Deep down in my innermost being, I desperately wish I could remove cancer from the dictionary! After watching my grandfather and grandmother both suffer from and ultimately succumb to this awful illness, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even my worst enemy. Despite this deep desire, tonight I find myself again saddened because a dear friend finds himself battling cancer. My friend Mark and I worked together several years ago when I was still with the health department. He was such an inspiration to me during that time and became like a brother. Mark gave me great advice about life, relationships, and faith. He challenged me to appreciate life in a new way. As life would have it, Mark and I both moved on from the health department to bigger and better things, but we’ve continued to keep in touch periodically over the years.
A few months ago, Mark found out he had cancer. As soon as he shared this bit of information with me, tears fell from my eyes. How could such an awful thing happen to such a good guy? Mark’s been through enough already…as a teenager, he was the lone survivor of a car accident that killed his two older brothers! Mark’s a great son, a great husband, a great father, and an avid follower of Christ. In my personal opinion, Mark, of all people, didn’t deserve this. Yet, this is the hand the life has dealt him. Through it all, he and his wife continue to amaze me as they face this struggle with such dignity. After every chemo treatment, they rejoice about the goodness of God and expresses continued thankfulness for God’s mercies through Mark’s treatment despite all they are going through. As Mark now faces radiation treatments many miles away from home, his life story reminds me of Job…when he found out he would need daily radiation treatments for an entire month, his job fired him. So, after losing two brothers, losing a job in the mid-atlantic, leaving family behind and relocating his immediate family to the south for a new job, and being diagnosed with cancer, he gets kicked by his job while he’s down on his luck. I can’t even imagine facing cancer with the stress of knowing you will not have another paycheck coming in, and your health insurance has just been taken away.
Why does God allow things like this to happen? Why does God allow cancer to happen? The easy answer, perhaps, is so we will have a testimony to share one day, but this truth doesn’t make the bitter taste of the low places in life any better in the moment. My heart aches for Mark and his family. Despite the encouraging tones of his words, when I look at his most recent pictures, it’s easy to see how much this latest life challenge has worn on him. He doesn’t look like himself anymore. I share Mark’s story tonight because my heart aches for him. I know our God is faithful, and I fully believe that Mark’s complete healing is just around the corner, but I’m so sad that my friend is facing this all too familiar challenge. I ask that all of you would keep Mark and his family in your prayers…they certainly need all of the prayers they can get in this season of their life journey.
Until next time, be well…