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December 29, 2009 / beidson

Will It Take Cancer To Cure Me? Reflections On My Own Depravity and Rebellion

I wish I thought I had cancer.  Let me explain.  I do not wish I had cancer–that would be ridiculous, even sinful.  But sometimes I wish I thought I had it, that is, I wish I looked at life the way a person does when they have cancer–like they don’t have long to live, and like every moment matters, and like I need to spend my dying days doing good, forgiving and being forgiven.

But why don’t I have this perspective anyway, because the truth is that I am dying and my life is short.  I’m always shocked to hear about well-known people who develop cancer, as if I really believe that people are supposed to live forever.  I imagine what it would be like to hear the doctor tell me those words, “You have cancer, and it is killing you.”  I think that somehow I would do things differently, get my priorities in line, tie up loose ends and go out like a burning star.  But I’m not so sure that I would.  Maybe I would stay the same.  And that is probably the worst thing that could ever happen, even worse than dying from cancer.

God has given us boundaries in our bodies–we live by his power, we die according to his mysterious will.  Our time is very short.  We are all dying.  We all have a sentence of death upon our bodies.  And yet, we love to pretend we are immortal, and to fantasize about living forever.  We do this and that with little regard for threat of death which awaits us.  This is foolish.  This is rebellion.  We ought instead to realize we are dying, and live accordingly.

I ask God daily to give me a heart to know my brevity, to give me a mind that understands how small I really am.  I also ask God to save me from cancer, if he would.  But I do pray he would help me to think like one who has cancer, and cure me of my delusions of immortality.  He will raise me up one day, but until then, I am going down into the grave more and more each day.  In a strange way, this knowledge of death has become a source of new life for me, by God’s grace.

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