One of my egg customers invited me into a small prayer group when our daughter was diagnosed. The prayer group recently shared that a friend’s father had been diagnosed with cancer. I’m sure you, someone you love or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer. And I’m equally certain you are acutely aware of the deep anxiety that accompanies diagnosis.
I took a moment to write out some encouragement for the friend. This slightly edited version may serve to encourage you as well.
My name is Chris Jordan. My daughter has a rare form of cancer but an excellent prognosis. We spend a lot of time in Children’s hospital and meet a large number of children and families. We seek to counsel and comfort them as we also seek counsel and comfort. In part, this is because the apostle Paul didn’t ask God why he was in prison. He asked God what he should do while he was in prison. Then he went to work.
I don’t know why my beautiful daughter has cancer. That’s really none of my business. I have seen a lot of children and whole families in pain in Children’s. It is tempting for me to ask God “Why?” But that is not what I need to do.
I don’t need to seek answers. I need to seek closeness with God.
And I am not alone in this need.
So I go out of my way to introduce myself to parents I run into. My daughter takes her dance partner (her IV stand) with her to deliver cards to other kids on the floor and invites them to play video games with her. We seek out opportunities in the elevator and hallway to pray for or pray with desperate parents or just to listen to them talk. And sometimes we all really, really need to talk.
Listen, I know how you feel. I know what you are going through. And I want to encourage you, as I encourage other families I meet, not to ask God “Why?” It doesn’t matter why. Asking Why makes you a victim. You are not a victim. You are a treasure and were created for a purpose. It only matters what you do. And what you need to do is pray. Ask.
Jesus didn’t walk around randomly healing the blind. In Matthew 20:32-33 Jesus waited for the blind men to ask. In Matthew 9:20 the woman reached out to touch Jesus. She had to reach out! In Matthew 8:8 the centurion asked Jesus for a simple word.
God is infinitely larger than your largest problem. Do you believe that? But you have to ask, just as Moses had to hold his arms out and the widow had to pour the oil. We have to ask. We have to pray. We have to draw close to the Lord and, I strongly suggest, PRAISE HIM for our time of need…a time that reminds us to seek Him out. A time that reminds us to seek his strength and remember that the angel of the lord encamps around and delivers us! Great is the Lord and Greatly to be Praised! Even if, like David, we don’t always feel it and we have to give ourselves a pep talk. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul! And all that is within me praise his holy name!
Please don’t waste your time seeking answers. Desperate times call for desperate measures. There is no more desperate act than praying hard. (This is a note I made in my prayer journal as I was recently reading The Circle Maker.)
One more thing. In Genesis 1:3 God spoke light into a dark place. I have been to dark places. In fact, I have been to dark places trying to balance my daughter’s illness, my job, my marriage, my farm…The light of the word of God brought me back to the path. Lean on the word of God now.
Feel free to reach out to us anytime.
Now let’s be real. We are friends here, you and I. Let me be completely honest with you. I wrote that for myself as much as for anyone else.
On Friday I was talking with my boss and discussing the issues I was facing that day. I needed to replace a mission-critical server and my daughter needed a blood transfusion. When discussing the issue with the server I was pacing, moving my hands excitedly and clearly expressing my anxiety. But when discussing my daughter I was sitting calmly on a chair and speaking matter-of-factly. My boss pointed this out to me. He was concerned that I was worked up about the wrong thing.
Do you know how much time I have spent praying about that server? Very little.
Do you know how much time I have spent praying about my daughter?
Heck, I have hundreds, if not, thousands of people praying for my daughter. I kinda think that’s covered. But the server is unprotected. So I got a little worked up on Friday.
Yes, I am extremely concerned about my little girl but somehow, it is different. Most of the time.
Most of the time.
But some of the time? Well, I think it is understandable that some of the time I go to pieces. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I wonder why my little girl got sick. Sometimes I worry about her future. She will be screened for cancer at regular intervals for the rest of her life. Why? Because there is a good chance this cancer will return or another cancer will appear. Or she will suffer side-effects of the drugs used to beat her cancer…like heart failure. What will her medical expenses be in 10 years?
Do you see how easy it is? We are facing real problems. But it is all a lie.
I can’t live my life in fear and anxiety. I can’t love my daughter that way. Even without cancer there is no guarantee that she will live to be 50. My job is to love and guide her. And I can’t love and guide her in the present if I’m crying about a tomorrow that hasn’t come yet…and may never arrive.
The server issue at work is resolved. No big deal. You make this thing point to that thing and do some stuff so the servers know and trust each other…blah, blah, blah. What is the worst that could happen if server replacement failed? I would probably have to put in a couple of long days. Would I lose my job? Probably not. But there are worse things than losing my job.
But I wasted a lot of emotional energy on that issue.
I have wasted a lot of emotional energy worrying about my daughter too.
So I have to remind myself. I was created for a purpose. I am not an accident. I am a treasure. I have a Father in heaven who loves me…who wants to bless me. And I need to bless Him. Bless the Lord! O my soul! Especially if I don’t feel like it today.