For so many people who ring that bell these two words are the best two they could ever hear - Cancer Free! After a tremendous emotional, physical and spiritual struggle, there is great relief and much joy.
Last week, our own Willie Mae Bush heard these words and those of us who have prayed with and for her and watched her struggle are dancing with joy as well for this lovely woman who has literally been through hell in her life. But what about the other folks who never hear those words, does God love them any less? Are their prayers, and the prayers of their friends and families not working? Is he listening?
I certainly don't have all the answers, but if I look at the life of Jesus, and follow the subsequent journey of others in the Bible, I see something that may be a clue. Not everyone was healed, not everyone had a wonderfully happy and disease free life and just ascended into heaven. There are factors that make no logical sense but in God's eyes they have a divine purpose and make perfect sense.
As an example, maybe your father, mother or spouse gets Cancer, and possibly at far too young an age. And, they do not become cancer free, but you have been praying day and night for their healing. First, if they pass away, and they are believers, their destination is far greater, and much happier than that of this world, and maybe this is actually the very best thing for them. But for us it is heartbreak and severe loss.
Think about how much closer to God those prayers brought you before you get mad at Him. I remember that long 5 hour journey from Daphne, Alabama to Atlanta after my son Paul was killed in a motorcycle accident. In that time God and I became as close as we ever have and the answers he gave me were not the ones that comforted my human spirit because I was devastated and virtually at a loss for any measure of encouragement.
But what happened has helped shape my life since then and bound my own family closer together. God comforted my soul, he let me know Paul was with him, he assured me things would work out if I just took the time to grieve. And then he laid on my heart that I would come back to Atlanta and in honoring Him and Paul, I would be reaching out to other young people to help save their lives.
We could talk about this forever, but here is what I know. God takes everything we see as heartbreaking, as devastating and sad, and turns it into a rainbow if we just look for it. And beyond that rainbow is someone who is Cancer Free, they are just in a different, and more pleasant destination.
And for us, the grieving loved ones, and the ones who survive cancer? We dance with joy for the life we have left, looking forward to that day when we too, will be on the other side of that beautiful rainbow!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.