Thursday, August 14, 2014
The only anchor that holds
Today was a very difficult day. It started with news of a brother in Christ, who used to be a member of the church I pastor, but is still in close contact with many of us, being in the last stages of cancer. Then, a young woman in our church was diagnosed with a similar stage 4 cancer. When she was initially tested, it seemed to be caught early and there wasn't any real concern it would be this advanced. But the results of the more advanced tests showed it was much more involved and serious. Honestly, even though I have seen this kind of thing before, I was shocked along with her family. There were virtually no signs before three weeks ago.
How do you counsel a person who is confronted with this news?
In this case, I have been blessed and encouraged by her immediate reflection on biblical, eternal truth. She goes right to her bible. This is a person who is herself a highly competent medical professional, yet finding herself on the other side, so to speak, is taking the medical analysis and diagnosis in stride, and going to the Scripture for her guidance and comfort. She knows she is in Christ. This isn't to say she isn't in some way fearful and upset, but I can attest she is not angry with God and she is sure of her eternal destiny.
Of course, despite the seriousness of her diagnosis and incurable nature of her kind of cancer, there is chemotherapy that has shown itself to slow down the advance of the disease. We are asking everyone to pray the chemo works and gives her many more years. Knowing this woman, she will live life to the fullest as God gives her however many days he has allotted (remember, none of us live one day shorter or longer than God ordains). Even the chemotherapy's effectiveness is by God's grace.
On days like today when I visit with a Christian who has just received very difficult news, and I witness them speak eternal truth in the midst of incredible adversity, I realize they have been prepared by the Word, for just this time. When I pick up their bible to read them comforting texts from Scripture, and all the texts I turn to are already underlined, I am overwhelmed by what God does to nourish His children. My job, every pastor's job, is to feed the whole counsel of God to the Sheep for whom Christ died. It is the only sure anchor that will hold them when (not if) the storm comes. I have seen this countless times. I know it is true.