It is one thing to talk about cancer and God’s sovereignty. It is another thing entirely to talk about cancer and God’s sovereignty while it is attacking your body.
Dr. James Boice was the Senior Minister at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for more than 30 years. Upon learning of his cancer, which would eventually take his life, he made an announcement to the people he obviously loved.
And he didn’t just love them, he lead them by his own example. I’ve included excerpts below:
If I were to reflect on what goes on theologically here, there are two things I would stress.
One is the sovereignty of God. That’s not novel. We have talked about the sovereignty of God here forever. God is in charge. When things like this come into our lives, they are not accidental. It’s not as if God somehow forgot what was going on, and something bad slipped by. It’s not the answer that Harold Kushner gave in his book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. God does everything according to his will. We’ve always said that.
But what I’ve been impressed with mostly is something in addition to that.
It’s possible, isn’t it, to conceive of God as sovereign and yet indifferent? God’s in charge, but he doesn’t care. But it’s not that. God is not only the one who is in charge; God is also good. Everything he does is good. And what Romans 12, verses 1 and 2 says is that we have the opportunity by the renewal of our minds—that is, how we think about these things—actually to prove what God’s will is.
And then it says, “His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Is that good, pleasing, and perfect to God? Yes, of course, but the point of it is that it’s good, pleasing, and perfect to us. If God does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good. So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward, and who knows what God will do?