I was granted saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the Fall of 1997. Very early on in my new found walk with Christ I knew He was calling me to serve Him in the ministry within the context of the local church. I was 30 years old at the time. For three months I wrestled with Christ’s call. Literally every day I heard in my head over and over John 10:27.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
The moment I answered His call in the affirmative I no longer heard John 10:27 in my head. From that moment forward I knew that I needed to get serious with my reading, studying, understanding, and applying the Sacred Scripture to my life. It was not too long after that I learned about Moody Bible Institute and started making inquiries. I have shared all of that with you to lay the foundation for what I will now share with you.
One of the key doctrines that I struggled with as a new convert was the Sovereignty of God. Interestingly, a few months after I found comfort in the reality of God’s sovereignty over all of history, including the lives of His people, I was diagnosed with stage three Testicular Cancer that had spread into my abdomen and established six tumors. My diagnoses was in the middle to late December of 2000.
I did not accuse or become angry with or challenge God regarding my diagnoses.
For a brief moment I remember questioning God but then my understanding of His sovereignty and that nowhere in the Sacred Scripture are we promised to be kept from illnesses such as cancer kept me from becoming bitter or depressed. The one thing I did know for certain because Scripture teaches it is that as a child of God my chief end in life is to glorify God with my life.
“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” Isa. 43:7
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31
So, that was my singular prayer. I did not once pray for healing because Scripture could not tell me that was God’s will for me. So, I prayed that whatever the outcome that God would be glorified because that is something that I could pray for with confidence and scriptural support.
In Isaiah 50:1 – 3 we find Israel blaming God for the troubles she had brought upon herself. Israel had brought her exile upon herself yet she was charging God with abandonment/or an unwillingness to deliver her. The fact of the matter is that she brought her troubles upon herself because of her love affair with sin. God would have never, for no good reason, send Israel into exile.
However, because He is just and holy He must see justice served by punishing sin. Israel, not God, brought upon herself the troubles she was experiencing.
Sometimes when God’s people are faced with very serious and sometimes even life threatening sicknesses, like Israel so often did, they fall into the error of laying blame with God. The fact of the matter is that though God is sovereign and can if He so chooses prevent or even heal us from life threatening illnesses, we need to come to grips with reality. The reality that the reason in the first place we are faced with life threatening illnesses/or diagnoses is due to the fact that we live in a fallen world with fallen bodies touched by sin and death. And that is not due to anything God has done but rather it has everything to do with what our First Parents, Adam and Eve, did/or did not do in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3).
Though my cancer was a result/or consequence of sin, original sin that is, God did not give it to me because I had personally sinned in some way. The reason why we are faced with very serious illnesses sometimes is not because God is punishing us but rather because we live in a fallen world with fallen bodies. God, in His most wise counsel, may allow us to be faced/or challenged with scary diagnoses like stage three Testicular Cancer that called for 84 days/or 508 hours of a very strong Chemotherapy regimen. He may and sometimes does allow us to be faced with very scary illnesses but we can be certain of this one glorious reality – the reality being, God promises in Rom. 8:28 to work all things together, including cancer and Chemotherapy, with our best interest in mind. In that we can and should find comfort in the midst of the storms of life in this fallen world.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
To God be the glory!