Any of us with a religious background and dealing cancer thinks about Big Questions when it comes to sickness and faith. I have. I thought my cancer recovery was fairly miraculous, then my brother died of cancer and I wondered if we’re all just on a cosmic roulette wheel.
Pierre Eade is a friend of mine and the Pastor of Outreach at the Washington Crossing United Methodist Church in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. The Crossing has a healing ministry where you can come and receive prayer by trained prayer team members. Pierre is also a writer and his thoughts on faith and the Christian life can be found on his website: www.christiangrowthnetwork.com
I asked him for his perspective. How do you reconcile a loving God and a world where cancer causes so much pain and death?
“The Bible teaches that the world we live in is not as God originally designed it. If you look to the book of Genesis, you will find that everything God created was ‘good’. However, because of the fall of mankind, the world itself has been corrupted by sin. Sin has not just corrupted our human relationships (lying, deceit, envy etc.) but the entirety of creation itself is suffering. Sickness, illness, disease, cancer and the like were not part of God’s original design,” Pierre explains. He sees a way out, “It is God’s will to see redemption take place here. This means sins can be forgiven, relationships can be restored and physical healing can take place.”
I may see the universe sometimes as one of random events where one benefits from goodness or suffers from evil by pure chance. Pierre, not so much. “God is pro order and peace. Satan prefers chaos, confusion and destruction. 9/11 comes to mind. Look at the order, civility and beauty of the Twin Towers before they were destroyed,” he says, “Now throw into the mix some men with warped minds and a desire to destroy lives. The entire scene changes and we still feel the pain today. Eventually we find healing, but we are never the same. The story of God’s creation and the fall of mankind is similar. God created a perfect world that has been destroyed in a way that is redeemable, but not without scars.”
Is illness the result of our sins? Yes and no, according to Pierre. He cites John 9:3 as telling the story of a blind man cured by Jesus, and he told his followers that neither he, nor his parents, were to blame for his lack of sight. “That just goes to show you the heart of God. And that is God’s heart today. His heart is to heal and restore. If you find yourself with a diagnosis of cancer today (or in the past), please know that God loves you. If you find healing, please know that God loves you. If you are not as fortunate, please know that God loves you. God is for all people and God is against all disease, sickness and pain,” according to Pierre.
But he points out if people can abuse themselves with smoking or unprotected sex, for example, it can result in serious consequences like lung cancer or sexually transmitted diseases. “We do often reap what we sow,” Pierre warns, “But in every case, we can be assured of these two things: God loves us and He is willing to forgive us of our wrongdoing.”
I see faith as a journey. That journey will continue with my next blog.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are those of the author or other attributed individual and do not necessarily represent the official opinion of the OncoLink Staff, University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine), or the University of Pennsylvania, unless explicitly stated with the authority to do so.