With Thanksgiving around the corner I’ve seen different people share why they are thankful.  Last Sunday at church we had the opportunity to do that as we had our Thanksgiving celebration service where people could share testimonies of God’s faithfulness.

I shared that I’m thankful for Morgan’s cancer.

Huh?  How could I be thankful that my 14-year-old son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma earlier this year?  While I would not wish what my family has gone through this year on anybody I am thankful.  Why?

Let me count the ways.

  1. I saw my son’s faith in Christ grow.  Morgan has a new level of maturity that I’m not sure would have existed, at least at this stage of his life, if it were not for the illness he was diagnosed with.  If he reads this before he lets this go to his head – he’s still a teenage boy who does stupid stuff on occasion, but we saw spiritual growth in him over the past few months.
  2. My family grew ever more dependent on Jesus.  I think we were given a better sense of what dependency is and what it isn’t.  Life dealt us circumstances that were beyond our control.  We truly learned what it meant to be dependent.
  3. Our family got to experience the God Who Heals – we are so thankful that Morgan is now in remission.
  4. We experienced God as provider.  We had some unexpected financial challenges that occurred with different needs that cropped up.  Simple things like suddenly having to eat out more since we were in the hospital a lot, needing an additional laptop, my losing my job this summer, and lacking the time to do things like cook.  God provided.
  5. Opportunities to share Christ and testify to God’s goodness during the months of treatment.  I don’t believe we’ll know this side of heaven what kind of impact Morgan’s testimony has had.
  6. The opportunity to be an encouragement to families with sick children.  My family has a whole new appreciation and ability to empathize now with families in similar circumstances.
  7. A real sense of God’s peace, strength and comfort through the entire ordeal.  We knew that God would never leave us nor forsake us.  With the type of diagnosis, how quickly Morgan received care, and other instances throughout his treatment we saw God as work.
  8. We experienced the love and support of the Body of Christ.  Wow.  I’m still blown away by the prayer, gifts, meals, visits and words of encouragement.

I’m sure I could continue to add to this list, but ultimately we saw God’s promises fulfilled.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” (ESV).  We probably still don’t’ see all the good  (and maybe never will) that God accomplished through Morgan’s cancer.  So looking back at the last seven months I can say, “yes God I am thankful for Mo’s cancer.”

Originally posted at VanderBlog

  1. I don’t believe that you actually believe that. You ran with a disturbing headline to coax people offended or alarmed by such a provocative statement to read it. I guess it worked.

    98 times out of 100 I think if given the ultimatum, you wouldn’t wish that your son would go through that ordeal again, the other 2% being you actually hating your son on a level that low, or you not being of sound mind. I’d also like to think that 98 times out of 100 if you were publicly asked by people with whom you respect, or whose opinion you actually care about if you were “thankful” for you son’s cancer, you would be sensible enough to say ‘no’. But, this being the internet that doesn’t matter so much since we often don’t account for who reads this drivel. Disgraceful if you meant it, but I don’t actually believe that you did.

    1. Did you bother to read why I was thankful? I am. My son grew and our family grew as a result. I do believe God can make good out of a bad situation. You seem offended by this post, but my son wasn’t. My wife wasn’t. Whose opinion do you think I care more about? Certainly not yours.
      Did I say I wished he would go through the ordeal again? Of course not! If we had to do it over again would we? Probably not, but since we can’t time travel we can be thankful for what God in the midst of some pretty awful circumstances and rejoice in the fact that He spared us from worse.
      Now I’d suggest that perhaps you ask yourself what prompted such
      a vitriolic response to a post such as this. This shouldn’t be controversial, and it was meant to be an encouragement so frankly I’m shocked anyone would be offended by this. That’s a you problem. Perhaps you have some baggage related to cancer. If so I’m sorry. I know everybody deals with this in their own way. This is how my family and I look at this event in our lives. We obviously have a different worldview.

      1. Well if you do not care about my opinion, why reply? I think it’s perfectly okay to write an article about how your son’s cancer brought you closer as a family and to your faith, but I don’t think that the cancer itself is something to be thankful for (which is what the headline implies). Perhaps if you put the headline “why I am thankful for my faith and/or family” or “How cancer brought my family together” and then wrote the article then it would be fine, but I doubt that these headlines would have garnered as much attention (hence why you put the headline that you did in the first place).

        I wouldn’t class my post as vitriolic. If anything, I’m puzzled. I just think that a headline as shocking as this could only be meant for one purpose, to shock. It is a neat trick, to publish a provocative headline purely for the purpose of reading it, but I just don’t know if I were willing, were I in your position, to put my good name on the line just to get someone to read an article.

      2. “the other 2% being you actually hating your son on a level that low, or you not being of sound mind.”

        That’s not vitriolic? You’re puzzled because we don’t share the same worldview. Like I said that is a you problem, not a problem with the post or the headline. Nobody who knows me or my family was offended by this comment because they understand where I am coming from. Yes the headline was meant to grab one’s attention and I meant what I said for the reasons I listed.

    2. Yes It is a shocking headline, but did you read the rest of the article? We can not choose what happens to us. But as believers we know God can take a bad situation and bring good out of it. Nobody wished this on Morgan, but he was strong in his faith and used this to give his testimony to others, impacting many other lives. He knows we are very proud of him.

      We all love Morgan very much and do not wish that it will happen to him again, but we take whatever God gives us in life and make the best of it. Yes as a believer we rejoice in the good things that happen even in the mist of bad situations. As a follower of Jesus, we know that God has a purpose for our lives that is more than just self serving.

      If you truly don’t understand the love and respect that is being shown here, perhaps it’s time you find a Bible teaching Church and ask for counselling. It is you that needs help!

      1. Well one has to wonder why you responded the way you did. There is either a worldview issue or some baggage present. Why take the time to leave a comment like this. Like I said before nobody who knows Morgan or our family were offended by the headline. You are missing the forest through the trees.

      2. I took the time to make a comment because that is how I feel. I wasn’t being disingenuous when I said it: he was really nice until he told me to go and get counselling. Strange advice to offer, given he knows nothing about me. The comment was really nice, talking about the love of his family, Christ, God and a sentence about his thoughts on the piece then straight out of leftfield made assumption about understanding and told me to get counselling, without even a segway.

      3. You feel I was showing a superior attitude by saying that I’ll pray for your understanding? I pray for God’s grace in watching over the sick, hungry and homeless children as well as protection and guidance for our president, our armed forces as well as my family and friends. Why, because God calls for us to pray for all of his children, which includes you and I. So you see I am not better or superior to you; God ask us to pray for those who disagree with us as well as our enemy’s.

        It is unfortunate truth in today’s culture we have to make bold, shocking statements in order to get peoples attention. This article got your attention and obviously confused you, but instead of asking my son to explain so you could understand, you chose to strike out.

        In our journey through life God places trials and burdens on us to strengthen us. Things like cancer, heart attaches and disabilities. As our faith grows, we give thanks for these trials that help us build character. We obviously don’t wish for them, we just make the best of a bad situation and watch how God brings good out of it. You see, I have another grandson Drew, who has been in the Autism Spectrum since he was three and he is ten now. I pray for God’s healing each and every day, but I also give thanks for the many lives that he has and continues to touch.

        I meant no disrespect when I suggested you ask for counselling. The spiritual council of a pastor or elder of a good church is something I recommend for anyone, myself included, when we are in need of spiritual understanding.

    3. It depends on your perspective Hans. All lives have adversity. We can be thankful for the lessons and benefits of that adversity or become bitter, sad, self pitying, or any number of negative and unconstructive reactions. Shane’s was neither a wishful or absolute statement, but one that reflected on the positive consequences of dealing with adversity. He could have been maudlin and self-indulgent, but instead he focused on the maxim that we all face whether given to us by God or not –

      God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
      The courage to change the things I can,
      And the wisdom to know the difference.

      Often times our self indulgent, weak culture knows not the third line to this prayer. Wise people, including Shane, do. You have chosen to strike out at another human being who has that wisdom because you lack that understanding.

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