I Have What?!
Just a routine test, one of thousands over the years. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but bad news is never something I’ve relished. Hadn’t the doctors been doing all these tests because I had a chance of developing cancer in my liver? Well, at age 63 I was beginning to think I had beat the odds.
I was born with a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis. It’s an iron overloading disease, that undetected and untreated kills most men by age 50. Excess iron build up destroys the tissue of all the major organs, especially the liver. I was diagnosed at age 28 and followed all of the doctors orders. How could this happen now?
Life has been a blessing for me and I enjoy life with my wife Judy. For the first time in my life I have enough money to do those extra things that make life special. We have been able to have horses and enjoy many fun things together. Although as a pastor I have never really considered retirement, but we were getting to that point where we could sneak away as we wanted and do a bit of traveling. Ah, the good life! How could this happen now?
Had I missed the Lord’s voice and taken a wrong turn? How would this effect the faith of my congregation? Would I set a good example of how a Christian bears trials for God’s sake? What lessons would come out of this that I might pass on? What if this ends in a painful agonizing death? Will I be up to the challenge or make a fool of myself? Do I really want people gathered around my death bed waiting for that last breath like I have done with so many over the years? NO! I’ll tell Judy to lock the door and just send word to the church when I’m dead. Hold it! Wait a minute! This isn’t living the abundant life! How could one stupid test end the joy I had a few minutes ago as I walked in the Spirit with my Lord and Savior Jesus? The truth………….. it didn’t.
When I got the word that I had liver cancer I started thinking about my death, not my life. I started dieing rather than continuing to live. Nothing had really changed. I started dieing the moment I started living. Everything is in some state of decay because sin has ruined God’s creation and brought death where God only intended life. But…………. I was brought from death to life when Jesus gave me the gift of eternal life and I was born again, never to die. So why did I feel like I was going to die?
I felt like I was going to die because I was. My mortal body has not yet put on immortality, but thanks be to God it will. 1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
For more than 30 years I have taught Christians how to live well, but I have never taught one how to die well. What a shame. Let me correct the oversight right now………
For the child of God, saved by the blood of Jesus and brought into eternal life, dieing is part of the abundant life! What I’m learning about dieing is that I need to be “Faithful In The Meantime.”
Everything I have ever taught about living applies to dieing also. I continue to love God with all of my mind, heart and strength. I continue to not lean to my own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all my ways and He will make my path straight. I continue to take the Gospel to all men. I continue to love and serve.I simply Live With My Cancer.
Now here is a great New Insight I have gained in the midst of this adventure of having cancer……
People listen to me now that wouldn’t listen before!
This is true even of the church that I pastor. I’ve noticed some that just seemed to be attending who are now really paying attention. Maybe their waiting for me to explode or something weird. The truth is, they are uncomfortable. Praise God! 30 years of trying to get people out of their comfort zones and all I had to do was get cancer.
The most common question on my mind lately is, “ What’s next?”
Do you have a story to share about your experience with Living With Cancer as a patient our family member? Please share for all of our sakes.
May God Bless You Greatly!