I know that the last few posts have been random in nature—not really connecting whatsoever to the Chibok school girls— but many things have been laid upon my heart as of late, and I wanted to share those things I have been prompted to pray for, hopefully encouraging and inspiring you to pray for and think about these things, as well.
Honestly, one of those things has been cancer. I know that this subject/topic can be a very painful subject to read and think about, so if you feel that this post would trigger you, I would stop reading, now.
As I have been reflecting upon the many people I have known of– but sadly, never knew personally– that have suffered and passed away of cancer, my heart grows heavy. From a toddler with a brain tumor, to a pretty well-known evangelist and speaker passing of stomach cancer, to an older family member who passed from uterine cancer before I was old enough to know her, cancer has ripped people away from the world in what seems to be the prime of their lives.
Remembering the pain and suffering that so many have been through, I am also reminded of something one pastor1 once said: “God hates sin and death.” Hates. Looking at the world, God is grieved when sin and death occur; it was never a part of his original design for this world (Romans 8 speaks more about this fallen world).
The God Who Hates Sin
The first part of this idea, about God hating sin, isn’t new to anyone who has read the Bible. The Bible is chalk-full of verses that display God’s intense hatred for sin; and, when reading these passages without ever asking why He hates sin so much, God can end up looking like a “cosmic kill-joy,” merely an angry God that is against everything that seems to be fun and give life.
But, when one asks the simple question of why God hates this sin so much, it becomes obvious that Christ is not a “cosmic-killjoy” at all. John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The truth of the matter is, Jesus wants us to live the abundant life HE has for us– a life much more abundant than anything we could imagine ourselves! Pastor Dick Foth once said, “Warnings are a call to live more fully.” While sin can look enticing and life-giving, it is a complete and total lie, and will kill you soon enough.
Hebrews 11:25 encourages us to look at Moses’ life, when confronted with either choosing sin, or God’s way: Moses was, initially, in a place of great stature, being the princess’ adopted son (Exodus 2:1-10). But, when seeing that his fellow Hebrews were being beaten and driven to exhaustion and death by the Egyptian slave drivers, he refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter (even though doing so removed his place within Egypt’s royal court, and all that came along with it). In this, he chose “to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). God is not just some angry, far-away deity ready to smite an evildoer; He is a God who shouts to all men, like He did in Matthew 4:17, “Turn away from death—come and live! The Kingdom of God is coming!”
The God who Hates Death
The second part of that idea—that God hates death—can be a bit harder for some to believe. “If God hates death, why does He allow it?” One might ask. This is where freewill takes place. Many places in the Bible speak of both God’s predestination and mankind’s freewill, going hand in hand, such as when Moses asked Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, to no avail, many times (Exodus 3-12). God Himself speaks of this “compatibilism”—the idea that freewill and God’s determinism goes together—in Exodus 11:9, among a plethora of other places:
“The Lord had said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.’”
(Exodus 11:9, NIV)
God foreknowing and predestining Pharaoh to refuse Moses somehow still does not remove Pharaoh’s own responsibility for refusing Moses. It seems impossible; yet, one can see it over and over again in the Bible (such as the relationship between Ephesians 1:5 and John 3:18). God told Adam and Eve what would happen if they ate that forbidden fruit; they ate it, and God’s Word on the matter was true.
But God allowing death does not, in any way, mean He likes it. Ezekiel 33:11 says that God does not delight in the death of a sinner. The fact that God appoints our death in a fallen world (Hebrews 9:27) does not mean he is happy that this death exists. According to one pastor, this is most proven by the Gospel itself: that God, extremely opposed to sin, evil, and death, stepped off His throne in Heaven, and made Himself the least of all people1. He lived a sinless, yet incredibly painful life, and ended up dying the most horrific death possible to redeem those who believe on His work alone for their salvation.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
(Isaiah 53:3, NIV)
God hated sin and death so much that He Himself waged war against them both—and won—on the cross at Calvary, rising from the dead on the third day.
The God Who did Something About Sin & Death
This God, who loves and pursues us despite our sin, will one day come back to Earth, set up an entirely new heaven and new Earth, and will reign as King over everyone and everything.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” (Philippians 2:9-11, NIV)
He will make all things new. No more death, no more crying, no more pain. The old will pass away.
When looking down the tunnel of our future, Believers have both a light at the end of the tunnel—Heaven—and the Light of the World leading them every step of the way. Because of this, there is real Hope, in the face of anything. A Hope beyond death; one that can never be stolen, removed, or ripped away.
The God of Hope & All Comfort
It is because of God’s great sacrifice that we have this Hope in the face of such seemingly hopeless, terrifying prospects of cancer. Where most people think that God is either evil or non-existent because evil, like cancer, exists, the Gospel alone strongly refutes this notion. It is only a Loving, caring, omnipotent God who would provide the only way for people to accept Him, while also allowing mankind the freewill to completely reject His offer.
With Jesus, there is always Hope, always Life (Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 1:3). May those going through the valley of the shadow of death, because of cancer, cling to Him— May we all, no matter what our days bring.
Do you know Jesus?
“I do not need saving,” you may say to yourself. In this day and age, it is said that sin is outdated—and whatever one wants to do is what is right for them.
But sadly, this line of thinking simply does not add up. If it were true, our search for “right” and “wrong” would be a useless endeavor—one we wouldn’t think of making! The fact that people have real, rational disagreements with one another based upon what is right and wrong is proof that there is such a thing: one objective moral law that we all fail.
Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”. Whether you believe it or not, you and I do need saving. Fortunately, God made the way to being saved, through Jesus Christ. Learn more about this Savior, and how He is relevant to the deepest matters of your life, here.
Please pray for (find the prayer sheet for this post here)…
- Those currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Please pray that these people would come to know Christ, would have eternal life in Him, and would have Hope and Comfort that far outshines whatever their circumstances are.
- The loved ones of cancer patients. Please pray that these people, too, would trust in Jesus—and would receive His Comfort throughout this hard time.
- For more advances in the study and treatment of cancer. Pray that cancer would be annihilated; and that God would heal these people however He chooses. He is capable of miracles!!!
- Although this post has little to nothing to do with the Chibok girls, please continue to pray for their release, rescue, and/or freedom. You can find some of their names and pictures, here.
Thank you for your prayers!!! May Jesus come soon. ❤