Every Christian Beats Cancer
Darrell Carman was a member of my church who died of cancer six months ago. His wife, Ann, had died six months earlier with COVID (I wrote about her in another post, “Real Churches Commune with Dead Saints.”)
Thinking about Darrell in the days after his death and what he must have been through in heaven, I started thinking about what it means to “beat cancer”. We’ve all seen t-shirts and bumper stickers that say, “I beat cancer.” And of course by to beat they mean Survived. This is how you “beat” it. To live is to win; to die is a loss. (To be clear, I rejoice for everyone who survives cancer.)
But by that definition, Darrell didn’t beat cancer — cancer beat him. On some level, that’s obviously true, but it’s not the whole truth. Because as followers of Jesus, we walk by faith, not by sight. This does not mean that we close our eyes to the painful realities that await us, but it does mean that we open our eyes to the larger picture that God paints for us in his Word. That’s what it means to walk by faith. Faith is the conviction of things we do not yet see but are promised by God in His Word (Heb. 11:1).
If we walk on sight, we’ll conclude that cancer beat Darrell Carman. But if we walk by faith, we will see a gloriously bigger picture. To help us do this, I would like to share three biblical and practical reasons why Darrell Carman has, in fact, to beat Cancer.
1. Cancer didn’t kill Darrell’s faith in Jesus
You might be tempted to think that the worst thing cancer can do is destroy your body. But it’s not. The worst thing cancer can do is destroy your faith – make you believe that God isn’t really good or that he doesn’t really love you or that you don’t really have to know him, otherwise why would he let that happen to you? It’s the worst thing cancer can do.
It didn’t do that to Darrell. Whether it was six months earlier when he lost his wife or six weeks before his death when he was diagnosed, Darrell always gave the same answer: “God is good. He’s been good to me and I’m ready to meet him. Although God killed him, Darrell trusted him.
The worst thing cancer can do is destroy your faith.
And the reason Darrell had that confidence wasn’t that he was a perfect man. He had many sins to haunt him, like all of us. Remember this, reader, because one day you are going to die. And if, like Darrell, you have time to see death come, Satan will haunt you with your long record of transgressions: all the people you’ve hurt, all the times you’ve failed, all the reasons you don’t. don’t deserve paradise. And the more you concentrate on that, the more you will be afraid of dying.
But Darrell wasn’t afraid, because he wasn’t looking back; he looked forward (Phil. 3:13). And when he looked back, it was not to his sins but to the cross where Jesus paid for them. As Scripture says, “This is the victory that overcomes the world: our faith” (1 John 5:4). If that’s true, then Darrell Carman has won. He beat cancer, because cancer didn’t kill his faith in Jesus. He only refined it.
2. Cancer didn’t separate Darrell from Jesus
If Satan’s goal was to cut Darrell off from Jesus, he failed miserably. The cancer not only did not separate Darrell from Christ, it only brought him closer to Christ (Phil. 1:23). There is never anything Cancer can do to separate Darrell from the love of God. Jesus was never going to lose him, because Jesus loved him and bought him and prayed that Darrell would be with him where he was (John 17:24). And now Jesus’ prayer has been answered.
Just consider the contrast between what Darrell went through in his last six weeks on earth and what he’s going through now. Not only is he totally free from pain and sin, and totally filled with righteousness, but he has been reunited with his wife of 50 years. And best of all, he was finally able to see Jesus’ face and say, “Thank you for the cross! Thanks for loving me! Thanks for bringing me here!”
Can we believe all of this and still think that cancer somehow beat Darrell? If it’s a “loss”, then the sooner we all lose, the better. But the Bible does not call it “loss”; the Bible calls it “gain” (Phil. 1:21). Far from beating Darrell, cancer delivered him directly into the presence of Jesus.
3. Cancer can’t even keep what it has. AT Excerpt from Darrell
The best argument that cancer beat Darrell is that his body was taken to a hill in his hometown of Hartsville, Tennessee, and buried in the ground. Cancer has taken her body, and it’s worth crying for. Yet I would point out that Germany and Japan won many battles in World War II – real victories – but ultimately lost.
It is the same with cancer. All that can be said of cancer is that it has won a battle. But the outcome of the war is decided. D-Day is already raced and won. As the old saying goes, “Christ rose from the dead, trampling death with death, and giving life to those who are in the graves.”
All that can be said of cancer is that it has won a battle. But the outcome of the war is decided. D-Day is already raced and won.
All the cancer could take from Darrell was his body, but he can’t even keep it. Because when Jesus died on the cross and sent the Holy Spirit into Darrell’s heart, he was making a deposit on Darrell’s body, and one day he will come and collect (Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8:11 ). And when that happens, the body now sown in weakness will be lifted up in power. This mortal will put on immortality, and this humble body will be transformed to resemble the glorious body of Jesus.
When I was sitting by Darrell’s bedside a few days before his death, seeing what cancer had reduced him to, I looked at his nightstand and noticed a picture of him as a young man. It was a version of him that I had never seen. Darrell in the vigor of youth, with the cheerful smile of a newly married man. And I couldn’t help but think that the next time I see him, he’ll probably look something like this.
O death, where is your victory? O cancer, where is your sting?
We mourn Darrell, but as those who believe in a risen Christ, we are not sad like those who have no hope. Faith sees the big picture. And even now, as we await final victory, we can say by faith that Darrell Carman has conquered cancer.