By David Lee, BCM/D Executive Director
So many times as a pastor I have stood alongside a church member when a doctor relays the news that he has cancer. The “C-word” can be unsettling to even the strongest Christ follower.
The speaking of that word has the capability in one split second of literally rocking a person’s world. Sometimes the best response from those standing by is not a word, but a hug. That moment is not the time for a sermon. It is not a time to repeat a theological discourse on the power of God to change things. Often silence is the best posture for the moment while the patient and those who care most about him catch their collective breath. I discovered time and time again that the real contribution to the family at the time was my presence—not that I personally brought anything to the room. It was the fact that I was there representing a God who knew more and could do more in than moment than anyone else, an anchor in the midst of their storm.
I went for an annual checkup in the beginning of the year. Some of the blood work caused some concern for my primary care doctor. He referred me to my urologist. After examining the tests and doing his own examination and assessment, the urologist turned to me and told me that I had prostate cancer. He had used the “C-word” about me. I now have a much deeper appreciation for the body blow one experiences when the doctor is talking about you! The biopsy confirmed his diagnosis, and as I write this, I am nearly three weeks post surgery.
The recovery is going well. There are still parts of the journey that lay ahead of us. Yet, Sherry and I are confident that God will use each step to teach us and help us grow in Him. A member of our staff gave me an article that had ministered to him and his family as a part of their journey. The title of the piece is “Don’t Waste Your Cancer!” Join me in praying that I will not waste mine.
I am learning so much. My prognosis is good, but this has certainly been a wake-up call. I want to say “thank you” to Maryland/Delaware Baptists for your prayers during our journey. It has been a unique and rewarding experience for Sherry and me to be on the receiving end of your ministry to us. We are so grateful. We are learning so much about life, about ministry, about ourselves and about the God who has been so faithful. I am a living testimony of the sufficiency of God’s grace and stand even firmer in the conviction that God can take all things and make them work together for His purpose and our good.
Here is a short list of things that we are learning or re-learning. Maybe you and I will have time at some point to talk through the longer list.
I have re-learned the sufficiency of God’s grace. I knew that what I preached was true, but the conviction runs even deeper now. I have re-learned the value of family. Sherry is a saint. (I knew that already.) My boys are such fine men. My extended family has been so supportive. I have been reminded that true friends and colleagues are more precious than gold or silver. I have re-learned the value of a church family. Faith Church in Glen Burnie, our home church, has been everything a church family is supposed to be in ministering to Sherry and me through this journey.
I also have the luxury of having a big extended church family thanks to my privilege of serving here. Brothers and sisters in Christ across Maryland/Delaware and literally all over the world have been praying for me. I know that because I have heard from so many of you. I have seen again the awesome power of prayer.
I have learned that some things I thought were important prior to hearing the “C-word” are not so important any more. And some things that I had placed on the back burner of my life and ministry are now priority.
This has been a good time-out for me. I certainly would not relish going through this again, but I would take nothing for what God is teaching me through it all. I continue to pray as I have from the beginning that God would be honored in whatever happens through this journey. What a privilege it is to be a child of the King! Praise His glorious name! What a privilege it is to serve you.