MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–Can God beat cancer? I sat with a man at the cancer treatment center recently who asked me that question. His wife died less than a year ago from ovarian cancer. Shortly after her death he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His prognosis is not good.
Eighteen months ago, after some unexplained weight loss, I went to see my doctor. A CT-scan revealed that I had stage IV colon cancer that had spread to my liver. The oncologist told us that it was as bad as it gets. He would later say that without treatment, I had only a few weeks to live.
I immediately started chemotherapy treatments. The cancer began to respond and, after 11 months of chemo, I had surgery to remove the affected part of the colon and a process called radio frequency ablation to kill the 25-plus tumors on my liver. While recovering from the procedure in the hospital, we were elated to get the news that they could find no trace of cancer. But two months later another CT-scan revealed the cancer has returned. I am taking chemotherapy as I write this.
So how did I answer my friend from the treatment center? Can God beat cancer? Most definitely! Is that his plan for my life? I really don’t know.
Here is what I do know. Cancer will not take one day from my life that God intends me to have, and treatment will not add one extra day to my life. Psalm 139:16 says that all my days were ordained before I was born. That gives me great perspective. God has a plan for me, and when my days are at an end I will go to my heavenly home, cancer or no cancer.
I also know that I can trust God. His knowledge and His thoughts are far greater than mine. So I chose to trust that.
When I was young, my aunt always kept a puzzle going in her family room. It was one of those with a ton of pieces, and they were always hard. The key to getting the puzzle finished was seeing the picture on the box. God sees the picture on the box in my life. I see the pieces. I trust what He sees. His plan may be to receive glory from a miraculous healing in my life, or His plan may be to mold and shape my family, my staff and others through my death. I am not smart enough to know which is best. He is. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced the fiery furnace, they told the king that if he threw them into the furnace their God would deliver them — and even if He didn’t, they would not bow down (Daniel 3:17-18). They trusted God no matter what. Me too.
Finally, I know that God wants me to live my life with the perspective that every day counts. The psalmist prayed that God would remind him that our time here is brief and life is fleeing away (Psalm 39:4). The truth is that we all are dying and every day is precious. I want to make mine count. I want to spend my days making a difference in the lives of those God has placed around me. “Law & Order” and “CSI” just don’t seem so important anymore.
These days it is always crowded at the cancer center. It seems that cancer affects the lives of nearly everyone in one way or another. However, it is not bigger than God. God can and does beat cancer. More importantly, He uses something as ugly and awful as cancer to accomplish His will in the lives of people everywhere. He is in charge. He has a plan. I am good with that.
Mike Blaylock is the vice president for campus affairs at the University of Mobile in Mobile, Ala. He also is a speaker and entertainer for colleges, churches, businesses and civic organizations throughout the country. The former chaplain for the Kansas City Royals, Blaylock is the author of “An Unexpected Journey: Traveling Through a Valley Called Cancer,” available on his website at http://www.buildingwinnersforlife.com/resources.html.