Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Faith and Cancer

Someone gave me an audio CD of a woman narrating her story about having breast cancer. The disk had the title, “I Survived!” and had photos of the woman, before, during, and after chemo hair loss, all smiley and happy. I was looking forward to listening to this personal account of someone who seemed so confident and happy, she must have some wisdom to impart.

She introduced herself by saying that in 2003, she learned about the “weakness of the human body...” And I expected her to say, “and the strength of the human spirit”. But no. Instead, she said, “the strength of God”. I was disappointed. Another testimony by a religious person, talking about the glory of God.

I listened to the entire CD anyway, about the woman’s fears about chemo and how having God by her side kept her going. How God was using her to help others, because she then went on to counsel other cancer patients. How God saved her life and kept her from feeling alone throughout her worst moments.

Why can’t I have that faith? It must be comforting to believe that there is a God out there who is always with you and is looking out for you. A personal God would have come in handy on those days I sat in hospitals, waiting to have my body injected with radioactive dye and put through a tunnel to see where the cancer cells were. I felt very alone and scared. It would have been nice to have a God with me, but frankly, it would have been even better to have a friend or my husband with me. They would have done the job just as well, if not better. I can’t hold God’s hand and joke with him to relieve my fears. That’s the kind of comforting I needed.

I wish I could have this absolute faith that people have in their religions. Faith is an impossible thing to pin down. By definition, it can’t be proven or measured. It’s blind, instinctive gut feeling that cannot be rationalized. So if you don’t have it, how do you get it? I have some faith in science and medicine. But I don’t think that’s all it will take to beat my cancer. I have faith in my own strength and will, but that’s not all it will take either. I have faith in the goodness of people and the world in general. But that’s not enough to make me believe all is well in the world. How does anyone have 100%, absolute faith in any one thing?

I wish I could get a lobotomy to slice out the part of my brain that rationalizes and questions too much. I wish I could be hypnotized and wake up with complete and absolute faith in God. I WANT to believe in something as powerful and beneficent as God is supposed to be. But how do I MAKE myself believe that? Is there a pill I can take?

I should be a test for anyone planning to be a preacher. If you can’t convert a dying cancer patient to Christianity, then what chance have you got with perfectly healthy people who aren’t facing death and looking for a way out?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you sleeping at this hour? I'm simply asking you to 'talk' to God, anytime, anywhere, every moment when you need to release your inner feeling. Let Him touch you, He is gentle and He cares for you. LOVE