A Joy Bigger Than Cancer
At the center of God’s revelation is not a secret about how to live a lengthy, self-sufficient and secure life. We’ve been united to Christ by the Spirit to follow the way of the crucified Lord. On this path, we do not seek out suffering for its own sake, but we do expect for the God of Jesus Christ to be active in the most unlikely places: on the path of suffering, on a path hidden from the light of worldly glory. We are a people who take up our crosses to follow Christ.
And this is not a joyless path.
Instead, when we follow the path of prayer with the psalmist, we shed tears of joy and celebration as well as tears of lament. Lamenting and hoping in God with the psalmist is a practice that runs counter to our consumer culture. Rather than soaking in self-satisfaction or self-pity, in these seasons of sorrow we find our affections reshaped by God—we delight in what delights God, we grieve over what grieves him. It is a joy that is bigger than cancer.
The Psalms are doing this for me, fixing my eyes upon God’s promises and God’s mighty acts—in the past, and in the incredible blessings of life and breath in each moment I have now. Indeed, even though we join the Spirit in grieving at the corruption of God’s creation through tragedies like cancer, we can hope that since our Lord is the crucified and risen one who broke the power of death, he can work even in the midst of what seems to be senseless suffering in our lives.
For now, joy and lament go together in our lives. For as we cry to God “out of the depths,” we also trust that “with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” (Psalm 130:7).
And as we walk Christ’s cross-shaped path, we will continue to groan with the Spirit until Christ returns (Romans 8:23). We groan and we also rejoice with the psalmists in God’s faithful love. For God is bigger than cancer.