In the Midst of the Storm

My grandpa has cancer. 

You have no idea how long I let those words roll over my lips, unable to comprehend all that they meant.  We knew something was wrong, but cancer?

It’s a rare, malignant cancer that had already claimed 2/3 of his brain by the time we caught it. Worse still, was the doctor’s assertion that it wasn’t curable, only manageable. Just the words every family wants to hear.

In the first weeks following the diagnosis, I saw a side of my family that I rarely saw. We were defeated. A single word incapacitated us. Cancer. We didn’t want to accept it. It immobilized us. We prayed, but many prayers felt hollow. Where was God in all of this? Where was the God who healed my grandmother of not one, but five bouts of meningitis? Why would he let this happen after everything my grandparents did for their community and family?

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -Matthew 14:27

In the weeks after my devotions when I stumbled upon this verse, I began to learn just what Jesus meant when he said he does not give as the world gives. The world would have instantly healed my grandpa’s cancer. But I think there are things for us to learn through it. I began to see beauty in the midst of the cancer.

See, my grandpa has always been the type of person to use his words more than anything. He’s a counselor. He can be very eloquent. But the cancer makes it very hard for him to get the words out now. Many times he’ll stop halfway through a sentence, losing his train of thought, or simply giving up. All of a sudden, he can’t communicate with us just with his words. And now I’m learning to appreciate a different side of my grandpa. A grandpa whose hugs linger, who will squeeze your hand when you give it to him, who says “I love you” and you pause because you know the effort saying those words took. And when you ask him if he’s afraid, he’ll calmly shake his head no.

When he does speak, he talks of how God has been faithful through the cancer. He talks about how God has spoken to him about life, the end times, and our family. “Wow,” he’ll say, thinking of what he’s learned through these months of silence.

I’m not saying the cancer is easy. Not for any of us. In life, we are often dealt an unfair hand. I think in the midst of those storms though, it’s important not to get so focused on the storm that you miss out on the rays of sunshine breaking through. You’ll drown the moment you lose sight of them.

Honestly, I’m not sure how this story will end. But I know I will continue to seek out the rays of light in this storm.

If you’d like to help support Grandpa’s battle against cancer, click here.