When someone that you love is as sick as my little brother is, it’s easy to think of a clean bill of health as the very best thing. It’s understandable, really—there is nothing that I would not trade to see Ian healed of the cancer that wracks his body, and I am confident that there are people that you love of whom you would say the same. But as my family walks through the hell that is cancer, I become more and more convinced that health is not, in fact, the very best thing.
Please don’t misunderstand me—I long for Ian to be healed. I pray fervently for that very thing every single day. But you see, there’s a tension as I sit and wait with my little brother. It would be simple for me to muddy the idea of redemption from our circumstances and redemption from our sins. As my family spends our days anxiously awaiting the next round of test results, I desperately want to believe that God’s best plan for my family is Ian’s physical healing. The reality, however, is that our need—your need—is so much deeper than that.
You and I and Ian aren’t sick people that need healthy bodies– we are dead people that need life breathed into them. At the end of the day, our deepest need is not for healthy bodies, it is for life! Before Jesus, we are hopelessly dead in our sins. Dead. Have you ever thought about that? A dead man can do nothing for himself—he is beyond help. Forgotten. Lost. With each passing day, his memory grows more and more faint until nobody remembers that he ever existed at all. He is of no consequence, and certainly nobody would ever think to try and revive him. There is, after all, no hope for a dead man.
You and I are DEAD without Jesus– and our ONLY hope rests in God mercifully, lovingly, rescuing sinners like us that deserved to be forever left in the death of their rebellion. Our hope is in Immanuel-God WITH us! A holy God coming to earth to live the life that we could not live, and die the death that we deserved to die. By taking our place, Jesus has reconciled sinful man to a holy God. And even in the midst of cancer I will tell you that more than promising test results, more than an immune system that works, more than remission and a clean bill of health-we need Jesus. We need Him to take us from death to life.
As 2013 looms before you, I don’t know what your “cancer” is. I do know that the hopelessness that strangles us is the ugly fruit of our inability to trust that God is incapable of being anything but good to us, and that His mercies are new every single morning. And while God’s goodness towards us is not always what we want, it is always what we need. Joy is a defiant “Nevertheless” in the face of unspeakable pain. Cancer may wrack our bodies, but there is a God that sees, pursues, and loves us with an everlasting love. If He knows every curly blonde hair that used to be on Ian’s head, He certainly saw us shave them all off. And while I don’t know much, I know that Jesus loves Ian more than I do. And I know what Ian and I need most is Jesus. A healthy body means nothing if our souls are dead.
If you don’t know Jesus-really know Him—He is what you need. More than rescue from your circumstances, you need to be brought from death to life.
We won’t stop confessing He is good and we won’t stop thanking Him for grace and we won’t stop holding out our hands — and taking His hand. We won’t stop believing that ‘God is good’ is not some trite quip for the good days but a radical defiant cry for the terrible days. That ‘God is good’ is not a stale one-liner when all’s happy but a saving lifeline when all’s hard.” -Ann Voskamp