here is an interview with a man that will likely not be alive at the end of this year. fascinating difference in perspective even though any of the rest of could die this year too.
There is a tendency that’s especially strong in Calvinist circles to read Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good,” as though it says that “All things aregood.” I heard some of that, and that hurt me too. I am not blaming anyone else; I am sure this is more my fault than anyone else’s. These are honest opinions, if (I think) probably misguided, and they were delivered by completely well-meaning people. But hearing repeatedly that suffering is discipline from a loving Father, and that my circumstances are all gift — no curses, they are all blessings — made me feel sometimes as though God were coming after me with a baseball bat.
It’s impossible for me to hear and absorb those messages and then also think that the God of the universe actually loves me. I got close at some points to losing my faith, to seeing God as having declared Himself my enemy. It’s hard to worship your enemy.
The pain and the cancer in themselves are not good, then, and yet we as Christians believe that God can bring good out of evil. Not to paper over the negatives, but what good has God brought out of it? What lessons has God taught you, or how has He shaped you?
My experience of cancer especially is that God is just so eager to bless. I find blessing all over the place, not in the cancer itself but all around it. It would almost be easier to answer what blessings I have not found.
Many people wonder what it will be like when they learn that their death is drawing near. Is there anything that surprises you?
Yes, absolutely, but I think that this is just another one of many, many pieces of divine mercy. One thing that has certainly surprised me is just how easy it has been to absorb that message that I’m going to die soon.
I will probably not survive 2010. Yet that message is much easier to take than I would have expected. I don’t fully understand why. I would have thought that the knowledge that I am very likely in my last year of life would lead me to dwell on the dying. A certain amount of that is unavoidable. Death hangs in the air. It’s as though I am living with an hourglass right in front of my face. You cannot look away from it. You cannot close your eyes to it. It’s always there. But actually I think it has led me to dwell more on the living. It sounds really trite to say that things that seemed like very small matters seem really precious to me now. It’s no novel thought — but, in my case, it really is true.