My mother was handed a death sentence yesterday. She got the losing ticket in the cancer lottery: Carcinosarcoma. It’s a cancer so rare that Microsoft doesn’t even recognize it as a word in spell check. It is aggressive and non responsive to treatment. It has already attacked her kidneys, uterus, and has moved to her lymph nodes.
Early diagnosis would have certainly been a better option but my parents don’t have health insurance nor do they have money and so like millions of other Americans there are no annual physicals or exams that would have caught this early. We live in a great country but our healthcare system is damnable to be sure. The folks like myself who are lucky enough to have insurance have access to some of the finest healthcare in the world. But the unlucky ones like my own mom are SOL.
It’s quite probable that she has had this for years. Which allowed it to slowly, systematically and aggressively take over. It is inoperable and worse they’ve given us a prognosis that Chemo is at best going through the motions in that it will shrink the cancer by a small portion. The philosophical question of how much suffering is worth a couple more months on earth.
I would love to have one of those really huge miracles that I’ve heard about on TV but never seen. I can see how people get desperate enough to drive across the country to a “healing crusade”. Most of whom go away empty handed. I’m looking very diligently to find God in this moment. To find what He is doing, and where He is moving. If He has a miracle up His sleeve; now would certainly be a good time.
From the inside of a prison cell, Paul wrote the book of Philippians. From the dank, dark, human rights violating basement of a Roman prison he wrote some of the scriptures that you and I quote and lean most heavily on.
At a moment when I personally would have asked to be put on the prayer list to get the heck out of prison Paul said his prayer was not for himself, but instead for the people of Philippi. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” In taking Paul’s lead, I’m praying that for you.
I’m not very good at this, and to be clear, I’m struggling to find God in this. Perhaps this is the kind of thing where I’ll find Him in hindsight. Watching my mother look her own father and mother in the eyes with their own failing health knowing that she will likely beat them to heaven has been just plain difficult.
Paul also wrote to the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always. I am not rejoicing in cancer. It’s not happy. How can I rejoice in the Lord and grieve for my mother? I’m not sure yet. Perhaps that’s where faith comes in. Perhaps I have some growing to do.
And as much frustration as I feel right now. As many questions as I am facing about God and His intentions, deep down I know it’s not true. I know that He is good.
I certainly don’t understand. I know that it’s the enemy that comes to kill, steal and destroy. But whether God allows it or causes it; right now it feels like the same thing.
But Paul closed out his letter to Philippians with a prayer to that there is a peace that transcends understanding that could be theirs. He is promising that there is a peace that doesn’t come FROM understanding. Rather it transcends understanding. I don’t have to understand to have this peace.
I don’t know how to face my mom, how to look her in the eye and be strong for her. And to that Paul said that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And so my prayer is Phl 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philip Peters and Jeremy Hezlep will be carrying the torch for Conduit on Monday night. I know Philip has some great stuff from the Word to share with you and that worship will be great as well. I won’t be there, but if you don’t mind, say a prayer for me.
I really do want my mom healed. God knows this. I’ve asked Him personally. But should He choose another option; then I’ll find peace. So maybe your prayer is that God can be glorified, that we can be a witness here at this hospital. That what the enemy has meant for harm, that God will use for good. And just like Jesus prayed in the garden, that if this cup could pass from us, then please take it away. Nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done.
My mom keeps asking if there is hope. There is. His name is Jesus.