Published April 2016
Facing Cancer with Faith charts the different sides of my experience with cancer. There were the physical and emotional sides obviously. But as a Christian I also had to wrestle with how to be faithful to Jesus in my response.
It struck me that in terms of our approach to life and the genuineness of faith, hardship and suffering is where ‘the rubber hits the road’. It’s where all the words that we say, and what we say we believe, about what life means (or doesn’t mean), and our purpose and hope in the world, are put to the test to see whether we really believe them. And that’s the case whether we’re Christian or not.
The Bible seemed to tell me not to worry. More than that it seemed to tell me to rejoice in my hardships. How could I do that? The Bible seemed to speak to me about an eternal weight of glory that puts the sufferings of this life into perspective. But isn’t it a bit ‘pie in the sky’ to speak about a hope that we can’t see, in the future that we can’t see, promised by a God we can’t see? Is God really in control? Don’t the atheists and agnostics have a point when they say that we should hate God if he exists, because of human suffering? Why do I thank God when the medicine and the doctors make me better? Can cancer be a good thing? If God has a purpose for suffering, what is it? These are just a few of the questions I’ve reflected on since having cancer.
In this book I re-tell the story of my cancer journey, from my sudden hospitalisation on Christmas Day 2009 to my recovery from a stem cell transplant in 2016 after a second relapse, punctuated with reflections on how the Christian faith speaks to that kind of hardship, and how I felt that I should respond at the time because of what I read in the Bible.
In short, I found that thinking deeply about hardship and suffering brought me again and again into the heart of the Christian message, and to a deeper appreciation of what life is all about.
My prayer is that my story and my reflections may challenge both Christians and non-Christians to ask big questions, and that in doing so they would be encouraged to put their faith in Jesus Christ, fix their eyes upon Jesus, and “press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14, ESV)
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