In the past decade, I have battled Hepatitis C, gone through a divorce that took several years, and had a complete financial demise with the collapse of the real estate market. Each one of these was a major life event. One after another they came. Facing stage IV lung cancer, has by far been the most difficult trial of all.
When a trial comes knocking, so does an opportunity. I wouldn’t want to go through any those painful experiences again, but I also wouldn’t trade any of the lessons learned and spiritual growth I have experienced through those tough times. I would be far less of a disciple of Jesus Christ without having experienced the blessing of trials.
For some reason, we reap more benefit from trials than good times. In good times, we all too often live life on auto-pilot. Suddenly we encounter turbulence, and it forces us to stop and reassess what life is all about and why we are here. Difficult experiences build character. They show you what you are really made of and where your priorities lie. Major spiritual decisions are made in the midst of a trial. You only learn to lean on Him who is an ever-present help in the time of trouble, when you are in a time of trouble. It is there that you learn faith. You learn to trust.
Along with the limitations, cancer has given me opportunities. Because I have limited time and energy, I have had to find other ways to share my thoughts and convictions. I began writing a blog called “Dan’s Pulpit,” about four times a week. It quickly became my ministry outlet. I was inspired to convert several blog series into books. This book was born of a blog series by the same name. My wife, Heather got involved to add another perspective, as well as to edit and fill out the storyline. The project became hers and was not only something she enjoyed doing, but something that helped her to cope with what we were going through.
My family and I are very aware of the fact that every day, there is someone just like me, hearing the words, “It’s Cancer,” for the first time. My hope is that by sharing my story, others facing this battle can learn, and be encouraged by it.
Often the first question one asks when a disaster strikes is, “Why? Why me? Why the one I love so dearly?” It is a painful realization when one learns that the answer is, “Why not? Why not me? Why not the one I love so dearly?” Trials happen. Godly people suffer and even die every day of evil diseases, persecution, and injustice.
The trial I face now is for my very life. While I am not giving up the fight, I choose to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow until I am through it. I also choose to embrace the God of all comfort. If we look to our own resources only, we will come up short and be greatly discouraged. But when we learn to see He who is invisible, and find rest under the shadow of His wings, we come out on the other side stronger, more in love with the very God who created us, and more faithful.
“The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
You can learn more about Dan Erickson, his family, and his ministry at his blog, “Dan’s Pulpit.” Follow “Facing Cancer With Grace,” to read our continuing story.