Cancer from God’s Perspective

Early this year I renewed and upgraded my blog subscription will every intent of submitting posts on a regular basis.  I was enthusiastic and thought of many concepts for posts.  Then I found the dreaded “lump.”

After three months of poking, prodding, biopsies, and tests, I was handed a breast cancer diagnosis.  I am currently undergoing chemotherapy with the goal of shrinking the tumor enough to do successful surgery.

Some people, knowing that I am a devout believer, have asked me whether I think God caused my cancer.  I have reflected on this question, and I can now respond with a resounding “NO!”  God did not cause my cancer.

The way we live our lives, and the way our ancestors lived their lives is probably the prime cause of cancer.  Genes may have been altered during my lifetime, but there is also a history of breast cancer in my family tree.  God cannot change my genealogy.  My grandmother will always be my grandmother, and so on.

Some might ask, “If God can do anything, why doesn’t he cure my cancer?”  Well, he is, through the hands and minds of science.  God may be guiding my doctors in my treatment plan.  The doctors say I will be okay in the long run.

Can God miraculously cause my cancer to go away?  Well, he could, but like a giant game of Jenga, one tiny move can affect a thousand more in the universe.  God put the laws of science to work many, many years ago.  Genes may have been altered as mankind evolved, but God sets the rules of nature.  Who knows, maybe the laws of nature, along with the evolution of modern medicine, may someday eradicate the need for chemotherapy.

In the meantime, I know that I have a God who is with me every step of the way on the unpleasant journey toward wellness.  I feel his presence constantly.  God did not send my cancer, but he sends his caring affection during my battle.  Have faith.

Wendy S.

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The Hi-Sign

Don’t usually live in the past, or future, but today I reminisced about the time when I came to know Christ in my life.

I must have been about five years old. We were all playing a game of catch-one-catch-all in the Weber’s backyard in suburban Chicago. Donnie, Kenny, Gloria, Diane, Bob, Olaf and Mark. About noon Mrs. Weber appeared at the backdoor with a plateful of jelly sandwiches. We all eagerly flocked to the back steps to partake.

Suddenly, Donnie Weber exclaimed, “No one gets a sandwich until they give the hi-sign.” The hi-sign was to tuck your right hand under your chin and wiggle your fingers. Well, even at 5, I thought that was silly, so I refused. Therefore, no jelly sandwich. I ran home with my arms in the air, probably crying all the way.

Fast forward a few years. A bus came every Friday evening and took all the kids in the neighborhood to the local Baptist church for Pioneers, a Christ-centered club for kids.

One evening the kids were treated to a ventriloquist act. The actor said his puppet was a slave in the American South. The actor went on about how the puppet had been abused by its master. Watching and relating to the puppet was truly an emotional experience. The ventriloquist was an effective orator.

At the end of the performance, the ventriloquist held an altar call. If we were to accept Jesus at that moment, the slave would be spared any more abuse.

I couldn’t resist. I wanted the abuse to stop. I went up for the altar call. I was the only kid who seemed moved in that way. I was encouraged to accept Christ at that moment. The ventriloquist said that I was now “saved.”

Unlike the jelly sandwich story, the altar call seemed to make sense. But both examples were the same. A silly hi-sign and a sweet treat. A pronouncement and the sudden relief of guilt. Both instances were shallow, based on immediate gratification.

In the years that followed, I slowly came to know God through the manifestation of the living Christ in my life. It has been a long journey, and one filled with many “toils and snares” (as the song goes.)

I have spoken to many people who claim to have had a “born again” experience. I do not doubt them. But one moment of pleasure, or release from a guilty conscience cannot save anyone. It is the willingness to accept the will of God and come to know him through the course of time that can save. And what will tomorrow bring? Have faith.

Wendy S.

 

Wendy S.

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Kindness. My Gift to Christ.

This afternoon I spent some time listening to Christmas music and wrapping Christmas gifts, and this year there were many.

 As I did this almost mindless work, my mind wandered to the journey I have undertaken in my Christian walk.  It has been a long, arduous journey, but I can envision the joy and fruit it has brought to my life.  But what have I ever really done for Christ?  Gifts from Christ keep coming, with every breath I take.  How can I ever repay the treasure I so lovingly enjoy in my daily life?

I thought about the cross.  For too many years I aligned myself with a traditional religion that can hardly wait to get Jesus Christ nailed up on the cross and experience death.  I sadly admit that at one time I relished the thought of the death of my Savior.

 But no more.  We read in Matthew where, on the cross Jesus cries out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”  The English translation of this quote is said to be, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? “

 Well, in the first place, the author of Matthew goes on to say that the people in earshot of Jesus thought that the phrase meant that He was calling out to Elijah.  I can only think of one other instance in the New Testament where translators use a foreign tongue to make a point, and that is where we are to call out to Abba, God, as our Father.  The use by the translators of “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”  Seems a little “fishy.”

Even if the phrase is translated, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” who is the word “you” relating to, God, or the people of the Earth who would put God’s Son to death?

 Forsake?  The God I have come to know in my long journey does not forsake anyone, let alone His only true Son, Jesus.  We read in Deuteronomy 31:6, when Moses is speaking to those entrusted to do God’s work, and again in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave nor forsake you.”  Wouldn’t God’s only Son be included in this promise?  Or is the God taught in so many of our brick and mortar churches a hypocrite?  I don’t think so.

Today, as I wrapped gifts and thought about Christ, I pledged to be kind to Jesus.  Let’s not be quick to nail him to the cross!  Let us enjoy the sacrifice Jesus made by coming to Earth to heal us and teach us of our home with God.  My gift is that I am finally satisfied knowing that God loves His people enough not to leave or forsake us.  Have faith!

 Wendy S.

 

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God Does Not Want Your Bull!

Today I have been studying the Christian Old Testament book of Leviticus. Specifically, I have been studying the laws regarding sacrifice of animals. While reading, I come to the conclusion that there is a missing link. Something that may or may not be implied is implicit in the text.

If I have learned anything during my lifetime, I have learned that there is no “fast answer.” No one is going to “pedal my bike for me.” I stand before God with all my sins and imperfections. It is up to me to repent, to learn from my mistakes, and hopefully clean myself up and make myself presentable before God and the community.

I assert that the animal to be sacrificed was a gift as a pledge to God that the offender would do better. The offender was to take a bull, or a sheep, or a goat that was without blemish to the Lord–something of true earthly value. The offender would offer this perfect specimen to God as a promise and pledge to repent.

The priest would be there to witness the pledge, and, maybe in an Iron Age sort of way, offer encouragement to the person in need of change. This is the only answer regarding the sacrifice of animals that makes any sense to me. God could not eat an animal, nor taste of the aroma of the burnt offering. What God might do is sense the attitude and desire to repent. This may truly have been a sweet aroma to the Lord.

Fast forwarding to the time of Jesus, Our Savior, perhaps the only reason Jesus was willing to endure life on earth and death by crucifixion was to be OUR pledge—in the hope that We would repent and clean ourselves up, making our lives more presentable to God and the community.

In this spirit, the bulls and goats sacrificed during the Iron Age were not wasted. Neither was the sacrifice made by Jesus Himself, coming so long after, and continuing to this very age. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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Disciple Peter’s Sad Legacy

Picture for a moment the Disciple Peter:

– When Jesus asked Peter to follow Him, Peter responded immediately, leaving the familiar life he knew to become a follower of Jesus.

– Peter was a close companion to Jesus, encouraging and supporting Him in His ministry here on Earth.

– Peter defended Jesus at Gethsemane.

– Peter expressed that he was willing to die for Jesus.

– Peter rallied the first Christians on the steps of the Temple after Jesus was crucified, facilitating the spread of the early Church.

– Peter spent a good portion of his adult life spreading the Gospel and encouraging the growth of the Christian movement.

– Peter was imprisoned for Jesus’ sake.

– Peter was crucified, upside down, because he did not deem himself worthy to die as Jesus did.

I assert that on this Earthly plane, in an Earthly, human way, Peter sacrificed as much as Jesus. Peter was humble, devoted and driven toward the goal of teaching the known world about Jesus Christ and His impact.

Yet, in thousands of Christian churches Peter is branded as a coward because he denied knowing Jesus just prior to His crucifixion.

If you read in the Bible the account of the passion of Christ, yes, Peter denied Jesus.

However, I assert that Peter was obeying Jesus’ command to deny Him.

God needed Peter here on Earth following the physical departure of Christ.

Had Peter been crucified along with Jesus, who knows what the state of Christianity would be to this very age?

Also, we would have had two dead heroes. How would this have played out historically through the ages? Something to think about. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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You Were Either a Greaser or a Duper

This afternoon I took a sentimental trip back in time to my old Chicago area high school. In particular, I reminisced about the division of Greasers and Dupers during the turbulent 1960’s.

The Greasers wore the trendiest styles, lots of black and iridescence. The girls teased their hair, and the boys styled their hair with lots of grease. The Dupers, on the other hand, wore lots of denim and plaid, and their hair was as straight as they could get it to go. Back in high school, this was SERIOUS business!

Then, one day the faculty put up signs above all drinking fountains—“Greasers Only.” This ploy was to call attention to the emerging problems with race relations, especially blacks versus whites. There were no black students where I attended high school. This imaginary division was the closest any of us would come to race awareness for a couple more years.

Greasers/Dupers; Blacks/Whites; Christian/Non-Christian. H-m-m-m-m.

When I read about the Sermon on the Mount, I am struck by the fact that everyone was allowed in. There were as many as 5,000 people in attendance. The disciples didn’t card anyone, even when the bread and fish were being distributed. There was no velvet rope. All seemed welcome and all shared in the miraculous feast.

Elsewhere we read where Jesus offered living water to a Samaritan woman, and He healed the daughter of a Canaanite. Just like the bread and fish, there seemed to be plenty of love to go around.

It irks me when I hear someone speak ill of anyone who does not believe exactly as they believe. Some wear the mantle, “Born Again Christian” with superiority airs.

We are all people who came into this world in the same way. Some people are introduced to Christ at a very early age, and some much later on. It does not matter. God is simply waiting, with much patience, to offer His peace.

Christians are the lucky ones on this planet. We have Jesus to look up to as our supreme Role Model and Guide. This does not make any one else inferior to us. God awaits us all.

God is working with each and every human being on our world with His soft, still, beaconing voice. If we hear His voice, we know that we are all the same, under God’s eternal protection. Have faith.

Wendy S.

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