This post was originally written two years ago on Thanksgiving Eve (November 23, 2011). At the time, it was a scant three months since my colostomy surgery, my diagnosis with stage IV metastatic colon cancer and the start of chemotherapy. While I was in a time and a place of great uncertainty I had an overwhelming sense of great assurance. I’ll hush now and let this post out of the past speak for itself …
This morning I am considering the word thanksgiving and how it is used in Scripture … while a sacrifice of thanksgiving is frequently referenced in the OT, I specifically like what is written in the Psalms …
‘The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me …’ Psalm 50:23a (ESV)
‘I will praise the name of God with a song, I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.’ Psalm 69:30 (ESV)
‘And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy.’ Psalm 107:22 (ESV)
And in his letter to the Thessalonians Paul wrote …
Pray without ceasing,
Give thanks in ALL circumstances;
For this is the will of God IN Christ Jesus FOR you.’
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
So it would appear to me that …
Giving thanks for my cancer glorifies and magnifies God.
While all the time, transforming me IN Christ Jesus according to the will of God FOR me.
So here’s my thanksgiving list …
I give thanks for my cancer because of how it is drawing me closer and closer IN to Christ Jesus … I am constantly sensing His presence.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how it is constantly testing, growing and maturing my faith.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how I sense Jesus carrying me through both the side effects of chemo and through the cancer … chemo and cancer bring you to the end of yourself.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how appreciative it makes me for every day of life on this earth I have already lived and for every day of life yet to be lived.
I give thanks for my cancer because “to live is Christ but to die is gain.”
I give thanks for my cancer because of how it is renewing and strengthening IN Christ my marriage and my relationship with my wife.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how it is reconnecting me with so many friends I had grown apart from.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how it is opening doors, ears and minds for me to speak boldly of Christ Jesus and His work in the midst!
I give thanks for my cancer because of how many faith conversations it prompts daily.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how the strength of Jesus lifts me up to exercise and build up my strength IN Him.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how it is unifying those around me to go to the Lord in prayer … regardless of what they are praying for.
I give thanks for my cancer because of how in the midst of it, no matter where I go, I’m receiving hugs from the body of Christ.
I give thanks for my cancer and the fact that in today I have the gift of another day of life with my wife, my family and my friends.
I give thanks for my cancer because in the midst of it I do sense that God is being magnified and glorified.
I give thanks for the blessing of cancer.
Let me close with a few quotes from Samuel Rutherford I have encountered in The Loveliness of Christ that I find encouraging in the midst of all this …
‘I find his sweet presence eateth out the bitterness of sorrow and suffering.’
‘I find it a sweet and rich thing to exchange my sorrows with Christ’s joys, my afflictions with that sweet peace I have with himself.’
‘Glorify the Lord in your sufferings, and take his banner of love, and spread it over you. Others will follow you, if they see you strong IN the Lord; their courage shall take life from your Christian carriage.’
‘God knoweth that you are his own. Wrestle, fight, go forward, watch, fear, believe, pray; and then ye have all the infallible symptoms of one of the elect of Christ within you.’
Oh Lord, open my eyes to all your great works in my life and in the midst of my battle with cancer I am to be thankful for!
Thank you Lord!!!