contentment in the midst of cancer

Merriam-Webster defines contentment as the quality or state of being contented.  That’s not much help … content is defined as satisfied.

Sunday night I tweeted, “The last year with cancer has been the most content year of my life … thank you Lord!”

Monday morning in small group at Chick-fil-A, my beloved brother Adam asked me the question, “How is that possible?”  He wasn’t challenging my tweet … he was challenging me to be prepared to answer the question when sharing my testimony of contentment.

So tonight (most of posts are written the night before they appear on the blog), I’m drilling down to better understand what Scripture reveals about being content and being satisfied … I’ll simply share the passages and then give a quick recap …

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”  Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith  Philippians 3:7-9 (ESV)

Before recapping, apart from Jesus I can do nothing (John 15:5) but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  Apart from Christ I have no doubt I would be in the midst of discontentment if not already dead … instead with God I find myself in the midst of contentment …

So what is revealed in the passages above how contentment is possible:

  • Contentment is first and foremost by the grace of God
  • Contentment is only possible by the power of Christ
  • Contentment is not situation or circumstance dependent
  • Contentment is found in the presence (and promises) of Christ Jesus
  • Contentment is found through faith IN Christ not fear
  • Contentment is found in knowing Christ Jesus as Lord

Above Paul basically said that when I am weak, I am made strong by the power of Christ … I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied … a righteousness found only by faith IN Christ Jesus.

Are you seeing a common theme … found IN a person?

Over the past year, my weakness was found in adjusting to life with a colostomy bag … my weakness was found in the side effects of bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments … my weakness was found in the presence of cancer on my right lung and on my colon … my weakness was found in the ever present threat of what cancer can do … my weakness was found in facing the possibility I might not grow old with my precious wife … my weakness was found in facing the possibility I might not see my children and grandchildren grow and mature … my weakness was found in attempting to remain productive at work and continue to be a breadwinner in the midst of all these things …

And the power of Christ is made perfect in my weakness.

Let me repeat …

“The last year with cancer has been the most content year of my life … thank you Lord!”

Bernie

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About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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2 Responses to contentment in the midst of cancer

  1. jimdavenport says:

    Bernie my brother, God continues to give you insight beyond that of a mere mortal. Your writings encourage me every day. The contentment I perceive in Paul’s writings offer me encouragement as well … especially the concept that teaches the Christian that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Contentment in this phase of our life with the Lord in much easier to attain with acceptance of this Biblical truth. Press on my friend! Jim D.

    • bwebbjr says:

      Thanks Jim … any insight you perceive in these posts is but wisdom granted by God through the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit and what He reveals through Scripture. I am overqualified as a fool and unqualified as wise … which apparently fits perfectly in God’s plan. I truly believe and embrace the truth that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden IN our Lord Christ Jesus and He longs for us to mine those treasures that He might reveal them to us … his children. Our hope is IN Christ!

      Be blessed IN Christ Jesus, His love and His words brother – He IS faithful!

      Bernie

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