I’m struggling over this piece as I write. I don’t wish to generate discussion, which places any who might read this on one side or the other of the promises of healing that come through faith in God.
Many of you know, if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written before, that I have Multiple Myeloma. This is a cancer of the blood plasma cells. You might also know that I’m very confident that God has kept me for a very long time, eighteen years since diagnosis come this March 2018. That period of quality existence, with such a horrible disease, is outstanding! I’m keenly aware of the fact that the average life expectancy of people with Myeloma is still four years, after diagnosis. If the contrast of my length of survival, and the reality of what so many of my fellow Myeloma warriors face isn’t a faith-strengthening reality, I don’t know what else could be better.
I often hear honest, well-meaning comments from folks telling me that God will heal me. I usually smile and accept the encouragement as well-meaning. I think it’s a sign of true love and compassion that people will offer such encouraging words, usually followed by assurances of prayer for my healing. I certainly believe in the healing power of God. However, whenever I hear such comments, I’m faced with unquestionable realities: Myeloma is a terminal disease; there’s no cure, no matter how long a person might survive with it; the majority of the people who’ve been diagnosed with it have died; Myeloma is not like the cancer that many tell me uncle John had, that the doctor cut out thirty years ago, leaving uncle John to be ninety years old today; once diagnosed with Myeloma, the patient is attached to a healthcare team for the rest of their God-given life. These are just a few of the realities; realities through which God has blessed me to live a high quality of life no matter how stark they are. When people pray for my healing, my smile isn’t a belittling show of emotion. Oh no, not in the least bit. It’s personal confirmation that I’ve already been healed. Healing doesn’t always come in the form of physical restoration. Spiritual health is critical for vibrant faith.
I tend to think of my situation as living in a sin-cursed world; a place where bad stuff happens to people for no reason. Be it from me to say that I am without sin. There are things that God knows about me, and all of us, that we would prefer to remain hermetically sealed in some box. We all know it’s going to come out eventually, but we want to keep it locked up for as long as possible. Let’s just keep it between God and us. These character flaws are generally reason enough, if we’re honest with ourselves, for any sentence of bad health that might come our way. After all sin has consequences, does it not? But we also know that God’s grace is continually at work, shielding us from most of the bad stuff that should rightfully come our way.
Against this backdrop of sin and deserved judgment, I have come to recognize that the workings of God have been crucial throughout my life, especially over the last eighteen years. By world standards, I’ve beaten all odds. By world standards, I shouldn’t be here. The battle with Myeloma should be a short-lived one, infused with daily pain, anguish and formidable suffering. That hasn’t been the case for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the last eighteen years have been a walk in the park. It hasn’t. I’ve had some nasty attacks on my weakened immune system, many have placed me flat on my back in the hospital. Heck, I’ve even had a few bouts with death; however, God fought the battles, leaving me to enjoy the spoils that came afterwards. These experiences have left me to be the benefactor of a stronger faith, a faith that has sustained me, and brought glory to God. Whenever someone excitedly proclaims how wonderful it is that I’ve lived so long with Myeloma, I give up glory to where it belongs.
Thank God for all His providence. There are no odds against Him.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.