Monday, October 6, 2008

On Cancer and Anger

Blake Harwell, who serves as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Clinton, SC, is my friend and was both my successor and predecessor as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Adel, GA (that's a long story). Blake's wife Dana has been undergoing treatment for cancer. Blake has been good to send email updates to friends about how Dana is doing. Recently, one of his friends asked Blake why he did not display more anger in his messages. What follows is Blake's answer, which I post with his permission. It merits reading.

Hey David,

Thank you for your frank and honest question. My answer? I don't know.

Maybe I'm not facing reality. Maybe I'm in denial. But I don’t think either of those is the case.

I choose to look and see what good things God is doing in my life. And, despite what Dana's going through, despite what my family is experiencing, I can't help but see the light of God's goodness shining through.

This picture just came into my head: I couldn't see the stars except for the blackness behind them. I can't see them during the day b/c there's TOO MUCH light. The only way they get highlighted is when the darkness is allowed to intrude. And, David, I LOVE the stars!

Dana's illness is dark, no doubt. The intrusion of such an insidious disease on the finest woman I know does strike me as unfair. It does make me want to ask the "why?" questions of God. Yet, in the midst of what has happened, goodness, LIGHT has been shown in places I never knew it existed before! People have responded with such wonderful caring. God has shown himself to be SO sufficient. I'm seeing more stars than I've ever seen before. And it's all because of the darkness.

One more thing: just b/c I'm not asking in my e-mails the question/s you're asking doesn't mean I don't ask them. It's just that there's a theme that is stronger, a more dominant melody playing. I think of those anthems in which a composer includes a strong melody line but, at the same time, there's a subordinate melody (maybe even a more familiar tune) played underneath all that is going on. In my life right now, the stronger melody is of God's goodness to us. That doesn't mean there's nothing else going on. It just means the minor chord "cancer melody" is not controlling the movement of the "piece" (my life).

I don't know if that makes any sense at all. I'm tearing up as I write it. Because David there is pain. More truthfully, there's fear. It's just not (thanks to Christ) where I live MOST of the time.

Why? Because God is so good.


Please pray for Dana and Blake and their two girls.

1 comment:

Gary Snowden said...


Thanks for passing along Blake's thoughts and how he's coping with Dana's cancer. The imagery of the dominant melody blocking out the minor chord "cancer melody" was a powerful one. I will pray for them right now.