I received my cancer diagnosis on a Monday. My unfinished theology essay on the topic of God’s sovereignty was due on the Friday. In that moment, everything I had been reading and writing about became very personal. It’s one thing to believe in the sovereignty of God when life is easy. It’s another thing entirely to believe it when life is not. 

The fact that I had spent the two months prior to my diagnosis reading and reflecting on the absolute control of God over all things was itself the perfect demonstration of God’s sovereignty and His goodness. My heavenly Father had gone ahead and prepared me. And while the news was still very difficult to hear and comprehend, God repeatedly brought to mind the many Scriptures I had recently read. 

Scripture like Romans 11:33, “Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! … For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” And Psalm 135:6-7, “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. It is He who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightening’s for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” And Isaiah 14:24, “The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.”  

There were also passages that spoke of God’s sovereignty over suffering and evil. In light of what was now my reality, these were more difficult to read. “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentations 3:37). And Isaiah 45:7, “I create the light and made the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I the Lord, am the one who does these things.” 

In my research I had read accounts of Christians who had been through pain and suffering and still attested to the goodness of God. How? Because in the midst of their suffering they experienced the very presence of God Almighty. When life was uncertain, and hard, and frightening, they clung to God and found their hope and peace in Him. 

And this was to become my story also. Over the long months that followed, I experienced a heightened awareness of His abiding presence, His majesty and His grace. Through appointments, procedures, operations and so much waiting, He proved Himself faithful and sure over and over and over. He was my strength when I was scared, my hope when I was disappointed, my rest when I was weary. God carried me and my family. 

And as I clung to His promise to “…work all things for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), I came to realise that God himself was my ‘good’. I was walking through hard stuff and there were many tears but through it all God was with me. I experienced His grace and His peace in a way I never had before. He was my ‘good’ when things around me were not. 

As I write this, I’m about to head into four weeks of radiation. I draw strength in remembering God’s faithfulness to me throughout the first part of this journey and believe He will continue to sustain me by His Spirit. I also take great comfort in the words of The Heidelberg Catechism (Lord’s Day 10, Question 28) which reminds and encourages all of Christ’s followers “…that we may be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity; and in all things which may befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love; since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.” Amen.