I’ve recently heard about several people who are going through cancer at such young ages. It makes you stop and ask “why” and also invokes the questions of “why so young?” or “why now?” “why them?” Not that there is really an answer that will satisfy us to any of these questions, they still linger, we still long for answers. Personally, I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with asking the “why” questions of life as long as you don’t let the questions become your focus. If the “why” questions cause you to dig a little deeper for answers or revelation then that’s good, but if you just linger on the surface of those types of questions then you’ve wasted your energy. Often times it’s the “why” questions that lead to new glimpses of God and who He is. Or, those questions open up our understanding and help us see things from His perspective for the first time. We’re SO limited as humans in what we can see.
As far as the “why” of cancer, I guess you could speculate about our food system, nutrition, stress, environmental exposures, FM signals that fill the air, cell phones…the list could go on and on. But the fact is, I hate cancer and hate it even more when it involves people who are so young. A mother with 4 children under the age of 10, a husband, a father who just turned 30, a young lady with a family. ALL innocently living their lives, going about things as usual then, BAM! The dreaded news from the doctor, “you have cancer.” No rhyme, no reason, no preparation, NO WAY!
Every fiber of your being screams, “Not me! This isn’t happening to me!”
All of a sudden their worlds have been disrupted, altered beyond belief and now they are thrown into this dizzying state of information coming at them from every angle. They are negotiating new words and phrases they’ve never heard before. Digesting data that is confusing and scary at the same time. Dealing with treatments that will make them more sick before they can start getting better. And then dealing with the possibility of not making it at all. The finality of life has to be stared in the face when their lives are really just beginning.
Newlyweds turn to care-givers, time for moving through life quickly, experiencing the exhilaration of youth, starting new careers, thriving in the prime of life, starting or continuing families all comes to a grinding halt as the hands of time slow to deal with a devastating disease.
Nevertheless, they all must come to grips with the reality of the “new normal” and turn from shock and disbelief to the question of “how?” How am I going to deal with this insidious intruder, this disease I can’t even see or feel, except for the painful treatments and how it affects me physically.
One thing I’ve seen that is common to all of their stories is the desire to fight this unwanted intruder into their lives. To beat it and not let it win, not let it conquer them. Their faith in God, their belief in His Word, the power of prayer, the encouragement and strength of family and friends all come together to provide a bedrock, a foundation if you will, they can stand on during the storms of adversity. It’s not a surreal event at all, although on some levels it might seem that way. Instead, it becomes a very sobering reality that at some point paves the way for a supernatural courage, a hope, a faith the is unwavering, a confidence not in themselves but in the One who created them.
Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to deal with fear, to stare fear in the face, and with the hope and confidence that can only come from a Higher Power stand firm and face that fear, knowing and trusting you have been given the hope, the power within to overcome. It’s not an immediate transformation but it certainly comes and eventually the thoughts and hearts of these who are so young ooze with the wisdom and spiritual discernment of those many times their age. It is a powerful transformation and one that is not fleeting but will leave an indelible mark on their lives and the lives of others, no matter the number of their days.
I think that’s why the Psalmist said, It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. Psalm 119:71
After the “why” questions have been asked and our minds turn toward the truth of God’s Word for answers then a glorious revelation takes place. We begin to dwell in a place that very few, this side of heaven, make it to. We stop living in the superficial, unimportant strata of our lives and instead, dwell with God, lifted up on eagles wings, given spiritual eyes to see things we’ve never seen before and are allowed to experience Him on a level we’ve only dreamed about.
So, let the “why” questions fly! For if through the “why” we discover the Who, and then so much more, then our questioning has not been in vain!