Cancer Journal (08.06.29)

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,

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24 Responses to Cancer Journal (08.06.29)

  1. danielseely says:

    Matt,Be assured that we will be praying for you and your family as you travel this God-ordained road. God’s grace will be sufficient for you during this time and we trust that you indeed will magnify God’s greatness through this trial. Dan & family

  2. Michael says:

    Matt,Your post magnifies the wisdom of our God. I will be praying for you.mpr

  3. Heather says:

    Oh! Matt and Kimberly!I will be praying!! Already doing so! I love you both so very much and trust that God is good even though I do not understand this and even though I do not know what He is doing through this! I am so glad that we can trust Him in times like these!!And as Hannah’s little Sunday school verse says, “Be strong and brave, because God is with you!” – Joshua 1:9We love you! Please let us know how we can be of help to you!Heather and the kids

  4. You have already honored the Lord with your cancer, friend, and I am confident that you will continue to do so. I praise the Lord that you are humbly resting in His sovereignty. His grace is indeed sufficient for you and His strength will continue to shine forth in your weakness.Be assured of my prayers, both for your healing and for the Lord’s glory.Ps 40:16Chris

  5. Dave says:

    I was reminded today of something I heard Piper say about being wary of pronouncements of God’s goodness because He is always good and merciful toward His people. There are sweet providences and there are bitter providences, but all are good providences. Amen. Praying for you and your family.

  6. Denny Burk says:

    Matt, Thanks for your testimony, brother. I appreciate it very much.Blessings,Denny Burk

  7. Matt,Charisse and I will be praying for you.Jared Compton

  8. Dan Winnberg says:

    Matt, We will be praying for you.dan

  9. AJ Gibson says:

    Matt, thank you for sharing your letter. Please be assured that we will be praying for you in this time that you will find God’s grace to be completely sufficient and that His power will be made perfect in your weakness. God bless you, brother!AJ & Ruth Gibson

  10. Anonymous says:

    We will be praying for you and you family.Leigh Ann Meachum Bockle

  11. sonofswait says:

    The Swaits are praying for you.

  12. Galkin says:

    Matt, Praise God for His grace that is given for these times. The Camp Staff (Northland) prayed for you last night and we will continue to pray that you would be “strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.” Will Galkin

  13. Dear Matt,Kerry and I will be praying for you and Kim. We love you guys and are so thankful for your faithfulness and testimony.agm

  14. Matthew,I hope to talk to you at some point soon. I hear continual updates from Tracy. Prayed for you this morning!

  15. You may have every confidence that I and my family will be praying for you. Your initial response has already drawn attention to the greatness of God’s chracter and grace. We love you and anticipate God’s richest blessing upon you.Chris and Emily Barney

  16. Matthew,Our family is praying for yours. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.Eric

  17. Matt,We’ll be praying for you. Your story reminded me of this verse.”Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful creator.” (I Peter 4:19) Praise the Lord that He is faithful.Ben Shore

  18. Bryan says:

    Matt,I just heard about this today, and it is good to see the grace that God is already giving you in this situation. I will pray that He continues to sustain you both physically and spiritually in order that you might continue to bring glory to Him through this. May the Lord bless you brother,Bryan Blazosky

  19. Praying for you Matt. Thanks for your investment in Cameron’s life in the youth group at Heritage.Darren and Sarah

  20. Anonymous says:

    You must read my Pastor’s blog. He is also battling cancer at this time.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hey Matt, I will be joining all those who are praying for you, and for your whole family as they deal with this. Continue to serve well!Irfan.

  22. stuart says:

    Psalm 23 came back to mind when I heard the news. I remember the message you preached on it over a year ago. We will be praying for you. Stuart & Rachel Noggle

  23. Adam Gilvin says:

    Matt,I will pray for you and Kimberly as you endure what God has for you. Thank you for pointing us all to the grace of our Father. Adam & Katie Gilvin

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