Below is a letter that I wrote to our church family at Heritage. Dan Brooks read it to the congregation this morning as part of the worship service.
Dear Heritage Family,
Psalm 136.1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good, because his mercy endures forever.” When I read this psalm nearly two weeks ago, I wrote in my Bible these words from the Heidelberg Catechism: “All things must be subservient to my salvation.” Little did I know that a day later I would find out about one of the “all things” God has ordained for me.
I would like to begin by thanking those of you who have expressed concern in the last few months about my cough. A number of you have encouraged me to have it checked out, and I am glad for your words of love. It looks like we’ve finally determined the cause.
After a CT scan three weeks ago, a PET scan two weeks ago, and a biopsy just this past Thursday, the doctors have determined that I have cancer. To be more specific, I have lymphoma. As you can imagine, this was not the news Kimberly and I were hoping for, but we are very grateful that God has revealed my diagnosis. Given my age and relative health, the odds that treatment will be successful are high.
Our hope, however, does not lie in doctors’ predictions. Our gracious and good God has brought the cancer, and he remains our confidence. Kimberly and I long for God to glorify himself through us in whatever way he pleases—and we know he will.
The grace that our Lord has already sent our way has been remarkable. Consider this: I first learned that I probably had cancer nearly two weeks ago, June 17. Still a bit stunned from the news, I was sent to a nearby lab to have some blood work done. I had taken a book with me to the doctor’s office, so when I arrived at the lab, I opened my book and continued reading. Here are the first words I read:
“The fact that God owns the universe implies that he is the rightful ruler of creation. He has the authority to govern the world as he sees fit, and we are in no position to argue with him: ‘Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker’ (Isa. 45:9). As the legitimate ruler of the universe, God is able to establish an order in creation. He is at liberty to organize things in a certain way, and this is precisely what he has done” (Pierced for Our Transgressions, 108).
What a gracious providence of our God! To arrange my reading so that I would come to those very words at that very moment. Our God is great!
As you think of us, please pray that God would send wave after wave of his grace. Pray that we would have the physical and spiritual strength to fulfill all that the Lord has for us at this time. And above all, pray that God would be glorified—that our estimation of who God is and what he has done would skyrocket—as a result of my illness.
Grace and peace to you,