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A Father Writes about His Daughter’s Cancer

My dad is the senior pastor of Brookings Church of the Nazarene in Brookings, OR. He has been in the ministry longer than I have been alive, which is almost thirty years now. My dad is many things; an artist, a story teller, a counselor, a preacher, a cartoonist, and most importantly a prayer warrior and man of God. In addition my dad is regular guest writer for the Brookings Curry Costal Pilot in their faith forum. He is a very busy man, but never passes up an opportunity to share his faith and love for God. This was published today and I am proud to say written by my dad.

They were words that I never thought I would read coming from our daughter: “I am a better Christian because of cancer.”
It’s no secret that our eldest daughter, Tarah, is battling stage 4 Ovarian Cancer. She is currently undergoing chemo therapy. In the age of Facebook, she and her husband Ben, have set up a page to post updates on her progress. As a father, I appreciate being able to read the loving support she receives from so many people there, and for the chance to stay current with her progress. Tarah has openly shared her heart on her page, and even though as her father I am highly prejudice, I am amazed at the strong faith in God she has displayed there.
Frankly, matters of faith have not always been terribly important to Tarah. She herself will tell that she was a fairly rebellious child, that she doubted God’s existence, and if He did exist, why He didn’t do something about pain and suffering. Over the years Marylynn and I have prayed and wept for Tarah many times. Three years ago I began a daily prayer regimen that include prayers for all our daughters and their spouses. One of my frequent prayers has been that they would grow and mature in their faith.
One day, it occurred to me that the answer to that prayer very well might require some kind of hardship to come into their lives—meaning, things like cancer to come into the lives of the loved ones I have been carefully praying for. In other words, cancer has become part of God’s plan for Tarah spiritual growth and maturity. Now you’re asking me if I believe that God “caused” the cancer to come into her life. Of course not. There are enough bad things happening in the world for God to be able to use. He doesn’t have to create hardship, but what He promises to do is “use” it.
Could Tarah die? (I even hate writing those words) Yes. People die from cancer. Will I blame God? I’ll be honest, it’s hard for me to be absolute on that point, but I hope not. I don’t plan to.
“What’s your point then, Pastor Rick,” I hear you asking. I guess my point is that when you pray for a loved one keep in mind that part of God’s answer may very well be hardship for them. And when hardship does come, as it always does, pray that it will serve the purpose the our loving God intends for it to serve.
Tarah’s “Theme Verse” for her cancer battle comes from 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
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