“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
It truly seems right to thank God for all that occurs in our lives and the lives of those we love. But as in most things in life, we have the best intentions, but from time to time we fall short.
As I reflect on the past year and a half this reading from Thessalonians has special significance for me and my family.
Spots on lung, biopsy, partial lung removal, diagnosis, Ewing’s Sarcoma, chemo therapy and all that goes with that.
Cancer, the dreaded disease, has invaded my body. Feelings of anger, uncertainty, helplessness, dread, worry, fear, and of course, “why me”? Fear of death, oh yeah! Fear of what will happen to my loved ones, absolutely.
It’s a tumult of emotions, it feels like quicksand and it’s hard to get your footing.
If only halfheartedly, I did pray and asked God to heal me. I don’t think it was a crisis of faith, but it did test it.
To my surprise it didn’t take long for God to speak to me. Soon after my diagnosis I was walking with Susan in a nature area near our house. It was a sunny day and we had stopped for a rest. I asked Susan, “do you think I am going to die”? She didn’t miss a beat, and as I recall she looked at me like I had two heads, and said an emphatic NO. Well, she’s my wife, what else could she say? Soon after my sister Sharon told me that she had been praying for me and God told her that it would all end up good. Then my brother-in-law David, a retired pulmonologist, and my sister Jan came for a visit. He offered me good advice, “don’t fight the treatment, keep your faith.”
I put my skepticism aside and chose to believe that God was speaking to me through these two lovely women and man in my life. From that point on it became easier to deal with what was coming up.
My prayer to God was different. I still whined to Him but my whining was filled with hope.
A year and one half after my diagnosis and chemo, and many bumps in the road, I still have hope that I will continue to heal.
It has brought me closer to God than I thought was possible. At some point, I began to thank God for this life challenge because it brings me closer to Him and those whom I love.
Most days I have no fear of death. I truly believe that if I live or die through this experience I come out a winner. There are bumps on that road too. At times my conviction waivers. Usually it comes about as family gathers. My fear of what will happen to Susan and the gang if I die gives me pause.
When that happens a dear wise deacon friend’s wisdom brings me back to reality. He said, they are God’s children and he will take care of them. What a wonderful, comforting, piece of wisdom that is – thank you Deacon John.
My last scan was cancer free. I suppose I will always dread the CT scan, human nature I guess.
I no longer think “why me,” but rather “why not me.” Who am I that I should be so special that God would spare me from this disease?
God has blessed me with many people who have prayed for me, continue to pray for me, send me cards, and offer me hope. My family has been loving, encouraging and supportive. It has truly made the difference. I am humbled and grateful.
Dn Rod Palmer