I don't understand, but I trust you, Lord.  May you use this for the good of many and to show me another wonderful facet of yourself to me. May my heart be grateful even in affliction and may I know and believe that you have a plan for my father, for me and my family!"  

So, thank you, God, for Cancer. May anyone who is suffering in this way right now feel your comfort and peace that can cover us at any moment. May they know your love and be certain that you will never leave them in their pain. That you are going to use this hardship for their good and the good of many! God is faithful. I love you, friends. I pray you're well! Thank you for listening!