I love to win.
My dad tells me that he didn’t know I had a competitive bone in my body until he and my mom sent me to an academically rigorous college prep school in second grade. Suddenly I came home each day talking about how my grades compared to my friends. (Santosh, Chethan, Prashant, and Eric were both great friends and prime competitors in those days.) And I worked hard to one-up them every chance I could.
That competitive spirit revealed itself athletically when I began playing organized sports in Junior High. More than a bit timid at first, once I found a game I liked, I did everything I could to win. Not to say that I’m the ultimate team guy. I religiously kept track of my points and rebounds per game during my high school basketball days (a.k.a. the Rec-Specs era). But when it came down to it, I’d rather have poorer statistics and win than score thirty and lose. My competitiveness has only slightly diminished. Just ask the guys at the Y.
So I’m not too surprised that, shortly after learning my diagnosis, one of my first thoughts was, “I want to beat this. I’m have a young wife and three small children, and for their sake I am going to win. I want to fight my cancer until the very last cell of it is destroyed.”
The next thought, however, did surprise me.
“Why have I never been this resolved in fighting the cancer of my soul?”
Sure, the desire to beat sin has been there for as long as I can remember. That desire has waxed and waned over the years, but overall I hope it has gradually grown over time. But I do not recall ever taking sin so seriously that I wanted to fight it until, as it were, the very last cell of it is destroyed. I have a young wife and three small children. Should I not, for their sake, fight my sin with everything I have? What would really do more damage to them? For me to lose the fight with cancer? Or for me to lose the fight with sin?
I am sad to report that a cancer diagnosis does not eradicate the old self. I am just as much a sinner as I’ve ever been. If anything, the powerfully increasing temptation to self-pity leads quickly to self-justification, and then to a whole host of sins. Who is able to deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God through Christ Jesus my Lord!
Because Jesus, the great Friend of sinners, will be with me to the end.
Because more than a dozen of our friends showed up at our house this morning to work. They washed windows, pulled weeds, installed cabinet hardware, fixed doors, and found two fairly major issues (one electrical, one plumbing). I thank God for their incarnating the mercy and kindness of Christ to our family.
Because of my cancer. It has been a gift from God to Kimberly and me. We wouldn’t ask for it, but we couldn’t imagine all that we would have missed had God not sent cancer my way.
That God would make us more passionate about his glory than anything else.
That the procedure on Monday morning to install a port-a-cath would be uneventful. It’s sort of like a USB-port through which they’ll feed my chemo. Or something like that.