individual doesn't get cancer, a family
~ Terry Tempest Williams
recently found that I have cancer ... and have had it all
my life. Not the kind that eats away the body, but the
kind that slowly, over a lifetime, diminishes the soul.
Physically, I'm relatively healthy but my spirit needs
surgery. And, like radiotherapy, it's an everyday
therapy I require.
diagnosis is simple and common. Self-sins. It's what
A.W. Tozer once described as "the hyphenated sins."
Self-reliance, self-satisfaction, self-pity,
self-righteousness, self-ish. Often, it has been hard to
diagnose. And like a reluctant patient, I've explained
away or excused the symptoms for a lifetime. But this
cancer of the soul is real.
folk endure dramatic and soul-crushing events; a
divorce, addictions, retrenchment, or violence. In
moments or months these experiences can turn a life
upside down. But my slow-growing cancer is no less
foreboding. It sends out tendrils into every area of my
life and the outcome can be just as devastating as
the "train wrecks" that others endure.
challenge, of course, is the surgery. I don't like
surgery at the best of times. On a scale of 1-10 my pain
threshold is about a 3 and I get woozy at the thought of
giving blood. It seems that I have the same cowardice
when it comes to spiritual surgery.
we make this painless? Will I be able to return to my
"normal" life quickly? Will there be any
don't like any of the answers that I receive.
spiritual cancer that lives within me cannot be removed
in a single operation. Surgery must be scheduled every
day and, if I'm serious, there will be no return to my
Surgeon, of course, does only what I invite Him to do.
He's good-very good-but He won't call the process
painless or easy. In fact, He keeps speaking of "death
to myself"; hardly a warming thought since I've grown so
attached to myself. But the success-rate depends upon my
consent and my commitment.
the removal of the "self-sins" can make me something
other than what I've always been. Saying that my cancer
is not obvious or imminently dangerous, does not heal
it. Ignoring or excusing it simply lets it grow. It's
got to go. The theatre is prepped. The Surgeon
I sign the consent form? Will
In HOPE --