Lessons Thru Cancer: There is Worship Thru Suffering

I read this post on one of my friend’s blog this week and thought you would all be blessed and challenged by it. I met Nathan at Tennessee Temple University where he was involved in the missionary endeavors of the school. He is now suffering from testicular cancer that has spread to several other organs of his body. As you can tell from this post, he is optimistic about his outcome, but overall, he trusts that God’s will will be accomplished through this experience.

One day in late January 2012, I was at a physical therapist appointment trying to rehab my blown out knee. As I worked out with the therapist, he expressed his concern over my knee that had been swollen for weeks but with what seemed to be no cause. I had already had my legs checked for blood clots and had talked to by knee surgeon but no one knew what was going on. As I sat there with my therapist, he told me I should call my doctor and schedule a CT scan. He went on to say this may be an indicator to something very serious. He made it clear to me that day as I sat next to him in his office that this maybe cancer. I’m not sure how most people would take a warning like this given it didn’t come from a doctor but it was clear that he knew what he was talking about. Normally I take these kinds of things in stride but as soon as I got to the car where Sarah was waiting I fell apart. My emotions got the best of me and I was overcome by the fear of what it could be. It would be too much to say I knew I had cancer but Sarah and I both had a deep sense that this was serious. I knew this was the beginning of something that could end my life.

We spent most of that weekend in somber silence. On several occasions we made the effort to talk through what this could mean but it was hard. I was afraid but I could see that Sarah also knew the gravity of the situation. It all came to a head when we went to a church service that Sunday. In hind site it’s clear that God was using that Sunday to prepare our hearts for the coming week and to draw us into a necessary dependence on him. That Sunday’s message was on Ecclesiastes 9 and was centered on the idea the death comes to all- that death is the fate of all men yet Christ is the hope that overcomes death. Sarah and I were both fighting back tears the entire service. We weren’t just listening to the message; we felt it’s full weight and were living out it’s message in real time.

There was a moment that my fear and uncertainty transitioned into broken worship. I was still anxious about what the tests would say the following week but as we sang songs of worship at the end of that service; I worshipped in a way I rarely have. The song that God used to draw me into a deep and heartfelt time of worship was Where Your Praise Never Ends by Charlie Richardson (not yet recorded). Read through the words and I think you will understand why I was broken and why I was able to worship in the midst of my fear.

Where Your Praise Never Ends

Ones that have gone before us

Saints that have joined your chorus

Know of your glory now

My voice prepares the notes

That I’ll sing before your throne

Rehearsing the day I’ll see you face to face.

Because I long to be where your praise never ends.

Where your glory resides.

In the Kingdom of light

In the Kingdom of light

Your praise never ends

Forever begins

In the Kingdom of light

In the Kingdom of light

Your praise never ends

Forever begins

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