Can you celebrate the best worst thing you have gone through? Yes!
On November 5, 2016, I was on a walk outside with my family. Then, out of nowhere, half of my tongue went numb. Over the next month, my doctors confirmed a stroke did not cause my symptoms as they initially suspected, but, instead, it was a brain tumor. The doctor diagnosed me with a glioblastoma multiforme grade 4 (basically, brain cancer). Surgeons resected the tumor on December 20, 2016, and I began chemo and radiation. I completed my first round of radiation on February 28, 2017. Later in 2017, they found another tumor in my brain. As a result, I had another surgery to resect the tumor on August 1, 2017, and completed another round of radiation treatment on September 14, 2017.
Brain cancer and its treatment, from my perspective, are some of the most difficult things a person can endure. As the days have gone by, I have concluded that this experience has given me a perspective and outlook on life that I should have had all along. Family, friends, medical staff, and especially my wife have shown me love that is beyond comprehension, and I thank God for their love and support every day.
I now believe that my experiences on November 5, 2016, were an answer to prayer to sanctify my life even more. That was the day I started seeking God like oxygen. It was the day I realized the Bible was my owner’s manual to this life. On that day I truly realized that my life is temporary. Suddenly, things that were big issues in my life seemed minor and the smaller issues didn’t exist.
Before and after this ordeal, my prayer has been this: “God, give me eyes to see and ears to hear your will. Help my will be your will.” As a Christian, this seems obvious. However, for me the issue is truly stripping me from myself and learning to let go.
Don’t misunderstand me, I do not believe God gives anyone cancer. This ultimately comes from being in a fallen world. However, I do believe God can use anything for His glory. Our responsibility is to run the race and follow Him, no matter what is going on in our life.
My life was and is good. I have everything I need and more. Up until this event, I have lived a life blessed with an awesome family, material things, great health, and so much more. I have been lucky to have the opportunity to come to know God and live a life of faith, for the most part.
Saying “for the most part” is really a big statement. Now I can see that the other part of me was taking advantage of what God had given me, rather than using it ALL for His glory. I was living life like I could plan; nothing was in my way.
When the diagnosis hit me, someone said in 6 months when you are feeling better, you will forget what has happen to you. I asked God not to let this happen and to help me see His will rather than just living life like it is something I can take for granted. As I look back, I can see how God has entrusted and blessed me.
After trusting and seeking the best doctors from all over the map, my cancer returned with the second tumor and my battle began again. I’ve truly learned that doctors, no matter how decorated and sought after they are, are just people who God can use, but my ultimate trust has to be in Him. He is the Healer.
While I have been dealing with this illness, the Bible has opened my eyes. Here are some insights that have been meaningful to me during this time. My hope is that these truths can help you through anything you may be dealing with in your life, too.
- Don’t stress; Pray!
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
- God made you and loves you!
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16 NIV
- Your time is limited; Gain perspective!
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:13-17 NIV
- Don’t take your life from God, but instead give it to him!
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV
- True surrender of your life to God is freedom, not restriction.
There is freedom in knowing God is in control. Of course, God already has ultimate control, but you need to give your portion to him. This is what it means to have free will. Beware of stopping short of total surrender to God. Most of us have a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.
“On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said. Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.” Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.” Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!” Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.” Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”” Luke 9:57-62 MSG
- When you read the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the details.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12 NIV
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 NIV
- Love your enemies.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20-21 NIV
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NIV
- Love God and your neighbors with your actions.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
- Do not seek any credit; give it all to God.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV
When Google MD or other doctors told me that my time was limited, I was convicted and could reflect on my life with more detail than ever before. When you read the Bible as if you are going to die in the morning or if you are starving in life for God you see things differently. Let’s not spend our time in the garden sleeping, but praying… (Matthew 26:36-46 NIV)
I do not know what is next but I know that my family and I are in good hands!
Please know if I can pray for you, share with you, and share the love of God please let us know!
Share with others if you like.
Do you really believe?
Wow, this perspective and insight to a life with God as the true lead is like good. Thanks so much for sharing brother.
Wow! I read this so often, and it is such a blessing to me. What a rich, precious perspective. Thank you for your vulnerability, and for sharing Christ so well with us all. I am so thankful for Ms Toni and for your wonderful family. I am especially prompted to pray for you all and I will do so “without ceasing” these days.