HOPE BEYOND CURE
I was recently given a book to read, with the title ‘Hope Beyond Cure’. The person who gave me the book thought it might be helpful, in regards to how I’m managing my life with terminal cancer.
A few details about the book: It’s written by David McDonald, who has been in Christian ministry for more than two decades – as a pastor of Crossroads Christian Church (Canberra, Australia) and a chaplain to the Brumbies Super Rugby Team, until a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer (in December 2011) shook his world.
It’s a short book of only 91 pages, with 7 chapters (Hopeless, Shattered dreams, Searching for hope, Faith, Hope, Love, and Now). It’s well written and makes for an easy read. Published by Matthias Media in 2013 (www.matthiasmedia.com.au).
Well, in a sentence, I couldn’t really identify with some of David’s early reactions to his diagnosis. I think that’s just me (most people would identify with it); we are on different roads, in a journey to the same place. Overall, I think it’s an excellent book for anyone with a terminal disease – each one of us may react differently in terms of details but we all face the same basic questions.
A few quotes from the book, will provide you with a better idea of the style of David’s book.
Yet when the prognosis is bad, when all attempts at medical intervention have been exhausted, when prayers have not been answered as we might wish – what then? Is there still hope?
Death will not have the final say because there is hope beyond cure. I know, because I am living in this hope.
In the chapter on Faith, David talks about his doubts and belief. It’s a good discussion for those people who are struggling with the basic questions about our faith in Jesus, the Christ.
On a personal level, call me strange, but these sorts of questions, didn’t appear on my radar screen: ‘Is there really a God? Do I trust Him? Can I face death without fear of what lies beyond? Can we believe in the resurrection of Jesus?‘
I went straight to verses like Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that in all things (the good and the bad) God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ I’ve never let go of the promises of God’s Word, and as time goes on – the stronger my grip – and this is not by my strength but by the strength given to me (assisted by lots of prayer), by God’s Spirit.
Yet, there were some really good points to be found in this chapter on Faith; on page 40, such as: “Reading the Bible provided competition for my doubts and fears. When I ignored God, my fears and uncertainty grew. When I read the Bible listening to God speak, he provided answers and strengthened my faith. It was a battle.”
One point I fully endorse, is found in these statements (p77): “Having cancer intensifies life’s urgency. I can’t simply put things off until tomorrow, or next year, or some time in the indefinite future. If something really matters, then I need to do it now. … It’s about focusing on how and where I can make a difference that will count for eternity.”
What’s David’s current situation? He is now classified as NED (No evidence of disease re scans), and he continues with three-weekly courses of chemotherapy, on the assumption that cancer cells are still present. Wow, I think to myself – all those years on chemotherapy – he is a real champion. I could never do that – ten doses at a time (thirty weeks), is my ‘maximum’ limit.
In summary, I can recommended this great little book to anyone who has a terminal illness or who is providing care for someone who does.
[David has a blog: www.macarisms.com
I had a quick look – he posts very readable articles – and he talks about this book, and his progress since it was published.]