There’s an enormous gulf between my inside and outside world. When I’m outside, I do all the things I’m expected to do with relative ease, but can’t see what’s going on inside. When I’m inside, I feel, I cry, and am too weary to face the people and responsibilities that come with daily life. But reflecting and prayer becomes easier. Before I am dragged away completely, this is a fairly lengthy account of what I saw inside.
When there is no hope
I am going to contradict my last (outside world) post and say, cancer, specifically mum’s widespread metastatic cancer where there is disease progression despite aggressive chemotherapy, where radiotherapy produced no radiographic change in the targeted lesions, brings about something profound. Still refuse to call it good though.
When there is no hope (or little hope if you’re optimistic) of effective treatment to slow disease, much less bring about a cure, death is no longer an optional consideration. I thought we as doctors, as Christians, considered death more than the average person. And I suppose we do, but often from a safe and comfortable distance.
When God doesn’t heal
It’s no longer you hope to be healed… but there’s always eternal life if that doesn’t work out. Now you either have a hope that lasts beyond the grave, or you don’t have a hope at all. Oh wait, what about miraculous healing. Of course this is our heart’s desire and prayer, and if God is God he is able. But I’m honestly irritated when people tell me this is surely God’s will for her illness – why the emphasis? Surely God does not miraculously heal all the time – Christians eventually die like everyone else, don’t they?
When God doesn’t heal from terminal illness, just considering the first few Psalms, what are all his promises of blessings (Psalms 1), his refuge (Psalms 2), his salvation (Psalms 3), his peace (Psalms 4), his protection (Psalms 5), his deliverance (Psalms 6) for his people all about? Is having our sins forgiven such a big deal when what we are after is physical healing? Is sin that bad, why does the watcher of man concern himself with it, and why do we need to be saved from it? Does God love us and (anticipating the answer) how is the cross relevant as a mark of God’s love?