We were sitting in Applebee’s when he said it.
It was over steak, potatoes and salad with too much ranch dressing.
“My cancer saved me, Holly.”
That was the last thing I expected to come from my father’s mouth. The cancer had plagued him, kept him awake in the middle of the night due to debilitating pain and intense fear.
The cancer had robbed him of his physical health and made him look like a concentration camp victim. (he always joked he was trying out for the next Holocaust film)
How in the world had cancer saved him?
He continued, “Before I got cancer, I was so consumed with me. There were things I was holding onto that I would not fully give to God, until the cancer. I am at a place with God now like I’ve never been. I have peace and feel Him with me like never before.”
That day as I sat looking at him, I saw a different man before me. He didn’t look the same — his outer appearance was fading — but his inner spirit that dwelt with Christ was gleaming.
Oh friends, we look at blessings so incorrectly sometimes. We always equate them with good health, prosperity, and warm, fuzzy feelings.
We say, “I had a blessed Christmas” because we got a lot of things and gorged on yummy food. True, these are blessings, but what about the person in the hospital whose body is wracked in pain and feels alone? Are they not blessed?
I was studying the word blessed today and the Greek meaning.
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What was He meaning here?
This is what my keyword Bible study says:
The Greek translated word “blessed” makarioi, means “fully satisfied”. In the New Testament the term is used for the joy that comes from salvation. This satisfying joy is not the result of favorable circumstances in life, but comes only from being indwelt by Christ. Therefore, makarioi denotes far more than “happy” which is derived from the English word “hap” and connected with luck or favorable circumstances.The first step towards blessedness is a realization of one’s own spiritual helplessness.
Listen to the Message version of the beatitudes: Matthew 5:1-8
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
Blessings from Jesus’ standpoint are not the same as ours, are they? His Kingdom is upside down from this world’s.
I’m realizing that only when we are full of Him, and not ourselves, are we the most blessed.
A blessing is not always a feel good feeling. Our greatest blessing is our need for Christ.
So friend, today, if you are at the end of your rope, at the end of you, at the end of not knowing what to do and you’ve worked up an appetite for God, you may be more blessed now than you have ever been.
The cancer may have robbed my father of his physical life and health, but it gave him something way meaningful and real:
The contentment that can only come from Jesus Christ; the peace of knowing where he was going and knowing God like never before.
The kingdom of heaven on this earth.