Russ thoughts
Cancer and God’s Love

Some words don’t look right together on the page: “Cancer and God’s love” is such a combination. Two realities that seem incompatible. I read once that it is risky to write about a situation while one is going through it. Probably sage advice, but at the risk of having to change some of these lines later, I’ll push forward. Perhaps something here will minister to someone out in in the Blog-o-sphere.

Its no secret that Denise and I have spent the last 7 months walking through her bout with breast cancer. Some of our best friends are experiencing similar challenging days. Can I say this about cancer treatment: its not fun. Cancer is a life changer. Physically, relationally, financially, socially, spiritually, it changes things. And some people struggle with the inevitable question: If God loves you, why did He allow cancer into your life? Why no supernatural healing? Why no big “check in the mail”? 

Hard questions. I would not want to speak for anyone else’s experiences, but I have discovered something. Something comforting. Something that I could only have discovered thorough this kind of . Here it is in a nutshell.

I have been preaching through the Bible book of 1 John. In it John writes the statement: ”God is Love.” And at first blush, someone might say, “yeah, some kind of love. The kind of love that allows cancer. no thanks.” But here’s the thing. We have to look deeper. Like gold, some truths have to be dug up! The Greek word translated into English ”love”, is agape. It one of four different Greek words that English renders simply, “love”. Agape means unconditional, sacrificial, selfless love. Its the kind of love God demonstrated toward us when he allowed His Son Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross for our sin. It’s the kind of love in short supply. The kind of love that we humans find very difficult, and many never experience. 

Cancer teaches us about agape love. Cancer allows us to experience first hand what agape love is. What it means to serve, to give, to receive and minister without any other motive than love. I have experienced Gods agape love every time someone brings over a hot meal. Every time someone helps out around the house, and when friends speak words of encouragement and care. I have learned what it means to put others first, to care when tired or discouraged. I have learned first hand that love is a commitment and that love grows deeper and richer the time passes by. 

Yep, even in cancer, Gods love is in operation. I guess it all depends on where one chooses to look. I choose to look for Gods loving hand. And I’ve found it. 


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