The world is imperfect. It is flawed. No matter how strong you think you are, no one hits as hard as the world. You can spend hours in the gym, strengthening your muscles for years, only to be floored by a debilitating disease within months of a diagnosis.
The world is unfair. It is cruel. Why do good people suffer while seemingly wicked folk prosper? Some days you can give everything you’ve got and still come up short and disappointed. Sometimes our best efforts just aren’t good enough to capture a respite in the never ending struggles of life.
My bible tells me that Adam and Eve ushered sin and death into the world with a single act of disobedience. For a long time, I struggled accepting that fact as an adequate excuse for God allowing cancer to claim the life of my mother. In truth, I didn’t want to hear a single word spoken about God, when she died. I blamed him. He was the cause of her suffering, and the author of my family’s pain.
You can’t really explain what its like to watch a loved one die an agonizing death to cancer. To say something superficial like, “It’s like watching them be eaten away, from the inside out,” just doesn’t bring it home for those who have never experienced it personally. You have to be there. You have to see the life literally drain from their eyes, a little more each day. You have to be there, during the Chemo-sessions, to know fire rages through their bones and there isn’t a damned thing you can do to stop it. You have to sit there next to them, holding a hollowed hand, as they struggle unconsciously grasping at the last raspy breaths of life, the day before the inevitable. Then you’ll know the secret rage at a God who would allow such sin to exist in the first place.
Ironically, cancer turned out to be the driving force that would force me to face God. I spit at him; called him names and ultimately asked that all important question. I asked the only question that really mattered.
“Why would you do this?”
When his answer consistently replied, “I love you,” man did I ever get pissed off! What kind of answer was that?! I needed to know! I deserved to know! My Dad, sister and brother needed an answer! ‘I love you’ was unacceptable! My rage intensified.
But…I realize now…that God is love. Sometimes we simply have to accept his decision not to tell us his reasoning, and trust that all things work out for good…even when we can’t understand why. Eventually, God broke through my pain. I can’t even begin to tell you how he took my rage and changed it into a love that I had never known before. I don’t have the secret formula. But, I know he took all of the anger and hurt I harbored inside, and replaced it with peace in understanding that he is in control.
Watching my Momma die was one of the toughest experiences I’ve had to endure. But in her death, God gave me a new life to live. I know somehow that …cancer and I will cross paths again. I can’t explain that to you. But…I know it. The next time we meet, I’ll have God in my life to help me deal with its presence. While I’m not looking forward to the inevitable reunion, I have faith that God will see me through it.