Cancer. Bad word. Hard word. Hard to live with, harder to die with. Most families experience it. Ours is no exception.
My Grandmother Strickland died of cancer. I was a little girl.
Daddy’s prostate cancer was discovered when he retired from the Navy. I was 16. They got it in time. He lived another 40 plus years and was buried in the same uniform. I can’t even fit in a 10 year old dress!
Recently I knocked on neighbors’ doors collecting for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A few years ago I couldn’t even spell it. Then my nephew, Brian Tippett, a young father of 3, sat in his doctor’s office.
When the doctor said it was lymphoma, he turned to his wife, Kimberly, “I have cancer. Say it, Kimberly.” She couldn’t. Not yet. He met it head on, like he does everything, and beat it. Twice.
Last year our family was plowed over by the C Train again. Both my brothers were diagnosed with prostate cancer, just months apart. Brian's dad, Bert, seven years older than I, is facing terminal cancer. My younger brother, Ricky, was diagnosed in time to remove it, before it spread. Bert saved Ricky’s life.
I began this blog to tell stories. But some stories can best be told by the ones who live them. So in my next blogs Bert and Ricky will tell you theirs.
Why do bad things happen to good people? God only knows. Why do good things happen to bad people? God’s grace. But we seldom question that flip side of life.
Job suffered and summarized it, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Paul suffered something like a spike driven through his body. He asked for relief three times but was not cured. He was told, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Grace can be hard too. When Paul accepted the big picture, he said, "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties." [Whew!] " For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Now that's hard...hard grace to understand, harder to live! Yet real.
Whether by death or Christ's return, believers know that heaven is their final destination. It's a win-win ticket!
That famous theologian, Erma Bombeck, said before her death, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything You gave me.'"
Recently we sang another old spiritual (video below) that uses a chariot analogy to remind us heaven.
Ride That Chariot (Doug, Kathy, Vickie Morrison & Tommy Graham):