So many of us have had our share of being touched by cancer. I can say that none of us feel that it was a “gift” that we ever wanted. But the truth is, for me, cancer has been a gift that keeps on giving.
The most important gift that has ever been given to any of us is the gift of the Cross…Christ dying on the Cross for each of us so that we can have eternal hope as we navigate this thing called life. Nothing is more important for those who have been given this “gift” of cancer. As your scope on this life narrows to one single path, fighting and praying to beat the cancer that is threatening your existence (or the existence of someone even more precious than yourself), the promise of eternal life, no matter what the outcome of the fight is, is THE reason to choose to keep on going. In the darkest hours of the night when the doctors, family and friends can do nothing to change the biggest obstacle you will ever face, the Light of Hope is there to give you the guidance and assurance to face the unknown.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.
The gift of the Cross is not always something we know we want or need…but once we receive it, we are so thankful for it. But cancer, that’s the “gift” we never wanted, the “gift” we can’t imagine being grateful for…ever. But it is a “gift” that keeps on giving. It takes so much from us; but the reality is, it also gives us so much, as well.
Recently, cancer came full circle for me…
Dr. Alison Bertuch from Texas Children’s Hospital…I got to visit with her and laugh with her, 14 years after spending most of my time with her in tears, trying to survive the “gift” of cancer. This time, there were a few tears but they were happy tears and smiles, remembering the little boy that she loved and seeing where his life has taken me.
You see, I was actually there for a bigger reason, a good reason, a Romans 8:28 reason…a gift for her colleague, a gift that happened all because of the “gift” of cancer. I was there to award Dr. Li with a 200,000-dollar grant from The Cure Starts Now Foundation to help him in his quest to find a cure for cancer.
I was back at the hospital walking the same halls as I did so many years ago, but this time I was there in a different capacity. I was not there as a parent with her child fighting for his life; but I was there as a cancer advocate to try to help the strangers that were in the elevator with me that had no clue what I was doing or why I was there. I wondered…all those years ago, was someone in the elevator with me on one of those hundreds of times I rode it up and down? Did they look at me, knowing exactly what we were enduring? Did they know just on the other side of the door by the elevator were special containers of DIPG samples from children who had succumbed to cancer, samples that were being stored for testing in the lab that was just down the corridor from where we were being treated? Had they gone behind the scenes, like I was privileged to do on this day, and see some of the testing being conducted in the animal testing laboratory?
It was a good day…one that was made possible because of Christ and the Cross, my Corbin, cancer and the unending desire to find a Cure. It’s going to take a little shorter than a miracle for a cure to be found, BUT a cure is possible…we just have to believe.
And then there is my friend…and this gift that he has freely given to each of us, the gift to keep fighting, to never give up, no matter how tough life can be. My friend, David, made a choice to keep going when life got tough, and to stand in the gap for those that have endured the unthinkable. He proved to each of us that we can conquer our weaknesses, overcome our fears and do what some of us (me) think is impossible. “Thanks” just doesn’t seem quite adequate. My heart is full and forever grateful for his love and support.
I turn 50 this year…the “gift” of cancer has altered too many of my years. I was 35 years old when cancer changed the course of my life. My children were 10, 8 and 5. My 10-year-old will never celebrate another birthday on this earth. But my 8- and 5-year olds have grown up with this altered course. They are now 22 and 19, and they are showing me every day how to navigate this life that cancer altered…so, cancer is the gift that keeps on giving. My gift is seeing my two surviving children live life to the fullest and live it abundantly despite the fact that life has been unfair to them. My gift is doing my part (along with so many of you) to make sure cancer doesn’t take any more of our precious loved ones. My gift is having my family grow this year and being loved completely by my sweet husband.
For all the ones we have lost to cancer and believed, they may not have any more birthdays here on this earth; but Christ has given them the most amazing gift of all, Heaven, where every day is their birthday!
John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!