I hate death in general. We all have to face it at some point, true, but it doesn’t mean we have to love it and embrace it like it’s a cuddly puppy. It’s not. It’s horrible. Even Jesus called death His enemy. Of course, He kicked its ass, but in a realm that destroys its finality...we still have to contend with it until we see the other side of eternity.
That said, I, just like the rest of us, wrestle with understanding tragedy. I have the same questions, the same feelings of sadness and desperation every time I hear “______ has cancer.” I hate it. My heart sinks. You reach for the words to comfort and you realize that they feel so hollow. I’ve watched two of my best friends lose their parents to cancer. It’s devastating. I met their parents. Enjoyed a few moments of their company, but I’ve enjoyed years with their children and can only imagine how great they were. I’ve heard the horror stories and witnessed the incredible mourning. I’ve gone to the funerals. I watched from a distance not too long ago as an old friend lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 31. It feels like a hopeless and un-winnable battle.
I have also seen miracles. A friend of mine told me a couple years ago that her nephew had a serious cancer that was fairly advanced. His chance of survival was incredibly slim. She and her sister prayed. They asked their friends around them to pray. He was young -- in his 20s. I did. I joined them in their prayers. Miraculously, he beat it. Miraculously. The doctors were shocked. Sometimes I find myself in awe of those moments. How? Why? All I know is that there is a deep gratitude when that happens. I am not the one who gets to be the judge on who makes it to live beyond tragedy and who does not, whether it’s cancer or something else, but I can tell you that this young man did not just take this miracle for granted and go back to living as he did. He is traveling the world telling his story and raising money for cancer research, and most importantly he’s sharing that awesome bit about life being lived eternally.
So, what do we do about this? It’s not a hopeless topic. I think it’s our job to explore, to ask questions, to look for ways to be genuine in empathizing, encouraging, and fighting for those who are struggling with this any many other tragic illnesses. I do believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe in the practicality of helping people who are fighting for their lives.
One such person I have recently heard of is a young man named, Will. You can read about his and his wife’s story here: GoTeamGray
These folks need prayer, so pray, but they also need food and funds. They need love and encouragement, yes, but cancer disrupts so many things in life and is extremely costly. A year ago, one of my friends lost her mom. In the leading up to, we all pitched in to help pay for gas for her trips to take care of her mother. We pitched in to help get her and her husband’s kids to school and other places. As much as we offered comfort, and friendship, and prayer, we knew that they needed help in the day to day living of life. When this kind of tragedy hits, community is what will help us get through it -- whether we witness a miracle of healing or a different kind of miracle. It’s up to us to offer our strength, friendship, and resources because you never know if and when you may be on the receiving end of such a blow.
As I said, I don’t have all the answers to the why, nor to I believe this is fair, but I do know that we are, whether we choose to believe it or not, born in the middle of an intense and unfair spiritual battle that we do not leave until we see that glorious other side of eternity. It plagues us, but we can overcome it by being the beautiful creation we were meant to be, by loving one another in life and in death, and by never ever giving our hope away.
Until Next Time,
Take care of your hearts and ears.
Listen With Your Heart