I appreciate that is a somewhat stark title for a blog entry. It's amazing to consider the power of such a short and simple word. One word that breaks hearts, shatters lives, ruins hopes and dreams.
I was motivated and inspired to clean up my blog and use it for something more worthwhile as a result of following the entries of Craig McKay as he slowly lost his wife to ovarian cancer. More recently, I have followed with baited breath the twitter feed of Britt Merrick whose daughter Daisy was diagnosed with cancer some months ago and very recently was given a clean bill of health following a period of chemotherapy. Today I read with dismay that she is in hospital again, that another tumor has been found and that it is huge. Nevertheless, Britt Merrick found space in his 140 allotted characters to affirm his trust in Jesus. I have never met this man or his family and all I know of him is the little that filters through from his sermons (he is the main preaching pastor at Reality church in California) and his twitter and facebook feeds. It is amazing how technology gives us access to people and information that even a few years ago would not have been possible. I am so blessed to have been able to listen to and learn from Britt's sermons and I now have the privilege of being able to pray for him, Daisy and the rest of the family as they go through a trial I can scarcely imagine.
I know it is obvious, trite and simplistic to say so, but cancer is so horrible. My mother survived breast cancer a few years ago, as have two of my aunts more recently, a good friend of mine lost her leg to a large tumour wrapped around her pelvis, a former colleague of mine succumbed shockingly quickly to aggressive ovarian cancer. Now Daisy Merrick is facing more surgery, more chemotherapy, as is another church pastor Matt Chandler, from The Village in Texas. A couple of days ago Pete Smyth tweeted and blogged about a lump found on his neck which has turned out to be cancerous. He is facing several months of chemotherapy.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that these cases are any more tragic just because they are Christians, or young men, or children, or known to me. Cancer is always heart-breaking, always indiscriminate, always unfair. But it is interesting to see a number of recent cases befalling people who I only know about because 21st century connects us all so well. As impotent as I feel, at least I can pray for these people and even let them know that though they don't know me, they have touched my life and blessed me and I am praying for them.
I hate cancer. I hate seeing the havoc it wreaks and the lives it destroys. I hate seeing the children who have to grow up without a father or mother.
But I love the faith of men and women who look into the face of adversity, trust in their God and move forward with faith and hope. As Hebrews 11 says, the world is not worthy of them.