This morning I spent some time reading the thoughts of a doctor who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Dr Chen is a Professor of Medicine at University of Colorado in Denver and Director of Endoscopy at University of Colorado Hospital. I often wonder how a doctor might respond to one of life’s most feared diseases and especially so if he or she is also a believer in Christ. How does he reconcile the reality of a terminal illness with a good and sovereign God who goes about “healing all” as the Bible tells us. Does he believe God still heals today? What would he say about health and wholeness in the Holy Communion; that healing was purchased for us through the cross? How does a person of medical and scientific background live out his faith when faced with the undeniable facts about his illness? Does he think that all this “faith talk” is just wishful thinking, a way by which we console ourselves or did he indeed find a very real hope, more real then what the test results showed, in the God who promises to walk through fire with us? Is it more difficult for someone who had been trained to make conclusions and decisions based on observable evidences to continue to trust in a God who can’t be proved?

“For many years, “In Me We Trust” was the motto engraved on the coin of my realm.
We all like to think that we are in charge of our own destiny. And if everything appears to be going our way, for a time we can be lulled into thinking that we are in control; that we can actually manipulate the circumstances and details of our daily lives and determine our own future.
But when something earthshaking like cancer strikes, we suddenly realize that we are really not in control of our lives! 
As long as we can take in another breath, it is not too late to examine the basis of our faith, or to evaluate the trustworthiness of the object of our faith.
A number of years ago, I slowly began to recognize the bankruptcy of self-reliance and the fallacy of self-sufficiency.  Although I still have long way to go in this journey of faith, I have since learned to put my faith in the only Person in life who is truly worthy of our trust. He is the same yesterday, today, and yes, forever (Hebrews 13:8).
And when the storms of life “pulls the rug out” from under me, I have discovered that I am shipwrecked on God’s omnipotence and stranded in His love.”

Last Friday I attended an EQ workshop organized by my company and a question was presented to us; “Is happiness something determined by your externals (circumstances) or is it something you decide for yourself?” Dr Chen demonstrated that it is possible to live a meaningful life with hope, joy and peace even when you know you have less than 18 months to live. In his own words,

“People keep warning me that in this journey with cancer there will be many ups and downs – “roller coaster” feelings of discouragement, anxiety, fear, abandonment, depression, and even anger. But this has not been the case at all!
I marvel at the strength, peace and comfort that I God has granted me. Except for the obvious physical discomfort and side effects of chemo, I sleep soundly at night. And my heart is at ease.
I realize that apart from God’s grace, I could very well be experiencing all of these negative human emotions. I rejoice that God has spared me and my family from these psychological detours.
I suppose some people might assume that I am still in denial!  But since I am fully assured of my spiritual destiny no matter what happens to me, and I am confident that God loves me and He is sovereign over every detail of my life, there really isn’t much left to fret about.”

I hope as you read his reflections, whether you’re a believer or not,  you will be ministered to as much as I have. This is by no means meant to judge those of us who are still struggling with “choose to be happy anyway”. I fully believe that God’s dealing with each person is unique and different and there is a time and season for everything.

 

rk

 

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