Living in Denial: Cancer and Romans
“You have a disease, and it’s going to kill you,” Dr. Paul told the people.
“Death is coming. It is inevitable, but here’s the treatment plan,” he continued.
The book of Romans is a discussion of the Sin sickness that is killing the human race. Every one of us is stricken. This sickness ALWAYS ends in death…there are no probability statistics. 100% of those stricken with this sickness die, and 100% of the human population is stricken.
“Can’t be,” you say. “I’m strong, healthy, independent. I’m able to cope with Life. I’m relatively happy. Things aren’t so bad.
I know the feeling. When I was told that I had clear cell uterine cancer, my first thought was, “Isn’t it amazing how I can have this in my body, yet feel so strong & healthy!” The temptation to deny the diagnosis was appealing.
But the diagnosis stands. And the end result stands. The only variable is Time.
“The end result of Sin is Death,” Dr. Paul wrote (Rom 3:23)
“Now here’s the treatment plan – a guaranteed 100% cure. The prescription is called “Death.” It is Christ’s blood. He gave it for you when He died. Take it every hour by dying with Him” (see Rom 3:23 and Romans 7).
What! Blood? More death? Yuck!
No thank-you. The cure sounds worse than the sickness! Besides, I’ve got no real symptoms. I’m reading my Bible. I’m praying. I’m going to church. I haven’t committed any great sins. Maybe I’ve made some mistakes, but only an intolerant person would call them sin.
I’ll pass on that prescription, thank you.
Dr. Paul said, “Think of all the Time you will lose in a slow death. Think of all the wasted pain to come. Think of all the peace of mind you could have. Think of all the damaged Life you could avoid.”
But to take a prescription called “Death”?
“Yes, it is the only way. Die to yourself by living in His death. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Therapy doesn’t always make sense, but in the hands of the Professional, it works. You must trust Him.”
And so Paul continues in the book of Romans to describe the death to self that really is the coming alive of the one stricken with Sin.
In my own life, dealing with the treatment plan for this cancer has been much worse than dealing with the cancer itself. Pain, weakness, neurological tremors, bowel disturbance – all have come from the chemotherapy. The tumor cells have not disturbed me in the least!
But death reigns in the tumor cells.
And I must make the choice: deny the presence of the disease because of the lack of symptoms, or deny the treatment plan because of the presence of symptoms.
And in the end, if I am to live, I cannot afford to live in denial. The reality of the disease must be accepted, and the treatment must be accepted.
And so it is with Sin Sickness. If we are to live, we cannot afford to live in denial. We must accept the diagnosis, and we must accept the treatment plan.
The diagnosis is guaranteed accuracy, and the treatment is guaranteed effective.
But it takes dying to live.
October 23, 2009