“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Cor. 13:12).

Cancer seems to be everywhere, and although there aren’t many things I can, in good conscience, say I truly hate, I honestly do feel as though I hate cancer. It causes fear. Pain. Death. It’s a thief–ransacking lives. Robbing people of time. Stealing loved ones away too soon.

Some time ago I was trying to email a friend, inquiring on a mutual friend’s father who’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was preparing for extensive and painful surgery. Even with all this, the doctors gave him a very slim chance for full recovery. As I typed my message, for some reason–when I tried to write the word “cancer”–my computer autocorrected and wrote instead, “Can see.”

Can see?

I was struck and immediately thought, “No, I CAN’T see… I can’t see why cancer has to be so prevalent. I can’t see why so many good people leave so soon. I can’t see why loved ones must be left behind to mourn in anguish.

I CAN’T SEE!

And it’s true. I can’t see why so many people are currently battling cancer. I pray for them. I hope for them. I want for them more time. Less pain. More appetite. Less fear. More hair…

And for those closest to the ones battling cancer, I can’t see how they endure–watching their loved ones suffer. Enduring, alongside their sick spouse, sleepless nights. Cries of agony. Whispers of dreams not yet realized. Hopeful prognoses turned to “There’s nothing more we can do…” No–

I CAN’T SEE!

“Can see?” I scoffed. Stupid autocorrect. C.A.N.C.E.R. I typed more slowly. Methodically. And finally appearing correctly, I moved on in my message.

But the real message–His message–is becoming more clear to me. And although I’ll probably need to be reminded again (I’m a very slow and sometimes stubborn learner, after all!), the “Take Home” from this is just that–

I. CAN’T. SEE.

Not yet. I can’t see any meaning in cancer. I can’t see any meaning in pain. I can’t see any meaning in loss. Because…

I CAN’T SEE–because, for now, (I) only see through a glass darkly…

I can’t see…No, of course not. My fleshly eyes only want to see that which is pleasant. I close them to things that are not. I want things my way. I’m a selfish girl, after all. I forget that this world is not as it was intended. That selfishness such as mine (no better, no worse) was what tainted it long ago. What stains it still.

Cancer, too–an ugly blemish upon an imperfect, sin-scarred world. Not what God intended–no! But thankfully, through Christ, it’s what He has indeed redeemed. I say it again, with thankfulness–and suddenly, the blinders of hate (even toward cancer) begin to fall away:

God, through Christ, has redeemed the world! Cancer doesn’t get the last word. Pain and death don’t either. Agony and loss aren’t purposeless, as there’s beauty in brokenness–purpose even in pain.

Ah, yes–though there is much I indeed cannot see or fully understand just yet, perhaps through His lens of grace and with His enabling power, I CAN SEE some things. Maybe I can even see purpose in cancer–if such is, for some, the portal through which one must pass to enter into his or her eternal Home. And there, where pain and sickness are no more, one can finally see Jesus “face to face” (I Cor. 13:12b).

And even on this side of the veil, the light of His countenance does shine through–offering hope and lighting the way for all who seek Him, that we might see the path of peace and walk it. No matter the darkness–even the darkest night of one’s soul. Yes, even cancer.

Dear Jesus, for all those who are facing cancer themselves or for those walking through its ugliness alongside another, we pray for your peace in the midst of this dark night of the soul. Merciful Savior, be ever near. Be ever present. Help us each to see as we walk in the light of your countenance, no matter what we each may face. Amen.