I have to confess, I have discovered hatred in my heart. I hate cancer.
Cancer is insidious. Sometimes it creeps up very slowly, barely perceptible yet devastating. Sometimes it comes with a bang, overnight and with no warning. Sometimes its effects are completely visible; sometimes it is a totally invisible disease and you could never guess that it was ravaging someone's body. It morphs and changes and resists treatment at times.
Cancer seems to be literally all around right now. Just a few people I'm praying for right now:
* My mom - living with stage IV metastatic breast cancer for at least the last 2.5 years, despite the destruction of two of the vertebrae in her lower back
* Three of my aunts who have, over the past 3 years, successfully battled stage 1 and in situ breast cancer
* The family of a dear friend from college - her mom passed into eternity early this morning after a very quick fight against ovarian cancer
* The wife of my former pastor, who was just diagnosed with lung cancer a few weeks ago
* The brother of one of the women in my Thursday bible study, who was just diagnosed and is enduring chemotherapy right now
* A 19-year old teen from my parents' church back East who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April and is enduring months of chemo and stem cell transplant therapy at St. Jude's in Memphis, TN
* A little 7 year-old girl here in town who has also been fighting a terribly aggressive brain cancer for the past two years
And that doesn't count those in my life who have been lost, or who have lost close family members to cancer. One of my mom's closest friends died a few years ago of a very aggressive brain cancer (the exact same cancer that Senator Ted Kennedy fought). At least two friends have lost their fathers to cancer in the last 5 years.
I really hate cancer.
But cancer is not victorious. Even when, in the case of so many of my friends, it appears to win. If there is one thing God is making abundantly clear to me this year, it is that HE alone is sovereign. He alone has power over life and death. He alone has the power to heal. He alone deserves glory and honor and praise. He alone controls the heavens and the earth, and is Lord over all creatures in the heavens and the earth and under the earth.
We are studying the book of James at church, and the first chapter says:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" ~James 1:2-5
This week has been full of trials. Friends and family members passing away. Spiritual attack. Painful illness flare-ups. Frustration. Exhaustion.
But it has also been full of God's faithfulness. I have never been more sure of my God, my Lord Jesus Christ. I have never been more sure of His love for me. I have never been more assured of His sovereignty.
Oh, Jesus, teach us to love you and to trust you - no matter the circumstances that come our way, even through cancer.