…Cancer is very unfair. Even if you “did” something to get it or didn’t do something not to get it, it’s still unfair. Maybe you are a smoker diagnosed with lung cancer. Cancer is still unfair, because only about 20 percent of smokers develop lung cancer. Maybe you quit smoking twenty or thirty years ago and you still got cancer. Hardly fair.
Perhaps you didn’t get regular mammograms, Pap smears, or PSAs, and now you have cancer. Guess what? It’s still not fair, because lots of people don’t get those screening tests and don’t get cancer. Besides, some people get them faithfully and the cancer isn’t even detected! That seems even more unfair…
I don’t know if I ever said it our loud after my diagnosis, but I definitely thought it many times. This is not fair. And another question I never voiced but really wanted answered: If God really loved me so much, why did He allow an unfair thing like cancer to strike my life?
Then, I learned a life-changing lesson from author Philip Yancey:
- Don’t confuse life with God
…In Yancey’s book Disappointment with God, he writes about a man whom he interviewed because he thought Douglas might feel great disappointment with God. Life, as Yancey describes it, had been very unfair to Douglas. While his wife was battling metastatic breast cancer, Douglas was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver and suffered a terrible head injury that left him permanently disabled, often in pain, and unable to work full-time.
But when Yancey asked this victim of unfairness to describe his disappointment with God, Douglas said he didn’t feel any and instead told Yancey the following:
I have learned to see beyond the physical reality in this worked to the spiritual reality. We tend to think, “Life should be fair because God is fair.” But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life-by expecting constant good health, for example-then I set myself up for crashing disappointment… If we develop a relationship with God apart from our life circumstances, then we may be able to hang on when the physical reality breaks down. We can learn to trust God despite all the unfairness of life.
Go ahead and say it.
- It’s not fair that I have cancer
- It’s not fair that my loved one has cancer
- It’s not fair that this has happened to us right now
- Say it, but don’t be confused that life should be fair because God is
- Life is not fair, but God is not life
-Taken from 50 Days of Hope, Copyright Lynn Eib