We just got the news that another friend and coworker has gone into hospice care. I say another because just two days ago another friend we’ve been following closely slipped away to Jesus in her sleep.
These two events strike close to my heart because they both started their fight with cancer about the time I did ten years ago. Since then, they’ve had good times and bad, up times and down. They’ve both gone through extensive and sometimes severe treatments, and yet they’ve lost their battles with cancer. Another friend who started dealing with her cancer back when I did already died a couple of years ago, and her husband has remarried.
Lots of people when they are struck with diseases and prognoses like this are prone to ask Why? Why did it happen to me? My question these days is on the other side of that coin—why have they had to struggle so long, only to succumb in the end, yet I have had no further trouble since I underwent treatment? This month marks the tenth anniversary of my diagnosis. I had surgery and radiation but didn't have to go through chemo (something for which I become more grateful with each passing year).
I know God has His purposes and perfect plan for each of us. I can truthfully say I’m not questioning His will, but I do have to put down occasional twinges of guilt that I’m doing so well. I read an interesting truth recently. People talk a lot these days about being “cancer survivors,” but one lady pointed out that you will never know for sure if you are a cancer survivor until you die of something else.
The lady who made that statement in a secular magazine did not sound to me like a person of faith. I could be wrong, and—faith or no faith—what she said is true. But my perspective is a bit different. It doesn't matter whether I turn out to be a cancer survivor or not. I want every day God gives me life to count for Him—whether I have to fight cancer again or not.
My very personal perspective is that anyone who has had cancer shouldn't be squeamish about their age. Every added year is a gift. I don't mind folks knowing that I will be 74 this year. That will make me just two years younger than my mother was when she died. I still have lots of things I want to accomplish in my life, but God will have the last word on all that, and that’s just fine with me. My confidence that He never makes any mistakes is as strong as ever—even though Helen has to go on hospice care.
In our Sunday school class we just worked out a schedule to help supplement hospice care for one of our own members. Seems like I keep being reminded that cancer could come back. If it does, I know God will be just as much with me as He was the first time, no matter the outcome—and just as He will be with Helen in the days ahead.