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Why me?

Job 38
Romans 8: 18-28
Jane Margaret L. Chan
TH151- Section X
July 19, 2014

Cancer, without going through all the medical details, is a serious and life-threatening
illness that is difficult to cure and even if it is cured, there is a chance of recurrence that
will unfortunately haunt the patient again. Moreover, cancer can strike anyone even a person
living a healthy lifestyle. This is the reason why some, if not most malignant cancer patients
feel depressed and trapped because there may be no other way to end their suffering unless
they die. Hence, I am going to address this homily to teenage and young-adult patients who
are suffering from cancer at its highest stage. These are the patients who have been informed
by their doctors that their days here on earth are numbered but that they may have a small
chance of possibly being cured with no guarantee. These are the patients who also have many
dreams and ambitions that have not been pursued due to their illness. Last but not the least,
these are the patients who may have questioned God at least once in their lifetimes why they
were chosen to be ill.

Dear friends,
First and foremost, without sugarcoating this whole ordeal, I would like to invite you
all to just reflect and think about pain and suffering. Think about the suffering that you are
going through physically because of the pain that you feel in the areas affected by cancer.
Afterwards, think about the suffering that you are going through emotionally because of this
cancer that seems to be like a hindrance from achieving your goals and dreams in life.
Finally, to close this reflection, just think about that first time when you were diagnosed with
cancer how did you feel? How did your loved ones feel? Have you ever given a thought
about why you of all people are the ones who contracted cancer?
And so we formally begin with a quote in this famous book by John Green, The Fault
in our Stars, that says The world is not a wish-granting factory. (Green 182) If we focus on
the negative side of the quote, it can be implied that all human beings inevitably experience
suffering in this world. Not everything that we wish to happen or anything that is happy and
pleasurable for us will always come our way. However, despite knowing this, it is often
human nature for us to complain to God or to no one in particular about the extreme
difficulties we are experiencing. Why me of all people and sometimes, even for no
particular reason, have to go through this horrible experience?
To further illustrate what I am talking about, let me tell you a story: I have a very
close relative who contracted breast cancer a few years ago despite the fact that she lives a
relatively healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating the right kinds of food regularly. She then
underwent chemotherapy and some operations to remove the malignant tumor out of her
breast. However, after around five years, the tumor came back and it was diagnosed to be at
an even worse stage than the first one. Because of this, she was extremely devastated and
complained about why she had to go through it again and why she had to go through so many
trials that even included her son having a mental illness. Like in Jobs story, God made this
astounding speech about how God is almighty and that Job cannot just challenge God despite
his goodness and righteousness and all the misfortunes he has experienced. (Job 38) Again, it
is human nature for us to think like this; however, we cannot simply just always think of
ourselves at the center of our lives. We always have this idea that as long as we do what is
right and good according to God, we will be blessed with a good life. But thats not exactly
how the world works: the will of God for us, in Gods omnipotence, cannot be fathomed
completely.
However, this does not mean to say that since God cannot be fathomed completely
anyway, we would just stop believing in God or even stop doing things according to Gods
will. Rather we should work around it and think of it in another way to be able to overcome
it. Im sure you have all heard of the saying that there is usually a rainbow after or possibly
even during the rain. According to Christian teachings, we have always thought of going to
heaven when we die where we will be reunited with God and all our sufferings will end
and hence, we keep on waiting and hoping for this salvation to come. (Romans 8: 23) But, for
the sake of discussion here, we will not be talking about death here in the literal sense as a
form of salvation because no one really knows what is going to happen once a person dies.
Rather, we are talking about salvation as a shift of perspective about suffering.
There can be two possible ways to think about suffering in a more positive outlook.
The first one is not to be burdened so much about suffering because of this strong belief that
everything will be all right in the near future and that we have to count our blessings. The
second one is that though suffering is obviously horrible and extremely difficult to deal with,
it can actually make a better and stronger person who has more experience to overcome the
other challenges in the world. But for a more fruitful experience and even an appreciation of
suffering, we have to merge both ways together.
Going back to the story of my close relative, who is currently still undergoing
treatment but is already getting better, she realized that complaining and sharing her woes to
us may have helped her ease off her burden for a while but she did not just stop there.
Through the blessing of communication and support from her siblings and mother, she was
able to feel much better and happier and filled with more hope to overcome her illness and
find something worthwhile to do like providing help to other cancer patients as well. Because
of this, she served as an inspiration for all of us especially for my sister and me. This led us to
join an organization called Kythe that caters to help children suffering from chronic illnesses
like cancer by just being with them and playing with them.
Of course, all that I have said are much easier said than done but always remember
that you are not alone in trying to overcome your suffering. Aside from your families and
friends who are always there to love and support you, always remember that through God,
and through the Spirit who helps us in our weakness (Romans 8: 26) we have always had
that drive within us to give us the opportunity to grow and mature through our experiences
and may even help us overcome even more challenging problems in our lives.
With God, your loved ones and most importantly, through your own perseverance as
well, you will be able to break free from the shackles of cancer and you may even be able to
achieve things you have never dreamt of achieving. So starting today: count your blessings,
trust in the Lord, believe in yourself and everything else will just follow.

Reference:
Green, John. The Fault in Our Stars. USA: Penguin Books, 2012. Print.