FIRST-PERSON: The 'C' word
HARTFORD, Conn. (BP) -- I have been blessed to be a fairly healthy person and rarely have gone to the doctor over the years. I walk a lot and enjoy hiking the mountain near my home in Hartford, Conn. Some people think I am 10 years younger than my actual age.
Imagine my shock upon learning I have cancer.
Recently I had to go through a battery of medical tests to check out something that seemed minor. Returning to the doctor to hear the results, I assumed he would say everything was fine. Somewhere in the conversation he used the "C" word for the first time. As he kept talking, I realized what he had said and stopped him mid-sentence. "Are you saying I have cancer?" was my shocked question. "Yes, but we think we caught it in the early stages," he replied.
And suddenly, my whole life changed.
In the weeks since then, I have been poked, prodded, stuck and tested more times than the rest of my life combined. I have had to drink gross-tasting liquids to prepare for various procedures, swallow more pills than I imagined possible, and meet with doctor after doctor after doctor. Then came major surgery to have part of my colon removed, five days in the hospital and, now, a lengthy recovery at home.
Being a planner who schedules out his life months in advance, this has played havoc with my carefully-made plans. I had to cancel my participation in two back-to-back important conferences and adjust a whole month on the calendar to make time for recovery.
Though I did all that I could to prepare, I became extremely mindful that I was not in control of this situation -- which makes the whole experience overwhelming since I like to be in control. But one thing that keeps coming back to me is that God has this whole thing under control. God has not had to cancel any meetings or change any plans because this whole thing was on His schedule since before the foundation of the world.
Everything God does has a purpose and a plan; therefore, I know this is part of that purpose and plan. Romans 8:28 continues to come to mind: "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose." All things, even cancer, work together for our good when we love God and are following His purposes for our lives.
I do love God, not because I am some super spiritual person but because God first loved me (Romans 5:8, John 3:16). In God's wonderful grace He called me to Himself (Ephesians 1:4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:13). How could I do anything but love God back once He opened my eyes to His amazing grace, love, forgiveness and divine plan?
Since I love God and am called to His purposes, then God has committed Himself to making sure that everything that happens in my life ultimately works out for good. That brings a lot of comfort and peace into this very chaotic situation.
Though there may be pain in the process, ultimately this will all work out for good. I do not know exactly what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future, so I face cancer, and all that follows, with a confidence that it will be good.
Terry Dorsett is a church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board based in Hartford, Conn., and the author of several books including "Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church." Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).