Hate is a strong word. It’s a word that we don’t use often in our home, definitely not in reference to people although occasionally toward unfavorable food.
But I do hate cancer.
My mom was recently diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer called Merkel Cell Carcinoma. In the days following her diagnosis my family all gathered around her and prepared ourselves for the worst. We cried, we laughed, we shared memories and talked about really tough decisions.
I knew that cancer would touch my life. Statistics say 1 in 3 people will develop a cancer of some kind in their lifetime. My Dad and my Father in Law had cancer removed from their skin successfully and a friend of ours recently beat colon cancer.
When my Mom’s test results came back, we were beyond relieved to hear that they caught the cancer in time and that, with treatment, she will recover.
As I shaved what was left of her hair off yesterday after her 5th chemo treatment, I thought about how grateful I am that there is hope and a future for my mom. That her hair will eventually grow back and life will go on.
But what about those who are losing the fight or are still unsure which way the battle will go? Don’t they have hope and a future too?
Yes. Yes, they absolutely do.
I recently got to know 16 year old Jeremiah Thomas by following his story on Facebook. This March he was diagnosed with cancer and now, the doctors have released him to go home. There’s nothing more they can do to help him, it’s in God’s hands now, the cancer has spread too far.
Did I mention I hate cancer?
My heart breaks for families dealing with the final stages of cancer and I realize how lucky we are that my mom is improving, though she still has more treatment to undergo.
But how do we process and understand and accept that others aren’t recovering? If I’m honest, the thing I hate most about cancer is that it so often leads to death. So maybe what I really hate is death.
I get so narrowed minded about my tiny little life here on earth. I get angry when life ends too soon. I so easily forget the promises of Heaven and a nearness to Jesus that will someday be tangible.
Our hope and our future, whether we’re healthy or sick, is Jesus. And every moment we have on this earth is an opportunity to please Him, to point others to Him, and to prepare for an incredible reunion with Him someday when He’ll say, “We’ll done.”.
16 year old Jeremiah Thomas asked the Make A Wish foundation for a meeting with the Texas governor so he could plead for the right to Life for unborn babies in our state. The dying wish of one young man was to save the lives of thousands of children, and it was granted. Governor Abbott committed to fighting to end abortion during his term.
Jeremiah has shared that if God does not heal him, he’s ready to go home. He wants to make the most of whatever time he has but he’s ready.
Will we make our lives, however short or long, count for something bigger than ourselves?
I pray that I will live my life every day for something bigger than myself. I pray I will have the faith and courage of Jeremiah when my time comes close. I pray that I learn not to hate and fear the battles of life and death but embrace every moment with hope in my future with Christ.
I imagine Jeremiah someday, sitting near Jesus, leaning against his shoulder, soaking in His presence. I imagine the pride in Jesus’ face as He looks down at this son that he dearly loves.
“Well done, Jeremiah.” He’ll say. “You have entered into your hope and your future and I am so proud of you.”
You are an example to all of us Jeremiah. I am humbled at how you choose not to focus on a hate for your circumstances like I did but instead on a love for Life, and serving your savior with every breath He gives you. You have touched so many.
Well done Jeremiah. Well done.