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Cancer Patient

Posted on 12/12/2012 by Jay Younts

News of having cancer is a life-changing event. Sorrow, sadness, and sympathy are appropriate responses. But for a counselor, more is needed. Cancer also brings fear and for many who are diagnosed, finality.  Once the initial emotional impact passes, uncertainty and helplessness may dominate. Some may just give up in resignation. Other folks may assume an aggressive posture towards cancer and determine to “beat it” no matter how great the odds.

 All of these people need one additional perspective, which a biblical counselor is well-suited to provide. This perspective is God’s perspective. God’s purpose is not rooted in whether we will live or die. His purpose is that we bring honor to his name in our response. The days that the cancer patient will live have been already set by God. 

All the days ordained for me

    were written in your book

    before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

In this way, the biblical counselor is just like the cancer patient. The days for your life on earth are set by God. The counselor really has no promise or reasonable guarantee that  he or she will live longer than the person diagnosed with cancer! You are both equally dependent upon God for your next breath. This is reality from God’s perspective!

So the counselor has a point of contact with the cancer patient. They both will live just as long as God wants them to and not a second longer. The point of contact is really about faith. Hebrews says that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Faith, to have meaning for the cancer patient, must be personal. Two and 1/2 years ago my wife was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The life expectancy of this sort of cancer (glioblastoma multiform or GBM) is 12-14 months.  Faith has to do with what is not seen and confidence. Cancer diagnosis has to do with what is seen - cancer cells as seen in MRIs.  The other thing about cancer is uncertainty. Neither has to with faith. 

My wife continues to live her life in faith. True faith cannot be measured by things that can be seen or touched or counted. This is what your cancer patient needs - faith.  Our time on earth is God’s time. This time can be lived in fear, uncertainty, and the measurement of things that can be seen. Or life can be lived in the certain reality of faith and confidence that God’s care for us is constant and sure. What matters most is that he is honored. From this perspective cancer is not a barrier to living for God.

Have the courage to help your cancer patient live for God, nothing else is certain, nothing else matters.

 


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