Someone You Love Will Get Cancer

Or have a heart attack.  Or a stroke.  Someday one of us will be diagnosed. 

I’m not trying to bring in the new year with doom and gloom.  I’m not instilling fear. The point is, we need to prepare our minds before the crisis

We used to listen occasionally to James Montgomery Boice preach, late Sunday nights as we lay in bed in the dark.  His voice was deeper than the ocean and full of gravel.  That voice! I honestly pictured a huge black man like James Earl Jones.  The first time I saw a picture of Boice I about choked.  He was as white bread as could be!  Where did that voice come from?
Curt and I will never forget hearing Pastor James Montgomery Boice’s announcement that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer in 2000.  We were driving in the car and I can remember reaching over to turn up the volume of the radio.  I can see the very farm we passed on our right when I heard these words. 

Boice’s response has been my model–the definitive practical application of the sovereignty of God. Over the years I have searched (and found) the text of his talk.  I’m writing this post so I have a quick way to find it when it is needed. 

The entire text is here.

A relevant question, I guess, when you pray is, pray for what? Should you pray for a miracle? Well, you’re free to do that, of course. My general impression is that the God who is able to do miracles—and he certainly can—is also able to keep you from getting the problem in the first place. So although miracles do happen, they’re rare by definition. A miracle has to be an unusual thing. […]

If I were to reflect on what goes on theologically here, there are two things I would stress. One is the sovereignty of God. That’s not novel. We have talked about the sovereignty of God here forever. God is in charge. When things like this come into our lives, they are not accidental. It’s not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by. […]

Everything he [God] does is good. And what Romans 12, verses1 and 2, says is that we have the opportunity by the renewal of our minds—that is, how we think about these things—actually to prove what God’s will is. And then it says, “His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Is that good, pleasing, and perfect to God? Yes, of course, but the point of it is that it’s good, pleasing, and perfect to us. If God does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good. So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward, and who knows what God will do?

Boice died a little more than a month after he said these words.  Wow.  Thank you, Lord God, for your servant, James Montgomery Boice.

Please pray for my friend Sonya who mentioned in the comments that her husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

Related post:  After the Diagnosis


6 thoughts on “Someone You Love Will Get Cancer

  1. Sobering…and wise. My sister, two years younger than I, was diagnosed with 4th stage melanoma two years ago — after intense treatment, today she is a survivor — and more mature in her faith and realistic in her outlook and stable in the dailiness of life.

  2. thank you Carol –  it is good to be in the company of people who know and love the Lord, and who share His words (a thought: communion is sharing).  

  3. Yes, a faithful friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer this year; and even though I see illness/disease every day (at work), I fear I will be unprepared for an event.It would do my heart good to contemplate this post more carefully.  Thanks for bringing up the topic.

  4. Carol,Thank you for sharing this. Trials certainly challenge our perspective. It is amazing how often we ‘think’ we have our beliefs screwed on correctly, then find we have some serious twists in our understanding. Thank you, also, for adding your comment and the link to this article to my site. I certainly hope others will read James Boice’s comment. I pray, when I face the next challenge, I will be closer to responding in a similar light.BTW – Congradulations on the two young Bakker boys. (when did they arrive?) I do hope you get to see Carson and Taren’s son soon.  I suspect you will see Noah before I see my new granddaughter – Savannah. I’m still just hoping for some pictures!God bless!

  5. Some of my elder friends have got cancer but most of them still live optimistically. Sickness or death is a natural thing just like birth but I still feel sad when it happen…

  6. Having had melanoma myself, and now my friend who has had a recurrence (she had it in her eye the first time; now it’s in her lungs and liver) has kept my perspective constantly changing, questioning, wanting to know why?, giving in to the realization that I may never know why or if I do it will be a long way in the future, living in the NOW of it all, working constantly on acceptance, crying ahead of time at my loss of a dear friend, worrying that someday it might come back in my body, knowing ultimately that God is perfecting me in these hard things in my life….all in all, it’s a long process, I think.

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