Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cancer and God

I just found out that another family I love is dealing with cancer.  
For those of you who don't know me in real life, I have spent most of my adult life being an advisor to young people at church.  I am a  Presbyterian flavored Christian.  I worked as a youth director before I got married to my youth director husband.  I relished the move to volunteer status, or in theological matters, maybe I should say amateur status.  Because I have worked for churches, some people think I have answers, BIG answers to BIG questions.  I don't. 
I struggle with things I don't understand.  I don't get the pain and suffering in our world when I believe in such a benevolent God.  Cancer is at the top of the list of things I don't understand.  Cancer doesn't discriminate.  All races, genders and ages are affected.  The best I can do goes like this.  There are things in our world that are just not of God.  I do not believe that God chooses who gets cancer.  I do not believe that God punishes, or my very favorite, tries to teach someone by giving them cancer.  I do not believe (with all love and respect to Mother Teresa) that certain people or families get cancer because God knows they "can handle it".  Cancer is one of those unknowns in our lives that we are not going to understand.  We aren't going to know why or how. 
I do believe that God's heart breaks right along with ours when we are suffering.  I believe that God is there, sometimes when no one else is.  I believe that God works through amazing and often unexpected people to help and comfort us.  I believe that no matter how mad we get at God, God still loves us with a love that is beyond comprehension.
I wish that I could end here.  There is one more question that I have to address any time I think about God and cancer.  Why do some people get better and some don't?  I wish I knew the answer to this question.  The medical answer is it depends on what kind of cancer, how far it has spread, and frankly, how much time and money have been spent on that particular cancer.  The best faith-based answer I know of right now comes from the mother of a little girl dying of cancer.  You can find it here, but I will warn you, don't click on it unless you are ok with crying.  
So no, I don't have answers.  I know what I believe and I have to close this post with a plea and a promise.  My plea today, if you are given the opportunity to support efforts to cure cancer, please do so however you are able, whether it is with your time or your money.  My promise today and every day is that God is with us in all of this.  I hope you feel God's incredible presence in your life, no matter where or what you are experiencing. 


Chele said...

Wow. It is so hard when it comes to cancer. It's hard to not question God why... I know that from experience. I completely agree, however we can we need to support cures for cancer! Amen! I will keep you in my prayers.

Karen said...

Having lost so many of my family members and my mother-in-law before she was my mother-in-law I completely understand. We are still wondering why God asked for my mother-in-law at such a young age. We just keep thinking to ourselves that he had a big plan for her, but I know she is comes around when I think of her and I just smile. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers too Amy.