In an email yesterday, a friend of mine made a comment about the fact that my cancer diagnosis has made me more dependent upon God rather than made me mad at God. I'm glad she brought up the subject because it has given me pause to collect my thoughts on that matter; and I am "answering" her in this blog post.
From the moment I was told I had metastatic lung cancer, it is true, I have never been mad at God. I have felt broken, profoundly sad, and devastated, but I have never been angry with God. How can I be angry at my Creator when He didn't cause the cancer?
I think there are many different theological paradigms that one might consider in times of trial/crisis/tragedy. Mine is quite simple, actually. I know that God NEVER causes His children pain or suffering of any sort, and I believe that there are sound reasons why He does not prevent those trials from happening.
A father does not inflict pain upon his children. Our Heavenly Father is incapable of hurting us. His character is defined by love and grace and mercy and undeserved forgiveness. He loves us infinitely more than we can ever imagine. Suffering is not of God. Never. So to be mad at God for something he loathes right along with us is absurd. God is deeply moved by our pain, as any father would be. He despises satan for the broken world we now live in. So what I know to be true is that the God I love and serve HATES this cancer inside of me and is grieved that I have felt this pain.
Which leads to the next question......so why, if God loves me so much, didn't He prevent this from happening when He has the power to do so? Again, my understanding and my belief is this: God has 2 reasons why he does not prevent a trial.
One, God sees that the trial is exactly where He wants us to "be" to fulfill His purposes. Or two, God has every intention of bringing us through the trial, once we have learned the life lessons that He has laid out for us on the table of suffering.
In my case, then, 1) God did not prevent my cancer because my purpose in this earthly life has been completed, and the days ordained for me have come to an end. OR, (and this is what I have unwavering faith in) 2) God has every intention of healing me of cancer once I have learned what He wants me to learn from this trial.
I have already begun to plumb the depths of what God has hidden for me in the dark cavern of cancer. I already have seen profound changes in myself regarding sensitivity and concern for others, life goals, exponentially-increased levels of devotion to and love for my husband and son and entire family, forgiveness, persistent prayer and Bible study, patience, what is really important in life, the empty nest, what friendships are authentic and which aren't, and gratitude for the magic of an ordinary day. It is staggering to realize how many of these life-lessons lie in the throes of suffering. Life will never be the same, nor would I want it to be. There have been far too many changes in my heart and soul that are positive for me to want to wish this trial away.
Do I wish I did not have cancer? Yes. But do I appreciate all that it is pouring into my life from God's hand because of cancer? Oh, yes.
And so I wake each morning, not angry at my Savior, but praising Him for another day, for awakening my ears and eyes and heart and soul to truths He wants me to learn, and for keeping me on the path to find every treasure, every jewel He has hidden for me in the darkness.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab 3:17-18