WOW!! My friend just sent me the transcript of a testimony of a man who is dying of stage 4 bone cancer. This man wanted the letter read to all his brothers and sisters in Christ at the church he attended. I am not ashamed to say that I cried as I read his letter and even in the midst of my tears, my spirit was lifted up and my faith challenged. I am copying this letter here because I think it is something that will lift you up as well.
Dear friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, the doctors told me this morning that the cancer has reached my spinal column and there is nothing else that they can do for me. Except for medication to control the pain, all other intervention has been stopped. At the most, I will have only a few more months before I go to be with our Lord. More than likely, it will be a matter of weeks. I have asked James to read this letter to you because I want you to know that I am at peace and I am rejoicing and anticipating seeing Jesus face to face. I also want to thank all of you for your prayers and support over the last 5 years. I would not have been able to last as long as I have if you had not been here for me and my family.
I have heard you say how much you admire my courage and faith but I want to tell you that I would have no courage and faith if it were not for our Heavenly Father and if it were not for the faith that you have given me. I also want to set the record straight and share a few lessons that I have learnt.
Over the last 5 years, I have had my moments of darkness. When I was first diagnosed I was very angry with God. Why me!! Why my family!! My faith was not as strong and as consistent as you might think. Anger gave way to doubt and I began to wonder if I had done anything to displease God and began bargaining with Him. It got worse when they had to amputate my leg when chemo failed and they hoped that by removing the limb with the cancerous bone, it would not spread further. You all know how much I loved sports and the outdoors and when I lost my leg, I was a very bitter man. I have to confess to you that I harboured all this resentment and anger and put on a show of faith. I don't know why. Perhaps I was trying to fool God and show Him how faithful I am. Perhaps it was my way of bargaining with God. It was as if I was saying, "God, look how faithful I am, how good a servant. Now spare me." Perhaps I was prideful and did not want you to think less of me, a deacon in our church. I don't know. All I know is the truth that I am telling you now.
Then I had my one year of remission and I thought that my bargaining worked. I began to be more involved in church, and began to give my 'testimony' to everyone I encountered. You all know this, I have done this from our pulpit and in church more Sundays that I can count. What you do not know is that I was fulfilling the terms of my bargain and it was not entirely genuine, not really, even if I had fooled myself into thinking it.
Then they found cancer in my hip and my world came crashing down again, but this time God showed me something very different. I saw my daughter loosing her faith because of what I was going through, I heard my wife crying at night, trying hard to stifle her sobbing so no one would hear, and I saw the love in your eyes, your sorrow, your pain, and your desperation for me. Throughout my chemo and treatments, terrible as they were, my focus shifted away from from me to my child, my wife, and to you but more importantly it shifted to God and I began to search the Scriptures. Yes, for the first time in my life I really began to be in the Word. Don't be so surprised, your deacon confessing that he was not truly in the Word until the last three years of his life? Well it is true. You see, before I was reading the Bible but I was reading into it what I wanted to see and believe, I did not let the Word speak into me, I did not let the Holy Spirit guide me, and I suspect many of you do the same. One of the reasons why I am writing this to you to to tell you of the power and joy that you will find in God's Word if you trust It and let It teach you instead of using It to give you comfort because it confirmed what you already believe. I am not going to go through every chapter and verse that God has used to teach and heal me in this letter, it will be too much. Instead, I have asked Helen (his wife) to share my Bible with you, it is full of my notes and thoughts. Rather, I want to tell you that God did indeed heal me, not of cancer but of the disease in my soul and in my spiritual life and it was a healing far more important to my eternal soul than this body. He taught me that He is sovereign and His Will is perfect and His promises true. He taught me that finding His purpose for me is far more important and empowering than anything under heaven. I want to tell you that I believe that I learned to really believe in Him only in the last three years and I want you to know the import of what that means. I will let you reason that for yourself but for me I am convinced that my salvation is only recently secured. There, I have said it and I know that it will come as a shock to many of you.
Now that I have done the difficult part, let me share with you the easy part. I want you to rejoice with me because the last three years have been the most joyous of my life and the most fruitful, even though I have been bed ridden or in the hospital for most of it. You see, I now know that God does indeed answer prayers for He has truly met every desire of my heart. The difference is that my desires are no longer mine, they are His and I have come to own them. He has given me the courage to face my trials and tribulation and he has given me indescribable joy in the midst of them. Because of this, my lovely Helen and Victoria (his daughter) has grown from faith to faith. Do they still mourn and sorrow, of course they do, they are going to be loosing a husband and a father after all. But like me, they have come to realize God's perfect plan and purpose and, like me, they have discovered the power of faith and trust in the Will of our Father in Heaven. They have learned the true meaning of joy. Because of my affliction, and God's empowering in my life, my brother who was an unbeliever has come to faith and God has privileged me with leading him to Christ. Because of my suffering, many of you have come to appreciate the many blessings in your life, blessings that some of you had taken for granted and many of you have discovered just how truly wealthy you are.
So you see, God has indeed answered all our prayers, mine and yours, the difference for me is that I have come to truly realize that His answers are not always what we expect and that His answers are always better than we can imagine. Three years ago, I would not be able to say this but now I mean it with all my heart. If my suffering and affliction will bring you joy, if it will let you see the many blessings in your life, if it will lead some to Christ, if it will show you the sovereignty of God, His goodness and His perfect Will, I will gladly go through it all again.
I am writing this while I still have my wits about me and the drugs that dull my pain have not yet dulled my senses. As I have asked Helen and Victoria, I will ask the same of you now. When I pass, rejoice with me. Rejoice in God!
Love in Christ,
Thanks for sharing this The following quotes made an impression on my spirit
[quote]You see, before I was reading the Bible but I was reading into it what I wanted to see and believe, I did not let the Word speak into me, I did not let the Holy Spirit guide me, and I suspect many of you do the same[/quote]
[quote] The difference is that my desires are no longer mine, they are His and I have come to own them.[/quote]
My prayers are with the writer and his family - Praise God from whom all blessings flow
A wonderful testimony. Thank you brother for sharing it with us. While it was all powerful from the beginning to the end, the same part glared out at me as it did to our brother WMJ. These words are so very true in so many of us "faithful" of God. May God forgive us and open our eyes to His way.
I was just informed that Bruce has been allowed to go home because he wanted to die there surrounded by family and friends. A palliative care nurse has been assigned to him till he passes. The thing that struck me most is the depths of the man's love: [quote]If my suffering and affliction will bring you joy, if it will let you see the many blessings in your life, if it will lead some to Christ, if it will show you the sovereignty of God, His goodness and His perfect Will, I will gladly go through it all again.[/quote] I do not know if I would have the faith, love and devotion that this man obviously has.
In a world crazy with a distorted Gospel, preached by wolves in sheep clothing: the Prosperity Gospel, the Health, and Wellness Gospel, the Word of Faith Gospel, this man's testimony stands in stark contrast, revealing the Truth -- Light, driving back the darkness. False gospels that at root worship the flesh and the material, coated by a veneer of scripture distorted and taken out of context - twisted! False gospels that are at root the worse form of idolatry because they take God in vain and wrongfully use His Name and His Word in the perpetuation of a gross and indecent sin.
Truly, this man echoes the words of our early Church fathers in the Westminster Confession that "The chief aim of man is to please God." In an age where we have turned God into our genie in a bottle, our sugar daddy, and, I daresay, our performing monkey, this man's testimony reveals their lie and show to us what it is to have reverence for an almighty God. What it means to have faith, and what it means to be a Christ follower.
This has really struck a chord with me. My mind went back to when I learned I had cancer and then those dark and painful days when I endured chemo and radiation. Attacking your body in order to save it... well... it gives your an interesting perspective of things to say the least.
[quote]If my suffering and affliction will bring you joy, if it will let you see the many blessings in your life, if it will lead some to Christ, if it will show you the sovereignty of God, His goodness and His perfect Will, I will gladly go through it all again. [/quote]
I understand... at least a little. You will sometimes hear cancer survivors talk about the "gift" they never wanted and they are not being cynical. People who hear them say that usually want to shush them up because it seems like there is something not quite "right" about it.
You know, some of the strongest Christians I know are those who have had to endure chronic illness and/or some sort of disability. We are quick to assume they have a lack of faith and yet I see them face each day with joy, hope and a desire to serve. If they are indeed suffering because of a "lack of faith", something just does not make sense because you see the fruit of faith in their lives. Oh, they may still be suffering physically but that just plain does not matter to these people. Their eyes aren't on their circumstances. Their eyes are on Christ.
[quote]In an age where we have turned God into our genie in a bottle, our sugar daddy, and, I daresay, our performing monkey, this man's testimony reveals their lie and show to us what it is to have reverence for an almighty God. What it means to have faith, and what it means to be a Christ follower.[/quote]
I agree. This man's life is a testimony that God is far bigger than cancer. May all of our lives testify to that as well.