You have heard the expression that you should expect the best and prepare for the worst. I thought about this expression as I sat with a cancer patient and he told me about his situation. He has been battling his cancer since 2012. He was a candidate to receive a liver transplant and was being prepared to receive a donor liver when it was discovered that he had more tumors. At this point he was declared ineligible to receive a new liver. Since that time he has continued to receive chemo in hopes of keeping his cancer at bay.
He wanted to talk to a chaplain so I came and sat down with him. He told me that he believes in medicine and believes that he should use the treatments that are available but he also believes that God can work miracles. He showed me some books and pamphlets that said if you have faith and believe that God can do wondrous things you will indeed be able to move mountains. He wondered what I thought about these pamphlets. He wondered if I believed that this could happen for him. He wondered if I would back him in his hopes for a miracle cure.
I could feel how much this man wanted to live. I wanted to believe that he could somehow miraculously be cured but I also wanted him to find a way to look realistically at the seriousness of his situation. So I shared with him the time when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane and he was praying that He wouldn’t have to drink the cup of suffering by dying on the cross. Sweating blood and agonizing over what lay before Him He asked that the cup might pass from Him. And yet ultimately He prayed “Thy will not mine be done”.
I said to this man you are telling God what you want right now. You are asking Him to perform a miracle and take your cancer away. This is your will. Until you know what God’s will is you can pray this prayer. You can hope for a cure. You can believe that it is possible. As things unfold and God makes His will more clear then you will know if you need to say “Thy will not mine be done”.
This was my way of trying to tell this man that he should expect the best but prepare for the worst. If he takes care of his affairs and makes his funeral preparations and makes his peace and his cancer goes away he is still ready for the day when he leaves this world. But if he doesn’t take care of making his peace with himself and his God then he will not be ready for his end when it comes.
This man and I formed a bond as we talked about his hopes and his fears. We have agreed to talk some more in the days to come. I am hoping that he will find his miracle but I am also doing everything I can to prepare him for the worst and to discover that dying and going to be with God is not really the worst thing that can happen. God bless all of you who are ministering to people who are also running out of things that they can do to remain on this earth for one more day.