Cancer and the Fight of Faith
Mike PohlmanMike serves as the senior pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Bellingham, Washington. Mike is a former church planter in the Pacific Northwest, and served for three years as the executive producer of The Albert Mohler Program, a nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to Christianity and culture. Mike has a PhD in American church history from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike is husband to Julia and father to four wonderful children: Samuel (12), Anna (10), John (9) and Michael (4). When not pastoring, Mike loves sports, music, and hanging out with his family.
- 2009 Jun 05
Within the last three weeks my wife has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. This, to say the least, has been a deeply difficult circumstance to get our hearts and minds around.
While everyone is unique in how they deal with the type of news we've received in these weeks, when a heavy providence hits there are many common struggles among Christians. Perhaps the paramount one being the effort to stay strong in faith. "I believe; help my unbelief!" cried the father of the boy with an unclean spirit (Mark 9:24). We've been learning again for the first time why the apostle exhorts us to "Fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12). Indeed, some days it feels all too like a fight to lay hold of the promises of God and not let go.
But he keeps us believing and through this trial we have grown in our conviction that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
One way we've been helped in the fight is reading John Piper's "Life As a Vapor." The book includes "thirty-one meditations for your faith" with a brief prayer at the close of each chapter. Today's meditation was on Matthew 6:19-24. A timely reminder to "not lay up for [ourselves] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Yes, where our treasure is, we find our heart. And we want our hearts to be lifted heavenward. Always. For this present life, whether we're given 20 years or 90 is but a vapor when seen in the light of eternity (James 4:14).
We were blessed by the prayer at the close of today's reading:
Gracious Father of light,
give us eyes to see Your worth.
Heal our blindness. Save us from the
deadly disease of seeing the world
as worth more than its Maker.
Restore the capacity of our hearts to cherish
infinite beauty and savor infinite sweetness.
Deliver us from the deadening effects
of thinking this short life is the main thing.
In Jesus' name, we pray,
Please join us in this prayer for the sake of your faith and ours.