It was something no 30-year-old guy wants to hear: You have cancer.
In moments my future became cloudy. Would my girlfriend, whose father had died of cancer, leave me? Would I be able to have children after the surgery? Would it hurt? Would it spread to my lymph nodes and the rest of my body? How would I pay for five years of CT scans, chest X-rays, and blood tests?
The first day or so was an anxious time for me.
But soon an odd peace came over me. I’d even call it invigorating. I knew that the Lord was sovereign. I knew that He was good. And while my future was ambiguous to me, it wasn’t to my Savior. I was able for perhaps the first time to fully surrender my future plans to the Lord. Imagine what it might feel like for an actor who’d just been pulled from a humdrum role and been given an exhilarating, hot-off-the-presses, action/adventure script written just for him by a world-renown author. That’s what I felt. And it was my time to shine.
It’s been over 10 years since my bout with cancer and, speaking for myself (though others have also noted the opportunities cancer provides us Christians), I am grateful to have had that season under my belt. In addition to boosting my faith in the Lord and further developing my character, it has given me an “in” with others who might be going through something similar. It has built a bridge that enables me to engage with people I otherwise might not be able to connect with.
I was reminded of my season with cancer while reading an article Suzanne Hadley wrote a few years back, “Unexpected Callings.” I’m reminded of how God redeems difficult times, how He ultimately works all things for good. While I do not invite difficult times, I do know that the Lord is with me through them, and like some divine comedy has plans to use them to glorify Himself and bless others.