Well, recently I learned that along time friend of the family/neighbor has cancer. I'm angry!! I'm angry at disease, cancer, sickness, evil, crime!!! I'm not angry at God. Look what He allowed Job to go through and how much stronger it made him in the long run. I'm just angry at God's people being attacked and right now, the biggest weapon seems to be cancer.
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
It just seems like some of us should have so much more patience by now! Every time I hear these stories, it opens up old wounds. And as crazy as this sounds, I'm thankful for that. Had I not gone through with my dad what I did, all I could do is feel sorry for someone going through something similar. But now, I can not only sympathize, I can empathize. I want to cradle every daddy's girl in this world who has a sick father or who is watching him suffer or who has lost their daddy! I want to wrap my arms around them and cry with them. And though I miss my father, had I not gone through that, I would never know how it feels. I would never understand the so many emotions that runs through a daddy's girls head. Now, I understand that. I feel that. I'll be honest with you, it hurts. Everyday it hurts but everyday I hear stories of it happening to other children and now I know how to pray for them.
I've never really shared with many people the plethora of emotions that went on in me as I went through dads battle with him. I do pray that everyone reading this that is going through something similar will have a different outcome than I did though but here is my story.
When I was in 10th grade, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prognosis seemed to be pretty good at first. They thought they'd be able to get everything with surgery. Well, when the dr. FINALLY came in to talk to mom and dad after surgery, he apologized for operating on him. He said had he known it had spread as much as it had, he would have never done the surgery. I cried, I screamed, I hit things, I was over taken with anger. I was angry at God. I had told God if He took my daddy from me now, I wouldn't forgive him. That my idea of a God that loved and cared for everyone would be gone because how could He love and care for everyone if he allowed MY dad to die when there were rapists and pedophiles, and murderers, and thieves out there living a life of crime DAILY!!! Why my dad?? A man of God that had a heart for all of God's children. A man that taught me that God is color blind. He doesn't look at the outward appearance of anyone, all He see's is their heart and all our hearts bleed red. A man that taught me that though we had little, there were others that had even less that we should be willing to give of what we did have to help someone else in need. A man who would stop and put a quarter in one of those little mechanical horses just to see a smile on a child's face that may not have had a reason to smile lately. A man that never missed one of my soccer practices or games or basketball games or homecoming events even though at times, he worked three jobs to put food on our table, a roof on our head, and clothes on our back....WHY???? I truly told God that if He took my father from me at such a young age in my life, I would turn my back on everything I was raised up believing. Would I have really??? I can't answer that but with the amount of anger I was feeling at the time, I probably would have. I was angry that my dad wouldn't see me graduate high-school, get married, have children. My father was the best grandpa and I wanted my kids to be able to experience that from him. He LOVED his grand babies dearly and you should have seen the smile that came across his face every time he got tot spend time with one, or share in their birthdays. I knew my kids would be his only grand kids that he didn't get to meet.
Anyone who is familiar with prostate cancer knows that part of the treatment is lupron (SP?) shots, Having your PSA counts tested frequently which indicates if the surgery and treatment is working or if the cancer is spreading. The lower the number the better. If I remember correctly, between 0-3 is where it should be normally in a cancer free patient. Dads was, I think, 16. Well, with his treatments, that number started dropping. It kept dropping. One night at Church, God laid it on my heart to stand in for my father for prayer. I was so angry how could I? I decided to make a bargain with God. ( I don't advise this....lol God is greater than our wants and desires) I told Him fine, I would go before the Church and have the pastors and elders lay hands on me and pray for my father but if it did not work, I wouldn't be going back. Though I know that would have hurt me in the long wrong more than it would God, He came through. My dads PSA counts continued to drop. I think one of the last counts he had taken was 0. something. It wasn't 0 but it wasn't 1 either which is AMAZING for someone who's dr. had apologized for operating on him and only given him a short time to live. After a while of shots and testing, the dr.'s pretty much gave my dad a clean bill of health and charted his results as a miracle. Needless to say, I cried some more and thanked God for upholding His end of the bargain. I'm truly convinced that my dads first battle with cancer saved my life (my soul.....as far as eternity goes). I think God gave Him a "lease on life" for my sake and I have a feeling maybe for a few others sakes as well. I know I wasn't the only one struggling with the thought of losing him. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one questioning God either. So I guess you can say that my dads struggle saved my life.
Fast forward a few years. My dad starts having a lot of stomach issues. Upset stomach, bowels weren't working, just not feeling well at all. My dad always believed you shouldn't go to the dr. unless you were dying and according to him, an upset stomach wasn't going to kill him (the only reason he went several years earlier is his work made him go get a routine physical). I think he went months like this. He finally felt so bad that he gave in and went. By this point, I had done a lot of growing. Both emotionally as well as spiritually. Dad coming through is first battle with cancer really taught me to rely on God and place concerns, needs, and fears at the cross. Leave them at the altar. God is better at working things out than anyone else so I learned I needed to cast fears before Him and leave them there. God can't work things out if we keep laying our needs at His feet and then picking them back and taking them back with us once we get up off our knee's. For God to do what He wants and needs to do for us, we have to leave our needs on the altar and never look back. If you take your car to a mechanic, he can fix it if once you've told him the problem, you get back in it and drive it back home. I was trying to google the verse that reads something like this, "Cast your cares upon Him, for He truly cares for you...." but google appears to be down right now. LOL
ANYWAY, dad finally goes to the dr. and the news isn't good. He has cancer again. HOWEVER, tests show that it is not the cancer he had before. It is a new cancer but he had waited so long, the only treatment he was really offered was Chemo and radiation. He went through one round of chemo and radiation and when they wanted him to do more, he chose not to. He said it was only making him feel sicker and he was going to trust God was going to heal him again. What we had to watch him go through in the next few months was not pretty at all. There are times I can still smell the stench of death. Most of us knew it was his time to go before dad really did. I wish I knew where I stored the letter I wrote him because it really explains more how I felt at the time than my memory can. I can just tell you there was peace. Peace that passes all understanding. Yes there was hurt but there was no anger...not at God or my dad anyway. The anger at cancer will always be there but I realized that when my dad had cancer before, I was being selfish. I wanted dad around for me. for MY wedding, and MY kids and though most people would think that's a normal reaction, I realized it really was a selfish request. I think we all have a time when God calls us home an that we don't know that time for a reason. If we did, we'd spend our lives trying to cheat death or trying to find a way to extend our time or rush things to happen and cheat ourselves of what could be a great life. In those few years between cancer 1 and cancer 2, Gods words and promises became more real to me. I realized God would still always be my father and would always be there. He is the Father to the fatherless. He tells us that in His word. I just had to lean on Him more. I can't explain the peace I had this time around. I just know something in me had changed. I had allowed God to do a work on me and show me things in a new way. I think most of us ( family...mom, me, brothers and sisters) knew it was dads time to go before dad did. I could tell at times dad felt we were giving up on him but we didn't. We just realized that whatever is meant to be is what we would allow to happen. We would have been delighted had God chose to heal him again. We would be sad if God chose to take him home but at the same time delighted that he would not be suffering anymore. The last several weeks of dads life was amazing. He was seeing into the Heavens. He would try to explain to us what he was seeing but he couldn't. Words can't explain the beauty we will behold when we are at home with our Savior. He was seeing people who had gone before him. He would be in a coma for a couple of days and then someone would come over and pray for him and he'd sit up in bed, say a prayer in return for that person, lay back down and was back in a coma. It was amazing, miraculous, inspiring .......it was peaceful.
I miss my daddy. Everyday I miss him. I have a son that is a daily reminder of him. His genes were strong. All the boys in our family look like a Thompson. hahaha! All his grandsons look like him. I have my inheritance from him. His Bible that he took many notes in and marked in and had papers and scribbles and sermon notes in. That is the best thing I could have gotten from him. That and his love of Christ and others. I have great memories of him that can never be taken and just when I feel some of the memories are fading, something happens or I hear something that reminds me yet again.
If you have a loved one that is sick or going through something similar, please don't take this as saying that it is inevitable and that this is going to kill them. I didn't write this to say that. I wrote this to say that when you need God most, whether you realize it or not, He's there! Sometimes we just have to change the way we see things and try seeing them through God's eyes and not human natures eyes.
I had to learn to pray God's will and not mine.
Psalm 55:22 -- Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
1 Peter 5:6-7 -- Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may e...xalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.