The phone rang at 8:23 this morning. Caller ID says it’s my urologist’s office calling. My expectation: “Mr. Farr, everything is ok. All the tests came back normal.” What I heard: “Mr. Farr, I’m sorry to tell you that you have intermediate prostate cancer. The good news is that we caught it early and it is very treatable.” The conversation went on, but my mind stopped processing.
Wait… what???? Ok, I would not have been surprised if the news was skin cancer. That runs in the family. Both sides. Or heart trouble, or blood pressure. Those run in the family, too. Prostate cancer? No one has that in my family. And besides, I’m too young, right? I’m in great shape. I exercise, watch what I eat, keep my skin covered from the sun, don’t drink, don’t smoke. Prostate cancer??? Really???
Then my deepest anxiety: How am I to tell my wife? How am I to tell my mother? How am I to tell my three grown children? And since they are grown men now, I have blessed them with the reality of having to be checked for prostate cancer much earlier in life than normal.
Deep breath. Tell the wife. Shock! Distress! Anger! Tears! More tears! More shock! Tell mom. Tell the children. Then, a sudden release. My shock is gone, I have no fear, no anxiety. Only an awesome peace and calm within. Where did this come from?
God’s Spirit reminded me that He is in control and I am not. I have plenty of life left and this is not the end of me. I feel fine and I have no symptoms. After all, this cancer was found during my annual physical. But God went deeper than that with me:
- First, He reminded me that every breath is precious, so don’t squander it. Find something in every situation to glorify Him and share Jesus.
- Second, I am not promised an easy life. Life is full of suffering. Up until now (end even now), I have had a life free of great suffering. Except for a few kidney stones and some minor self-inflicted wounds, I haven’t been to the hospital since 1977.
- Third, trials are a part of the Christian disciple’s walk. 1 Peter 1:6-9 reminds us to rejoice in our trials so that our faith can be tested, thus building perseverance. Perseverance strengthens and proves our faith which testifies to the Risen Savior.
- Fourth, take nothing for granted. Today might be my last day. Live today as though it were my last.
- Accept the lessons God wants to teach, especially in the middle of adversity and trials.
This will be a long journey, and I appreciate your prayers. I know I’m not on the path alone. First and foremost, my God and my Savior are with me all the way. I have the greatest family in the world who are supporting me. I have the greatest Christian brothers and sisters who are supporting me. There are many others traveling this path, too. And there are some who are facing much more difficult trials than I. So, I rejoice in my trial. I am excited about the wonderful things God wants to teach me.