ARE YOU PRAYING FOR SOMEONE WITH CANCER?
A San Francisco jury in late March awarded $80 million dollars to a man who successfully sued Bayer, claiming that Roundup had caused his cancer. Also in late March, a jury in Oakland, California awarded a plaintiff $29 million after deciding that Johnson & Johnson was responsible for her cancer because of exposure to asbestos in talcum powder in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
The Wall Street Journal last week published a very interesting op-ed by Arthur Lambert, a postdoctoral researcher at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. His work is the study of the molecular mechanisms of cancer. He makes the case that the causes of cancer are more complicated than these lawsuit judgments indicate. The science and logic of his article are commendable, which result in this conclusion:
“The truth is that we have no idea why some people develop cancer while many others do not. Risk factors alter the odds but are hardly determinative. For any individual case there is a sizable variable of uncertainty, representing factors that are either poorly understood or truly random.
My principal concern isn’t the liability of the companies involved. The most important ramification of these lawsuits is their impact on the public psyche, suggesting that there is a definitive explanation for every case of cancer.”
And then he concludes his article with a statement that jumped out at us as Christian readers:
“And so we are left to deal with the uncomfortable reality that although we have come far in our understanding of cancer, there is still so much that remains a mystery.”
There is something in each of us that longs for a formula, for certainty, for a plus b to always equal c. Then we could control our lives and determine what will happen and feel better about everything. But for those of us who know Jesus and seek to follow Him, we know that He requires us to accept the mystery of life and be ready to trust Him no matter what.
On Easter morning, the women who had devoted their lives to Jesus came to the tomb.
After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.
The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”
The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. (Matthew 28: 1-10)
What turns fear to joy? Trusting Jesus in the midst of the uncertainties and mysteries of life. We can choose to train our minds and thoughts to trust Jesus. Here are three things that if we believe, we will grow in joy and the fear of the Lord (paraphrased from the Message Devotional Bible):
- I am not the center of things.
- God is the center of things.
- I do not know what will happen next.
And here is the connection to the mystery about cancer–even if I try my best to avoid every known carcinogen, I still do not know what will happen next. Embracing the reality of life as an adventure with Jesus leads to joy.
As we prepare our hearts for Easter, we pray that we will all grow in trusting Jesus. We pray also for everyone who has cancer or is praying for a loved one with cancer–we pray for strength and healing, in Jesus’ name and for resurrection power to bring life.
From a prayer quilt:
What Cancer Cannot Do . . .
Cancer is so limited . . .
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
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