If everyone had cancer

…the world would be a beautiful place. It would be full of people who really understood one another. People sharing the same priorities. People talking about what matters (and leaving room for laughter that’s just plain good for the soul). People believing in and seeing the power of prayer. People forced to answer the question, “What do you believe about God?”

Here’s the reality: we all do have cancer. Physical cancer is a disease where abnormal cells begin to divide. It’s a division, or breaking down, of a part of the body. Isn’t everything that pains us produced by some sort of division? A broken heart. Divorce. The loss of a loved one. Emotions acting out of turn. The body neglecting its designed function. The heart pushing away from God’s presence…

We are a world divided, and because of this, we are alike. Some of our cancers are emotional, others physical, others relational. But we all have cancer.

To a small extent, I know what bodily cancer is like. But I don’t know what the cancer of divorce is like. Or the cancer of losing a loved one. Or the cancer of depression. Or the cancer of abuse. Or the cancer of disabilities. Or the cancer of heartache. Or the cancer of loneliness. I can’t offer much advice for those. But for all our cancers, I know that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

During my cancer, these are the things I repeat to myself over and over and over every day. Maybe you can repeat them to yourself during your own cancer too, whatever it may be. Some are directly from Scripture, others from songs or quotes, and some are just truths I’ve learned about God’s character and the way He works. They are not overly profound or new—some are even cliche—but they are reminders that help me keep this crazy life in perspective. In no particular order, here are a few:

  1. “He’s never failed, and He won’t start now.” -Hillsong
  2. For years you’ve prayed for intimacy with Christ. Suffering forces us to cling to Him. Embrace this answered prayer.
  3. Jesus sacrificed His body for imperfect humans. It is the least you can do to offer your body to bring glory to a perfect God. (P.S. The mind is a part of the body too!)
  4. Look for the miracles that are all around. He is working.
  5. If even one soul is saved for eternity through this, it is worth it. A redeemed life is everything.
  6. He has prepared you for this. He does everything at just the right time.
  7. If everyone declared his or her faith through suffering, the world would be utterly transformed.
  8. In this trial, God has handed you a megaphone and said, “What will you say through this?”
  9. “I need Thee every hour” is real.
  10. Take it one day at a time.
  11. Trusting God is not a giddy feeling, it is a choice. I choose it today.
  12. Each of your worries can be traced back to a fear or a lack of trust in the Lord, both of which God promises to carry for you if you give them to Him.
  13. He has shown you His purposes in this, though He didn’t have to. He is worthy of praise.
  14. You are a soul, not a body.
  15. He created the universe and loves it still. He deserves every ounce of glory, every day, no matter what.
  16. Trials purify. He desires us to be holy, not comfortable.
  17. This cancer is a tool in His hands that He will use for good. It did not take Him by surprise.
  18. God wants people to be saved through Him. He will work through us if we are willing.
  19. Remember Noah, Hagar, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, David, Job, Esther, Jonah, Mary, the blind, the lame, the deaf, the leper, Peter, Paul, Martin Luther, John Wesley, C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Corrie Ten Boom, Joni Eareckson Tada, Nick Vujicic……they have felt what you feel and so much more. Look what God did.
  20. In this, you grow in compassion, empathy, and understanding for others.
  21. How am I striving to write, do, say, or pray something that furthers the kingdom of God today? Not overall in my life and not this week, but today.
  22. “Beloved, how can you complain when you see how infinitely greater was the grief and how much more painful the anxiety endured by your beloved Lord and faithful Savior, the Son of God Himself, who yet bore all patiently and submissively and, more than that, prayed for those instrumental in causing that agony? …Less reason have you to be angry and reproachful from the fact that you, too, were one whose sins brought Christ to the cross.” -Martin Luther

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