Greetings friends of Camp Daniel and The Able Church. Much has happened in my life in the last 6 months – starting with my diagnosis of having cancer in March. In the past when people talked about cancer or even spoke of their own experience with cancer, I wouldn’t really know how to relate to what they were going through. But all that has changed and now when I hear of someone with cancer I want to ask the many questions on how they are doing and the specifics of what they are going through. For me, the chemo and radiation treatments were difficult, but thankfully done at this point. After loosing 35 pounds and working through the effects of these treatments, I now have a whole new appreciation for what others go through when they are treated for cancer.
As we go through hardship, the common thought many of us have is, “Why me?” That topic is deep in its theological application and has many things to consider in its answer. 1 Corinthians 1:4 says – He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. Though I don’t know why this happened, I do know that it will give me a greater appreciation for good health and a greater empathy for those who are struggling with their own afflictions. As a Pastor, comforting others is an important role that needs sensitivity and compassion. Having gone through this experience, I can say it has changed my life forever in relating to others with major health issues. I’m not ever willing to say that God has given cancer to me for this purpose, but to the extent that he allowed it has cause me to know that this too is working together for my good, as said in Romans 8:28. I don’t think Christ ever wastes an opportunity for us to identify in some way to his own suffering so that we have a greater appreciation for what He endured for us. The amazing part of Jesus’ story is that He endured extreme suffering, bearing the cost of our own sinfulness, so that we could be forgiven of our own sins and experience eternal life in heaven.
So my asking why has pretty much stopped and I’m now focused on how I can bring something good out of it all by reaching out to others who are suffering. I also think this experience has changed me significantly enough that it will reshape many of my messages at Able Church going forward.
The other thing I have learned is to become more dependent on others and how that can be a positive thing as well. My Camp Daniel friends and staff really stepped forward during my treatments when I couldn’t be at Able. With Laura Lee leading at Able during this time and others playing expanded roles, things came off without much of a hitch. It’s comforting to know that we have so many talented and willing people that are obedient to whatever call God makes for the moment. Lastly, many thanks for all the prayers said on my behalf by all of you. I know those prayers were significant in my treatment and recovery and very much appreciated.
Blessings and love – Pastor Tim of The Able Church