God and I Discuss My Wife Having Cancer

God and I Discuss My Wife Having Cancer August 14, 2009


(After Question of the Week: Does My Wife Have Cancer?)

Me: You know I have to sort of hate you now.

God: I know.

Me: It’s nothing personal.

God: I know.

Me: It’s the impersonality of death and suffering that makes it so blindingly infuriating.

God: I know.

Me: Makes it hard to believe you give a [bad word] about us.

God: I know.

Me: But I understand the necessity of death. I wrote Death is the Answer. I get it.

God: I know you do.

Me: I don’t expect to be exempt from the ravages of death and its ugly cousins.

God: I know you don’t.

Me: But dang, man.

God: I know.

Me: Yeah, you know everything. That’s great for you. Meanwhile, all I know is that my wife might have cancer. If that’s part of any freakin’ plan of yours, count me out. Skip me. I’ll pass.

God: I can’t do that.

Me: I know.

Follow-up post: Me, Emoting About My Wife.

"First, thank you for answering a question I had 'Is God really that good?' I ..."

Does God REALLY Answer My Questions?
"Excellent answer. I am reminded, by way of contrast, with the reaction of Mr. Collins ..."

“My dad wants to invite his ..."
"Really found myself wishing this article ended with some sort of reference to Jesus "eating ..."

“My dad wants to invite his ..."
"Franicis seems to always talk about himself, all the time. I've grown quite tired of ..."

What Francis Chan (And His Ilk) ..."

Browse Our Archives

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I'm with you here, man. Praying for the both of you. Bev and I have been married for 27 years and were together three years before that. And she just went in this morning for two biopsies

    Life is such a crap shoot. Gotta make the most of it.

  • Greta Sheppard

    It isn't often one gets to eavesdrop on a conversation between a struggling human and Divinity Himself. I was deeply touched by the poignancy, John…..it's amazing how suffering brings the truth out of us….the really raw feelings we feel when we are afraid of the future … even more amazing is that He doesn't chide us for it. Am praying for you . . .

  • Tim

    25 years or more back, I lost my young nephew to an aggressive astrocytoma. The scare of that cancer brought me to my knees and put me on a highway where I had my Damascus Road experience. However, I was certain that God would heal my brother's son. But when the healing wasn't physical in this life, I screamed, ranted, threw fits of rage, and virtually lived for days flipping off the most high God. My first lesson as a believer was a tough one.

    I pray that you and your bride will be spared the trials of cancer. But whether or not that turns out to be His will, we can always live in the confidence that nothing in life OR death can separate us from His love. All things really do work together for the good of us who purpose to love and follow after Him.

    The dialog is so familiar, John. After 25 years, I still tend to bitch at God like we're an old married couple. My continued prayers go out for you and Cat.

  • Richard Lubbers

    Reading this conversation brought tears to my eyes, John. If there is anyone who can handle our anger, frustration and hatred, it is the One with whom you had that dialogue. As for the cursing, sometimes they're the only words strong enough to express what we feel. And we know from the scriptures that sometimes God himself gets pissed off enough to murder people. So we should freak out over the f-word?

    25 years ago, I took a ten-year walk away from Him after a strong hurt and disappointment.

    He called me back.

    Praying for Cat and for you, John.

  • yeu@nn

    Dear John… am reminded of Job's struggle with God when I read your post. Deeply touched.


  • NG Tangonan

    cancer? i've so often heard and read about it…but to actually live with it? devastated…is a mild way to describe how my family or i feels about it now…my sister jo (next to me) was what we've always thought of as the "healthy" one in the family! she's the one who'd often accompany me to the doctor when i get the flu or have an asthma/vertigo attack..

    then it happened, she saw there was a darkening on her left breast & it felt hard but not lumpy..she was told to get a mammo…then a biopsy, the doctor said: stage 2 breast cancer!! she had mastectomy w/in 2 weeks…she's now in her 3rd chemo…soon the fourth til 6th i was told…radiotherapy…etc

    we were told it's treatable but we continue to get nervous about the whole thing! still, jo says the experience has brought her much much closer to the Lord Jesus more than any other time in her whole life…even as i am too… i can tell the Lord God is with us all this time, all the way, praise be the Lord Jesus!

    we pray for cat & you…

  • Hi John, back from my vacation/sabbatical and I read this. I know this place too well. I looked ahead to see if you posted any update yet but can find nothing. I am praying for Cat and you.

    I am having similar conversations with God these days. Fortunately, as I said to my wife Patti, God is much more patient with me than I with him.


  • Kristoff

    What kind of accent does God have?

  • Jerri Harrington

    Bizarre response by Kristoff!! I'm so glad Cat is okay now, though. 🙂 Jerri

  • Grant

    I love honest conversations with God! When others ask, how do you know God will respond like that, you can just say that's how he talks to me in my head. Thanks for sharing your angst with us, John. Frees me to be more honest too.

  • Just blogged about my battle with breast cancer yesterday. I understand what you're going through. You and your wife are in my prayers.


  • Don Whitt

    Great dialog, John.

    I went through this with my son's mother. Our only son was 6 mos old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 colo-rectal cancer. It was hell in so many ways.

    Fortunately, after surgery, radiation and dbl-dose chemo regimen she has survived 12 yrs. Our marriage didn't make it through that experience unfortunately – something that's all too common. I've heard as much as 80% of marriages dissolve during/after cancer bouts. That's a whole other sad topic, though.

    So, thanks for sharing the beautiful dialogue with God and congratulations on surviving the cancer experience.

  • Diane

    I reccommend that you read "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis. It might give you some comfort.

  • Thank you. It wasn't in any positive way "eye-opening" at all, but it was an excellent thing to have ended so well. Yay. Thanks again, Matthew.

  • Whoa. That is one powerful testimony. Derek, I think you don't know: this is an older post. My wife is fine, thank you very much.

    You've given us such a moving glimpse here into the heart of where you're at just now. I'm sure many of us will be praying that your surgery next week goes well. if you think of it–and it's easy for you, and so on, please let us know how it goes. God bless you, brother.

  • Whoa. Wow. Thanks, Nicola, for sharing that very touching … thing you just said. Awesome. Thanks.

  • Whoa, Don. That's very, very powerful, what you've shared here. Yikes, man. Well, gosh. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I think we can all feel how sort of mightily that has all settled down into you, and become a power.

  • Is that right? Yow. I'm so sorry to hear you have to face that. I'll be sure to come check out your blog. (Please note, Diane, that this is an older post; Catherine is fine. Bless your heart for so readily being willing to pray for us, though. But she's fine. (As, I hope I'll discover, are you?).

  • Bless your heart for this, Grant.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    I didn't mean to imply that it should be (eye-opening, that is). But sometimes, such as how Nicola describes, I think it can be, when God has certain pearls of wisdom to impart, which others similarly affected might already have learned from life.

    BTW, no reason to thank *me* on this. Thank the LORD! 🙂

  • Matthew Tweedell

    That's right: we'll be praying for you, Derek!

  • nicola

    I went through this with a very important close friend/mother. Life certainly feels more grounded when we realize this whole earth thing is the temporary thing and love wins out over death. When my dad died I had a huge sense of him being closer to me than ever. I was at peace! my dad went before me and now death does not scare me. Love to you

  • Derek

    Wow. this is so timely. I participate in a Christian book group and we are currently reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s “An Altar in the World”. Last night we discussed the chapter “The practice of feeling pain”, and as an exercise, each of us thought about something that was currently causing us pain. In my case that would be facing my third surgery in less than 2 years next week. We went into the sanctuary and copies of a modern translation of Psalm 88 were distributed. We were encouraged to scream the words of this psalm at God, which was a hugely difficult thing for most of us. As we shouted “I’ve had my fill of trouble; I’m camped on the edge of HELL” and “Does your love make any difference in a GRAVEYARD?” many of us were deeply moved by the experience. Personally the idea of releasing my pain and dumping it on God in such an angry and public way was very uncomfortable, and moved me to the point of tears, but it was indeed quite cathartic. We then followed this with personal readings of Psalm 18 as we moved around the sanctuary. As we quietly spoke lines like “God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight” I felt comforted, uplifted and supported by God and by the others in my group. The point of the exercises were to help us to feel the pain and yet to move through it, but also to help us to consider whether we can find God even in pain and suffering. I haven’t yet worked through everything I felt last night, and am still moved by the experience of yelling at God, in the sanctuary, in front of witnesses yet! Your conversation with God seems to be right on the money, given yours and your wife’s situation. I do hope you can find God in your pain, and please know that we will hold you both in our prayers and that you may both draw some strength from that.

  • Derek

    thanks so much John and Matthew. I think that God had something to do with me finding this old post yesterday. Past experience has taught me that there is great power in being held in prayer by friends, and I appreciate it so much!

  • Matthew Tweedell

    I’m so glad that it turned out that Cat was cancer free! I can’t imagine how awful, frightful, and perhaps eye-opening, the uncertainty of this predicament must have been.