As I write this, the Preacher is in hospital, recovering well from several hours of surgery to remove the tumour in his colon.
Life is hard. Loss and pain trip us up. Body cells go rogue. Germs and bugs maim and kill. But when we open ourselves to receive them, we find that God uses our difficulties to bring unique gifts of grace. New spiritual perspectives, new relationships, a new view of life and appreciation for living.
We’ve already discovered some of those gifts since cancer joined us. We recall others that have appeared during my husbands now five-year case of West Nile disease. But I was unprepared for his comment the other day.
“Cancer is the new gift I’ve been given,” he told a friend, a few days before his surgery.
I argued. “No. Cancer is NOT a gift. It’s the platter that God can use to deliver unique gifts.” But a peck of pork chops made me rethink that response.
“My dad worked in the packaging industry,” one of the Preacher’s nurses told us. “When a producer called to say they needed to ship, say, 10,000 pork chops, Dad’s job was to find or make just the right box to ship them in.”
That conversation in the Preacher’s ICU room brought me late to consider what he had already concluded: God knows the best gifts he wants to bring us. In his omniscience (big word meaning all-knowing), we must accept that not only does he allow, he also designs the only carrier possible to deliver them.
So yes, cancer too, is a gift. A platter awkward to carry, ugly to view, and painful to bear. But a gift from Father’s hand nevertheless. In eternity’s perspective, I trust that one day I too, will view it the way he sees it: as perfect.
No box, no chops.