Viewing Cancer with the Right Glasses

Smiling Girl with Glasses

When I was back in the States on furlough in 2012, I heard a question or phrase repeated in different places and at different times. The question or thought centered upon my cancer.

The question and phrases went something like these:

“Why would God allow you to get cancer? You’re on the mission field.”

“This should not have happened. You are a missionary. You’ve given everything to God. Heather, I confess, that your cancer has made me angry at God.”

“I don’t understand how this could have happened to you, of all people!”

I love my steadfast, loyal friends. It was because of their commitment to me and desire to identify with my challenge with cancer, that they cared for me, prayed for me, and encouraged me throughout my cancer journey. They were trying to make sense of this nonsensical situation in my life and attempt to understand the purposes of God.

I did the same thing.

Sometimes, we view our God through the spectacles of our circumstances. Our view of God is clouded or distorted by our physical ailments, emotional distress, or spiritual doubts.

Why do we define our God by our challenges?

Why do we judge our God by our hardships?

Why do we condemn our God because of our pain?

Chris Tiegreen challenged this thinking when he wrote, “Never in Scripture does God define Himself by the hardships of his people” (Experiencing God’s Presence).

It is true. I can tell you that instead of my cancer demonstrating my God’s indifference, my cancer revealed His love, power and healing. Don’t get me wrong. This cancer deal was not easy. It was a fight. It hurt. It turned my life upside-down for a time. Yet, in the center of it all, I found the love and peace of my God.

David did too. He wrote, “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul” (New International Version, Psalm 31:7).

God was moved by His steadfast, loyal love and compassion for his friend, David, to bring comfort, peace, and relief.

Difficult times reveal the Presence of God like no other.

Illness and Disease reveals a Healer.

Failure reveals an Advocate.

Insecurity reveals a Rock.

Desperation reveals a Shepherd.

Crisis reveals a Peace-Giver.

Brokenheartedness reveals an Abba Father.

Betrayal reveals a Shield.

Mistakes reveals a Grace.

Inadequacies reveal an all Sufficient God.

Weakness reveals a Strength.

Bondage reveals a Deliverer.

Loss reveals a Provider.

Death reveals a Hope and Redemption.

The spectacles we view our life with have the potential to see how very near our God is to us during our difficult times. Or they have the ability to cloud our view completely.

David was in the center of a tumultuous time. However, he did not allow the threats, the hardships, or the crisis of the times to prevent him from seeing and feeling the love of his God. He declared his commitment and faith. David’s heart rejoiced in the steadfast and merciful love of his God; despite his struggles. His spectacles of gladness and joy surveyed the caring, compassionate hand of God in his life. And in turn, God’s eyes saw David’s determination to remain true, despite his afflicted soul. God recognized and affirmed the heart of devotion that found Him in the life journey. And as David continued onwards, God’s comfort, joy, and peace remained steadfast companions.

For me, the question is not “Why did God allow me to have cancer?”

For me, the question is “How did cancer’s infiltration in my body help me see my God and trust Him even more with my life now and in the future?”

I want to wear spectacles of joy and gladness that recognize the loving Presence of my God whether my soul is lifted up in devotion or my soul is afflicted with pain. Because when I see Him, my hope and wonder in Him silences every fear, every worry and every grievance. Yes, I want to see life with spectacles of joy and wonder!

I want to wear the right glasses!

Do you?



Photo by Rich Johnson of Flickr

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