WDMA Prop C

Circumstances don’t control my attitude

by | Jun 17, 2022 | Opinion

By Jeff Denton

Cancer.

Not what I was expecting to hear from the doctor. But surprisingly comforting at some level.

It sure explained the extreme sickness I was experiencing. It explained twenty pounds of weight loss in three weeks. It explained months of pain that had been increasing.

I had convinced myself I just wasn’t aging well. I was a wimp to the natural aches and pains that come with an older body. It had finally reached an unbearable level. Like the old tombstone that reads, “I told them I was sick,” I finally had a diagnosis that matched the level of pain I was experiencing. I told the doctor, “It’s a relief to find a cause that makes me not feel so insane.”

Of course, it didn’t immediately answer the, “What’s Next” question. And, it sure didn’t even pretend to address, “Why me?”.

As a pastor, I’ve stood at the bedsides of those who’ve died, next to infant caskets, and with those who’ve lost a loved one in both expected and unexpected ways. I have a theology that addresses why evil, pain and suffering exists in this world. So, I didn’t need to wrestle with the “Why me?” question.

Yet, I’ve lived a pretty clean life. I’ve never smoked or drank alcohol. I’ve only had sexual relations with one woman my entire life. I even take one step back from the microwave when waiting for my morning muffin to warm up. Doesn’t that guarantee me some exemption from a certain set us illnesses and afflictions?

Apparently not.

What I do know is that “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) It hopefully doesn’t shock anyone to know I believe what I preach. Like the Apostle Paul in that passage, I believe I have more to do here on earth. I don’t want to cut that intentionally short as long as there’s purpose for me here.

But, also like the Apostle Paul, if God says I’ve accomplished what I was put here to do, then I’m not afraid of what lies beyond this life. I’m reconciled to God through faith in Christ. I know the glory that awaits because of my faith. Not because I deserve a great eternity; but because Jesus paid the way for me when I didn’t deserve it.

I agree with the great D.L. Moody, “Someday you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody…is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.”

I discovered three verses in the bible that I have called my “life verses” for around four decades. From 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I strive every day, not always succeeding, to live with Joy, Prayer, and Gratitude. Hopefully that’s not a shock to those who know me. That didn’t change because of a diagnosis. The approach I hold to life doesn’t change because of my circumstances. My circumstances bend to my attitude because of the choices I made far in advance.

Cancer isn’t changing how I live, or my attitude in life…or death. It also doesn’t mean I’m going to take up drinking, smoking, or sleeping around. (Sorry ladies and potential drinking buddies.)

Cancer doesn’t change who I am. It just becomes part of the story. And I control my perspective.

0 Comments

Related News

Just a bit peaved

Just a bit peaved

By John Moore I used to pay little attention to the world’s little idiosyncrasies, but now they seem ever present. And it’s more than slightly annoying. I can’t be the only one. When I was getting change back from the fast-food drive-thru recently, it all became...

read more
Loving the unlovable

Loving the unlovable

By Rick Wood There’s so much going on in our world today…just turn on the news and you can hear of the tragedies that are taking place throughout our nation. Here in Texas, the town of Uvalde is mourning the deaths of nineteen elementary students and two teachers less...

read more
Toying with time

Toying with time

By John Moore I don’t recognize toys anymore. Our grandkids are coming from out of state to visit and I can’t find anything to get them as a surprise. Why? I don’t know what anything is or does. Toys should teach you how to prepare for life and be fun. Bakugan –...

read more
The Clothesline

The Clothesline

By John Moore We had a clothesline, but no washer or dryer. So the Laundromat was a weekly destination. Today, most folks would find the absence of a laundry room in the home as foreign as no air conditioning or Wi-Fi. Fifty years ago, most...

read more
What grandmothers do

What grandmothers do

By John Moore My grandmother made the best oatmeal. It was so good, it even tasted good cold. She made it each morning for my grandfather who always left some for any of his grandchildren who wanted it. I always did. There were no microwaves, so oatmeal was made on...

read more
We will reap what we sow

We will reap what we sow

By Kris Segrest When a farmer has a barren field, what does he do? He could complain about it. He could make excuses for it. He could pray about it. Yet, none of these things will help him until he plants a seed. He must get the seed in the ground to see the condition...

read more
Mow mow mow

Mow mow mow

by John Moore When I was a kid, I was the designated (fill in the blank). If the TV antenna needed turning to pick up Star Trek or Dragnet, I was the designated antenna turner. If the channel needed changing, I was the designated remote control. When the ubiquitous...

read more
What are you listening for

What are you listening for

By Ray Miranda Two guys are walking in the heart of New York City. As you can imagine they hear honking horns, the sounds of cars moving, people talking – really, just a whole at once. As one guy talks, he notices the other looks like his mind is wandering. He’s...

read more
Choose to be loved

Choose to be loved

By Lynn Burgess A verse that has been on my mind latelyis John 3:16. If you’re familiar with the bible at all, you probably know this verse… For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish...

read more