God Is Not Finished With You Yet

My father-in-law has cancer. The simple reality of life-threatening conditions is that they can elicit a wide range of emotions. Sadness. Frustration. Despair. Anger.

There is a lot to admire about my father-in-law. He worked hard at his job for decades, rode his bike to work, loves his family, serves diligently at his church, and lives in community with his neighbors. My father-in-law is a quiet, unassuming individual who had to be strongly encouraged by his children to set up a care page so that his friends and family could support his cancer journey. As is typical of a humble man, his limited number of posts are brief and cover the basics of his latest diagnosis.

Despite our daily desire to follow God’s teachings, we can easily insert our own perspective on what is fair. It is easy for me to ask God about how my father-in-law’s cancer fits into a greater plan. Why inflict a faithful servant with a horrible disease? Why not just let him keep doing the work of the kingdom? We can ask the same questions when we see our neighbors struggling on the street, battling addictions, or trying to work their way out of poverty. Life just doesn’t seem fair sometimes.

As a sinful human I can question the will and plan of God, but ultimately, He is in control, and I have to remind myself of that comforting reality every single day. While my father-in-law’s cancer is frustrating, God has a purpose for this. In the meantime, I continue to be inspired by how my father-in-law is handling this challenge.

We could all make the obvious proclamation that life is short. Ask any seasoned saint about the speed of their life and many of them will tell you that in hindsight their time has flown by. Despite my father-in-law’s condition, he has not been sitting around. He hasn’t lamented (at least not publicly) and he has worked hard to sustain his routine.

Despite chemo and surgeries, my father-in-law has still maintained a life of diligent service. In other words, he is using the time that he has been given to keep working for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When I look at his actions, I am reminded that we all have a role to play. Our time is limited, but while we are here, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Truthfully, this article isn’t about my father-in-law. This is about you, and me. There are plenty of people out there who are struggling through illness and disease. There are plenty of others who are not. Many of you are (relatively) healthy, (reasonably) strong, and able to have an incredible impact on the community if you are willing to follow God’s call and perhaps get outside your comfort zone. Are you willing?

Matthew 9:35-38 says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” This can be a strange passage to read because we often associate a bountiful harvest with material wealth and success. Perhaps this passage is an opportunity for us to shift our attitude and realize that a chance to help our neighbors is an exciting way to be the hands and feet of Christ. There is always work to be done, relationships to build, and needs to be met. We need your help.

I hope my father-in-law sticks around for many years to come, but nothing is guaranteed. In the meantime, I have a feeling that he is going to keep working until his body completely fails him. Regardless of your phase in life, you also have a role to play. My father-in-law can fight cancer and still build pinewood derby cars with community kids. You can fill a need in your neighborhood, at your church, or with us here at Kingdom Causes Bellflower.

My father-in-law continues to live a life of service, and we can too. Don’t wait.

- Todd Pheifer, Development Director at Kingdom Causes Bellflower

Todd Pheifer