My brother has cancer.
You read and hear about cancer everyday, but until it knocks on your door you basically ignore it and silently hope it never comes calling.
That all ended this past week when I received word of my brother Ken’s cancer. It had actually started a while ago. First in his pancreas and then rearing it’s ugly head in the form of shoulder pain.
At first Ken did what you or I might do. You pop a few Advil and expect the pain to recede in 2-4 hours. But when the pain began to restrict his movement and ability to lay down, he gave it his full attention. X-rays revealed a large tumor that was eating at the shoulder bone itself. A biopsy ensued. Result? Cancer cells.
I have always looked up to Ken and admired his ability to make things happen. He built a marine construction company from scratch in Palm Coast Florida. Built a house on 200 feet of waterfront property on the Intercoastal Waterway. Bought the land and built the house himself for a few hundred grand. Now, it’s worth 1+something million. He had it all. Until one day he realized he lacked something money and/or personal possessions played no part in. Joy and Faith. That was about to change. God was about to take hold of him. And joy, faith and a belief in a loving God was about to change his life – forever!
This had all come about when Ken – feeling depressed and emotionally empty, stumbled across Rick Warren’s book “A Purpose Driven Life” in his local supermarket. He bough the book. Took it home and began reading. He consumed the pages. And with each chapter a fire started in his heart and spread to every fiber of his being. He became so zealous and hungry for truth, that after reading the book he read “The Book”. Soon he was quoting chapter and verse.
Feeling a call to share the Good News, he set about telling any body that could fog a mirror that God is real and Jesus is real and real life is available to all who seek, ask or knock. His desire was so great that he’d even preach to the choir. No topic of conversation could not be turned into a sermon. To be honest, he started to drive me crazy. Example Phone call: “Hi Ken, how’s it going.” “How’s it going? You know Jesus says all things work for good when you believe and live for the glory of God.” “Uh, oh gee, look at the time. I’ve got a root canal I’m running late for.” And so it went…
Eventually, like all powerful storms, the wind subsides and the tide recedes to normal levels. But Hurricane Ken never lost his desire to be a man of God. And that’s a blessing that can’t be described in words. His heart, joy and faith grew. His love and forgiveness of others exploded. And like the Bible says; he had become a new man in Christ. The old had passed away.
My brother has cancer. But cancer does not have him. Ken has this cancer right where he wants it. Ken’s cancer is a sitting duck for the power of prayer and God’s love. Ken’s cancer doesn’t know it, but it’s walking down the street and doesn’t see the giant air-condiditoner coming loose from it’s brackets and screaming towards it at terminal velocity. Ken is about to kill cancer.
As I write this Ken’s in Florida’s Flagler Beach hospital where some amazing machine is sending out drone after drone of radiation and in pinpoint fashion bombarding his tumor into submission. But the final blow will not come from a Doctor, a machine or a medicine. It will come from Ken’s rock solid faith, the power of a family’s love and prayers and the healing power of God.
Ken is killing his cancer. He’s killing it with the most powerful medicine available – He’s killing his cancer with the words of God:
Proverbs 4:20-22 – My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
Exodus 23:25 – You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you.
Psalm 30:2 – O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
Psalm 103:2-5 – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits–who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Ken is beleving and I am too that God will do a great work in him and heal him. Restore him to wholeness. Some of you reading this may be raising eyebrows. “Oh, ye of little faith.” The power of faith can not be thwarted. Cannot be diluted unless we allow the enemy of man to speak lies into our hearts and souls. That doesn’t happen at Ken’s house, my house or God’s house.
But what if? What if he dies? Will death diminish the power of God? To those who believe death is the end, yes. To those who know death is the beginning, not at all.
My brother has cancer, but whether he lives another 25 years, 25 weeks or 25 days, God will use Ken in a powerful way. I think of the nurse who comes in to tend to him when no one else is in the room and asks, “How can you have such a positive outlook, knowing that you face such an uphill battle?” Ken’s smile will widen and he’ll say; “You got a minute?”
Or the cancer survivor that meets Ken in a local support group, who although in remission, fears a recurrence of the disease. “I wake up every morning worried that this will be the day my cancer comes out of remission.” Ken’s smile will widen and he’ll say; “You got time for a cup of coffee?”
Or you, reading this and wondering why I’m not devastated at the posibility of my brothers passing. Well, I must confess, that initially it hit me hard. I wasn’t prepared for the blow. To me cancer is something other people get and other families deal with. Not me and mine. And I admit, had I known cancer was ringing my doorbell, I wouldn’t have answered.
But now, after spending time in prayer and with God I feel this – Ken will recover fully and have an amazing testimony. And when God does call him home, as he will call us all, I will celebrate and pray that my life will bless others as Ken’s has, is and will. For it is not death that I fear. What I fear is not living all out for God and blessing and loving as many people as I can. For I see now my purpose.
My brother has cancer. And I have a calling. To God be the glory!