Just the word sends fear coursing through our veins. Why does my child have cancer? What did my child do to deserve this? What did I do to deserve this? Why our family? These are the questions all of us fighting childhood cancer have asked. Cindy and I wrestled with these same questions 14 years ago this month…how strange that Jay would be diagnosed during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We still wrestle with this at times even now. I want to assure everyone reading this that God does have a plan for you, your children and any suffering you may have to endure. We don’t enjoy coming to grips with that statement or take it lightly. We don’t have all the answers, but I believe God does and He shares them with us at the appropriate time.
Do you believe God is in absolute control? Did God know we would suffer? Did God know that some of our children would have cancer before they were formed in the womb? He is in absolute control. He knew each of us and our children and what we would have to endure over our lifetimes. Long before our son’s diagnosis God had a plan. God uses suffering to glorify Him. It’s our whole purpose and goal in life…to glorify Him. It is in the midst of suffering that God gets the ultimate glory. What is the first thing we do when we are faced with a crisis…we turn to God for help! Philippians 1:29 tells us “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to SUFFER for him.”
Do you think God is just winging it? God had a plan long before we arrived on this Earth. When the opportunity to glorify God in testing comes, it comes without warning or notice and when least expected. God sacrificed His only Son. Think about that for a moment. God allowed His son Jesus to endure some of the most horrendous things physically a human could endure. Why did He sacrifice His son? He did it because He loves us. He loves our children and us. He did it to save all of us. He wants to spend eternity with us. There was a purpose and a plan for Jesus suffering and it was the ultimate show of love. God has a purpose and a plan for our suffering. Sometimes we have an opportunity to see that on this side of eternity. Other times it remains a mystery this side of Heaven. That can be a bitter pill to swallow and we get it. God revealed the purpose and plan for the life of our son in the waiting rooms of St. Jude. Does that mean we like it? Not always. We would trade everything to have our son back. We recognize now that his life inspired Jay’s Hope and, in turn, has help thousands of children in Georgia. Galatians 6:2 says “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We know that the why questions will never go away completely. I don’t suspect any of us will ever feel comfortable with the hardships we are certain to face. Know that our suffering is not in vain. God knew what we were going to have to endure before He ever formed us. On this journey, Jay’s Hope is here to walk beside our families. We are a face of experience to help families in Georgia fighting childhood cancer. We may not have all the answers, but we know who does. We will pray for you and with you for that wisdom. While it is a shame that there needs to be a month set aside for Childhood Cancer Awareness, we can clearly see God using our suffering to help others. I’ll leave you with
1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Jason Gaskins, Jay’s Dad