Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, April 28, 2008

God Knows

A dear friend of ours just learned recently she has cancer. She goes in this week for a battery of tests to determine how bad the cancer is and if it is treatable. Her doctor says it looks to be in advance stages.

My wife and I have known her and her husband for years. We all attended the same singles group 10 years ago before any of us were married. Her and her husband have four young children. Our kids are in Awana together with their kids and she is an integral part of the pre-school program at our church.

A glum spirit of melancholy has descended upon her immediate friends because of the thought of what all this could mean for her and her family. She is young, a loving wife and mother of four small children, and a devoted Christian.

Yesterday while driving home after church, my wife recounted a conversation she had with another gal who is a mutual friend. My wife came out of the nursing room and saw this gal sitting alone on a bench weeping over the plight of their friend. they start talking about her situation, what will happen if she dies, who will raise the children, that sort of thing. However, during the course of the conversation, this gal says to my wife in passing, "God knows."

My wife asked, "What do you mean when you say, 'God knows?'" Her friend replied, "What do you mean?"

My wife continued, "Do you mean that God knows, like He knows about gas prices being too high, or that He knows, because He is intimately involved in her situation?"

This gal comes from a charismatic background where the idea is taught that any sin, suffering, sickness, and trial, is the doing of the devil. In this theology, God would never do anything bad to His children. Her and her husband have been at our church for a few years and they are slowly retraining their minds to think biblically in this area.

She responded to my wife's question by asking, "Are you saying God gave her this cancer?"

My wife, who never ceases to amaze me with her ability to counsel theologically, replies,

"Yes, and not only that, it is good."

I only wish I could capture the infection of her voice when she said this to me.

Her friend, taken aback just a bit, responds, "How is cancer good?"

"It is good," my wife replied, "Just like when it pleased the Lord to crush His son for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:10). He was glorified in the crushing of Jesus."

"But she could die and leave 4 children without a mother and a young man without a wife," her friend stated.

"Of course we don't know that; we have no idea what God will do," My wife replied. "But we will see God's character put on display, and your personal faith is already being stretched and forced to grow as you see God at work in her life."

As my wife re-told her interchange with her friend, it caused me to think on practical terms, especially when we dialog with each other on matters of personal faith and the daily ins-and-outs of the Christian walk. There have been many times I have said in passing, "God knows," as I contemplated a trial of a friend or some other serious situation. I am sure many of us have. We will say "God is in control," "God is sovereign," etc., but have we honestly thought through the theology of these oft repeated Christian platitudes?

There is a lot packed into those two words, "God knows." The question is, do we genuinely believe and live out what those two words imply?

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Blogger Hayden said...

Boy you sure married 'out of your league' (So did I ) :)

We too have a mother of four in the late stages of cancer and it has caused a whole group of her friends to really get their noses in the Bible. (They had not done this previously)

A great article that I would recommend everyone read and keep for such a time as this is "Don't Waste Your Cancer" by John Piper. You can get it on his website www.desiringgod.org.

Powerful, convicting, and comforting all at the same time.

6:11 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Hayden said...


It should read:

We too have a mother of four in our congregation.

Guess I should proof read especially in the morining

6:12 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Jason said...


My father passed away from brain cancer a little over a year ago. He was 58 at the time and had spent over 30 years in small-town pastoral ministry.

When someone asked him how he was doing (which was often) his standard reply was: "Better than I deserve. I deserved hell, but God gave me a little cancer instead."

That "little cancer" was good in so many ways. One way is that on the day the Lord took him home I was able to share the gospel with his hospice nurse just a few feet from him. Yes indeed, cancer is good.

7:43 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

I hope you don't mind, I posted this on my own blog, it was so God-honoring...

I thank you very much for this.

2:43 AM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

this caused quite a stir among my Christian friends...

It seems that anything to do with God's freedom and Sovereignty gets under people's skin a little.

Hasn't anyone read Job?

11:54 AM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

What exactly got under their skin? That God ordains evil for the purpose to glorify Himself or that my wife called her cancer good?


3:34 PM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

In answer to your question; both.

These days in Christendom, God only wants good for us, and anything bad is NOT from Him....

3:23 AM, May 06, 2008  

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