Cancer. For such a small word, it sure does carry a lot of weight. A lot of fear. A lot of sorrow.
We all know that cancer doesn’t care who it touches or how it affects their lives or how much pain and destruction it leaves in its wake. It doesn’t care how old or young or rich or poor the person is. It doesn’t care how much life they still have to live.
Cancer overtook two friends of our family in the last two weeks. One was a man in his prime who won’t see his only grandson reach high school. The other was a boy who will never finish first grade. Neither one seems at all fair.
I don’t know what to say about either case, except that’s it hard to know what to say. There are times when the hurt and anger and injustice boil over and it’s easy to scream or cry or throw things. But there are other times when the void is so big that nothing will come out. Everything is so awful you can’t put it into words.
I hurt so much for their families, but any words that come to mind seem so flimsy I’m not even sure what to pray, let alone actually say out loud. God keeps reminding me of Romans 8:26 that says when we don’t know what to say, the Holy Spirit will intercede with wordless groans for us. I thank Him so much for that. This is definitely one of those times when I can only go to God and say, “My mind can’t wrap around the words to say to you, or to them. So will you just take it from me and give them whatever it is they need? Because you know exactly what they need and I don’t have a clue.”
And He reminds me that what I’m asking is exactly His specialty. No matter what we want to say or scream at Him, He’s big enough to take it … even the mean and ugly stuff. No matter how empty we are, He can fill the void like no one and nothing else. No matter what we need, His love and compassion are the perfect prescription.
It sounds like a pat answer that would have more of a Band-Aid effect than true healing. But that’s when He reminds me that He binds up the brokenhearted and heals their wounds (Psalm 147:3). And that His thoughts aren’t always the same as ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). And that, in the end, the insidious disease called cancer hasn’t really won after all. Our friends have won because now they’re whole and pain-free in heaven (Revelation 21:4).
And, as painful as things might be for those of us left behind, it’s hard to deny them a beautiful eternity. We’ll just look forward to seeing them again someday.