I have cancer. I never would have thought those words would spring from my fingertips onto a page. That simple word…cancer…it conveys fear, doubt, helplessness, and loss.
I have Christ. Oh how the power of that name clings so closely to my heart. That wonderful name…Jesus.. He is our hope, peace, joy, and comfort. And he is the God over all things, including cancer, and his purpose for it is glorious.
On October 24, 2013 I went out to my office, got on my knees, and with everything in my heart I cried out to the Lord, “Lord, grow my faith.” The Lord had been revealing areas where I had more faith in myself and others than in Him. I asked for the Lord to reveal areas of sin I had not seen as well as to transform me into a man with Christlike faith. My passion was to grow in an authentic walk with Christ as opposed to living in spiritual “cruise control.”
The next day I became sick. For months I was told it was bronchitis but as time went by pain and fatigue began to increase. Finally, on February 10 I felt so much pain in my chest the doctors ordered a CT scan. Two days later I got the call. Lymphoma. I had heard the word in passing but had no understanding what it was. All I knew was I had cancer.
I looked at my girls, Jane 6 and Brooke 4, and my wife Daisy who is 7 months pregnant and a wave of fear came over me. It felt as though I had moments before death would snatch me. Questions and doubt rattled in my mind and fear was pounding on the door of my heart and screaming, “your world is falling apart!” But the truth was, Jesus was answering my prayer. He began the life-changing process of growing my faith.
For the past 10 years I have been a pastor, and countless times I have preached we need to give “everything” and “all” for the sake of Christ. My go to verse was Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” But I found myself not wanting to deny something. My family.
To love my wife as Christ loves the church, to raise my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and to meet our unborn child and to be the first to tell them of the glories of Christ. To be honest, it was overwhelming and waves of emotion came crashing from all sides. My Brooke would say “I love you daddy” and I would fall apart. I would see my wife with her pregnant belly and fall to my knees. But I am a Christian and a pastor right? Shouldn’t I have it all figured out? Again, the Lord was answering my prayers. He was growing my faith.
On the day of my biopsy they wheeled me down the hall and began prepping me for the exam. For about 20 minutes I laid on a gurney with tubes in my nose and needles in my arms waiting, and I began to pray. I confessed to the Lord how I did not want to surrender my family for I wanted to serve him by serving them. And then His peace fell upon me.
His Grip is greater than mine. His hold of my wife and my family is tighter, more faithful, more leading and more protective than mine could ever be. With moments to go, i simply prayed, “they are yours.” It was one of the single hardest prayers to pray. With question as to what the biopsy would reveal and the fear of death looming over me, God was answering my prayer. For he was teaching me what it was to authentically trust in the Him alone. Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
Cancer brings the Psalms into technicolor. Psalm 88:1-2 “O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!” Psalm 61:1-2 “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,”
As the week pressed on the results started coming in. The primary mass in my chest was 13 cm by 10 cm, the cancer had not spread to my abdomen, and I would need chemotherapy and radiation. In addition more tests would be needed for more answers. Visits to the oncologist, hospitals, bone marrow biopsy’s, PET scans and the like flooded in. And now we wait.
I’m learning that waiting on the Lord is a battle of fear and trust. Fear crippled me, but trust gives us His strength. Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Tomorrow, March 3, we will get the final diagnosis that will affect our life. We have cried out to the Lord specifically for Hodgkin’s lymphoma that is treatable and curable and that the additional tests revealed no more cancer.
I have cried out to the Lord that he would preserve my life so that I might serve Him, my family, and His church. So that I would take what he has taught me and will teach me and RUN with it.
That is why I wanted to call this blog “Holding True. Holding Fast” Phil. 3:16 says ” Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” In our walk with Christ, he sanctifies us through the truth of His word. He gives us wisdom that changes us and seasons where there is nothing we can do but cling to him. We must hold true to those things. To keep them clenched to the chest. To remember his promises and to bask in the radiance of who He is.
In Rev. 2:25 Jesus says, “Only hold fast what you have until I come.” Jesus is coming back. May we hold fast to He and His truth in every season. Whether it be the loss of a job, persecution, personal blessing, or cancer, we must hold true and fast to Jesus, for when we do, it produces mountains of glory for our Lord and Savior. And when he returns, may he find us hungering and thirsting for him.
As we walk through this journey, I have purposed to chronicle these lessons the Lord is teaching my family and I. Psalm 96:2 says “Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” I pray earnestly for the deliverance from cancer into a deeper faith in Christ. And may the road he has called my family and I to walk be a blessing to you.
Thank you all for your prayers and love for our family. We covet them and know He hears them, for he is faithful. 1 Thess. 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”