When my urologist called me early in the evening of Friday, September 28, 2012 I was not really expecting to hear that I have cancer. My family doctor ordered a PSA test for me back in July because I turned 50 in April. My PSA level was 8.7 so he had the test repeated in September. It was still 8.7. So off to the urologist I went. He did a biopsy of my prostate on the 26th of September. Of the 12 samples that he took, 4 came back showing cancer. I will readily admit that the news came as quite a shock. I thought that there had to some other, less serious reason for my high PSA. But such was not the case. The news led to a few tears and a bit of a fallen countenance as I let the news slowly sink in. As a Christian, I knew that I could neither wallow in self-pity nor lash out in anger at the Sovereign Lord who redeemed my soul from the pit. So I cried out to the Lord for mercy, grace, and the strength of the Holy Spirit.
As I write these words almost a month after being diagnosed with cancer, I can say without any fear of exaggeration that the Lord God Almighty answered my prayer. He took away my fear and to this point has kept me out of the pit of self-pity. I recognize that this cancer did not enter my body apart from God graciously allowing it to do so. In His kind and gracious providence, He has seen fit to bring this cancer into my life as a means of sanctifying me, making me fit for eternity as well as for His own glory. Now I realize that those last few sentences may seem like a rather strange view to some, but Job teaches us that we must bless and praise the Lord for the good as well as the bad that He sends into our lives. I believe very strongly and unhesitatingly in the absolute sovereignty of God. What that means to me is that God in fully in control of all things and at all times. That, after all, is really the only correct definition of sovereignty. I also believe that God providentially superintends all that comes to pass. In other words, there are no accidents or coincidences. Behind everything that comes to pass is the sovereign, kind, and loving hand of God. In addition, I am also firmly convinced that everything that happens to me as a Christian is a part of God’s work of sanctification in my life. He uses every situation and circumstance as a means of growing me to be more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Cancer is not an exception to this rule. God’s work of sanctification in my life includes cancer.
Now I do not claim to fully understand all of that and if you press me, I will admit that I would rather God’s work of sanctification not include cancer. But God did not send me a multiple choice questionnaire and allow me to pick and choose what I would and would not experience in this tabernacle of flesh. Not only that, but God did not give me cancer as a way to destroy me, but as a means of growing me in His grace and mercy. Even if this cancer were to take my life, it would not destroy me, because death would usher me into the presence of the Lord.
My heartfelt hope is that I would truly glorify God through every stage of the process that lay before me. I want those who care for me medically to see Christ in me. I want to grow in His grace. I want to learn all that God is teaching me. As John Piper put it as he was facing surgery for prostate cancer, I do not want to waste my cancer. I want God to use it to accomplish His good and perfect work in my life.
I am so thankful that I have such a loving a supportive family. My wife and our three daughters have shown me much grace, kindness, and love. I bless the Lord for them and pray that He will strengthen them with His strength in the days ahead as I face surgery and the recovery process. I am also thankful for the church family that God has given me. I am so thankful for the Sovereign Grace Bible Chapel family. It is such a joy to serve as their Pastor.
I close by saying that I thank God for His mercy and grace. I thank Him that I can face this cancer in the strength of His Holy Spirit and not in the weakness of my flesh. To Him be all of the glory, honor, and praise. Bless His Holy Name.