One year ago I received the bad news that my cancer was back, and since then I’ve lost a few kilograms, gained a few kilograms, had a longish break from chemotherapy after a bad reaction to a dosage, and recently I’ve just resumed chemo with a different drug.
A number of my medical consultants have suggested counselling, since obviously one pathway I might have to shortly tread is death, but because I have God’s word, a minister and a church family, I feel I have all I need.
As I reflect on how I’m doing, I’m surprised at how relaxed I am… but I know that the main game is the spiritual one.
Even though I’m now sleeping better, I’ve found wakeful periods to be a good time to read my Bible. I’m concentrating on the longish books, like Isaiah and Psalms in the Old Testament, and Romans, Hebrews, Revelation, in the New Testament.
I’m reminding myself that the Bible is all about God’s promises which are revealed to us in the Old Testament with their partial fulfilment, and then they are fully fulfilled in the New Testament.
Reading the Bible enables us to, “set our minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:6.)
In fact, Romans 8 is a sustained discussion on suffering for the Christian: as always, Paul’s thinking is based on the death of Jesus for our sins (verses 1 to 4), then comes the resurrection of the believer (verse 11) based on Christ (verses 1 to 4.)
All of creation is shot through with suffering (verses 22 and following), but the Christian’s response ought to be prayer (verse 26) and trusting in the goodness of God, no matter how dire the circumstances.
As Paul so memorably concludes: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)