Sunday, October 4, 2015

Living With Cancer (Part 2)

Here's the next installment from James. If you missed the first post, you can catch up here. I hope to post the next one later on this week. As a reminder, you can sign up to receive all blog postings from us via your email. Check out the sidebar on the right. 

We are serving a real and living God.  As 1 Corinthians 10: 13 says, “…And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted [the Greek also means “tested “] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” During this whole journey, Scripture has been my greatest if not my only source of hope, guidance, comfort, encouragement, joy, etc.

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction that your promise gives me life (Psalm 119:49-50)

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. (Psalm 119:92-93)

I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad (Psalm 119:96).

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

Scripture’s promises and God’s peace has been so real and great to us, from the day we received the diagnosis up until now, neither my wife nor I ever lost one night of sleep or missed one meal because of stress.

As a matter of fact, while my cancer was at stage 3B, as desperately as I want to be cancer free, I also had boldness to pray to God to take me to stage 4. I prayed to God, if it brings Him greater glory, if it is good for my soul, to allow it – of course under the condition that he would spare my life.

For patients and doctors between stage three and stage four of cancer there are magnificent differences. At stage three I have a greater percentage of survival. At stage four, it is totally different. When you search the internet, almost without exception all doctors would say stage 4 is incurable. Because by stage four, the cancer has metastasized and is systemic to the whole body.

As long as doctors have hope, patients will have hope too, the hope of human hands. If I was cured from stage three, in the future I will always have room to question if it is really God who healed me. Now, if I am cured, I can say that it was truly God who healed me and willed me to live. To God, if he chooses to let me to live in the land of the living, percentage of survival means nothing. Stage three and four means nothing, 0.00001% is more than enough to let me remain alive.

I want God to convince me, not just theologically, but whole heatedly, that there are no other gods except Him, and He is my only Hope. The reason I am praying so is because I want to renew my spiritual life, strengthen it.
I have been a Christian since March 3, 2000. In fifteen years of walking with God, I have had some great years of growing spiritually. My life compared with before I know the Lord to now is totally unrecognizable. God has certainly changed my world upside down. In Chinese culture, to be a religious leader is never something you would take pride in, unless you can have tremendous earthly gain from it. People view religious leaders as the leader of the elderly, the weak, the fool, the uneducated. And the fact I am willing to serve the Lord among unbelieving people with this title is a proof of God’s work in me. However, my faith journey plateaus a lot, which often frustrates me, wears me out, and bothers me deeply.

As every follower of Christ, we all want to change and grow. We are eager to live a life that is pleasing and honoring God. But quite often we find out that we are powerless to change, and don’t know how to change. We would certainly have no guts to pray to God that He would use some harsh situation like cancer to change us. Instead we pray as hard as we can to stay away from it. Now whether I am willing or not, I am in. To suffer cancer is a harsh, miserable, extremely painful thing. If the Lord allows it to happen to us, it’s God’s will. I want to be benefit from this trial maximally instead of just going through. I do not want to like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bits and bridle, or it will not stay near you (Psalm 32:9). I pray that God will spare my life, and I pray that He would use this time of suffering to allow me to follow after Him with my whole heart.

All good things come from above. I have been deeply grateful to the Lord for giving me peace to pray to experience stage four of cancer. God has been greatly honored and has blessed this prayer. 

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