Despite cancer, ‘God is good’

In every life, there are turning points, both expected and unexpected, that will shape us into who we are, and … Continued

In every life, there are turning points, both expected and unexpected, that will shape us into who we are, and who we will become. We expect birthdays. We hope for marriage. We pray for children. But no one ever predicts that cancer will become a major turning point in his or her life. And yet, for me, it was the biggest turning point that I have ever faced.

When I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare type of kidney cancer, which had already spread into my lymph nodes and spine. For months after my diagnosis I was in and out of hospitals and doctors offices, as the doctors tried to discover how I had gotten this cancer and what was the best way to proceed. As a 20-year-old, I had to look doctors in the eye as they told me I might not have long to live. My cancer had spread extensively, and kidney cancer itself has no cure. My worst nightmare had become the reality of my life.

I cannot even begin to describe the immense anguish of those first few months after hearing my diagnosis. I had to drop out of college for the semester, and go back home to Richmond, Virginia for treatment. Two weeks after hearing the diagnosis, I was at the hospital for major surgery to remove my kidney, a surgery that left me sicker than I could have ever imagined. I spent the following two months in bed, barely able to move or eat, and being carted to and from different doctors to hear their evaluations of my condition. I vividly remember crying with my dad one night, and telling him that I could not remember what it felt like to not be sick. In my mind, it seemed like I would be sick for the rest of my life, and I could barely remember a time when I had not felt like I was slowly fading away. I began to doubt how long I could hold on, and how much I could continue to combat cancer. I became tired of fighting.

Famous theologian and author C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscious and shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” And I could not agree more. My whole life prior to cancer, the Lord has been whispering to me, and at times even speaking to me, to remind me of His presence and love. But my diagnosis became like a megaphone, blaring the Lord’s love for all to hear. Christian and non-Christian friends alike all gathered to pray for me in those dark days. The Lord had to constantly remind me that it is He who controls my life, not the doctors or the statistics I was facing each day.

Due to the Lord’s protection, I was able to return to Furman University less than six months after my diagnosis to start another year of college. I began a targeted therapy that worked in my body like chemotherapy, and with many of the same side effects making the year a daily struggle. But I was so grateful to be back at school, and to feel normal again, that it barely even mattered. And while my cancer never left, it remained stable for a long time, allowing me to finish out my junior year and begin my senior year.

But in December of my senior year, the doctors discovered that my cancer had spread further. I am in a stage of life right now where I am simply waiting to see if it will continue to spread throughout my body, and praying that it will go away forever, although the doctors have told me that that is very unlikely, if not impossible. I am now a two-year cancer survivor, and I can undoubtedly say that these past two years have changed me in monumental ways.

Cancer has been a turning point in my life that I never could have dreamed of, and I know that my life will never be the same. But despite the hard times and the multitudes of tears, the Lord has been protecting me every step of this journey. Whether I live, and one day become cancer free, or I die, I know without a doubt that God is good, and that does not change based on my circumstances. For now, I can rest in the assurance that the Lord is looking out for me, and therefore I can simply strive to live life joyfully for every day that I am given.

Perrin Thompson
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  • tony55398

    All that is good in this world is but the merest shadow of what awaits His Loved ones in that eternal Life that He has prepared for us all. May God cure your cancer, pray to that Love that lives in your soul, that gives life to those who choose it.

  • vvvv4

    “I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you. Which shall be the darkness of God…I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope. For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love. For love would be love of the wrong thing. There is yet faith. But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.” T.S. Elliot

  • JustAthoughtt

    Many will never be able to understand what you are going through, but it is a blessing to see that you stand firm In Jesus Christ, the solid rock!

    Many people tend to think that Christians only thank God for their victories in life, but as Christians we thank God for all circumstances we are put in!

    We may not want to be in them and we may ask why we have been placed in them, but in the end we submit to the Father and His perfect plan for our lives knowing that He alone is God.

    Thank you for sharing your story and I pray that you will continue to trust in the Lord for He will see you through!

  • TopTurtle

    I’m glad that Ms. Thompson’s beliefs have helped her through a terrible time and given her a great outlook. Even so, what definition of good is she using? Surely, it is a different definition than we use in everyday life as applied to anything other than god.

  • Kingofkings1

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope as you progress on your journey, that you realize not only that God is Good, but that He is also Great.

  • TopTurtle

    If getting cancer shows that god is good, what does it take to realize that god is great?

  • Indian51

    I’m touched by your life. May God continue to strengthen you and heal you. I’m sure you will be an inspiration to all who suffer from different illnesses.

  • mariannaandtheboys

    I am a 97 Furman grad. Thanks for sharing your journey. You faith is inspiring. It is awesome how He has given you a peace and hope. Your hope is in Him, and that is key! May God continue to use you for His glory and bring you healing.

  • PhilyJimi

    I find the sentence “The Lord had to constantly remind me that it is He who controls my life, not the doctors or the statistics I was facing each day. ” to be rather offensive to the good doctors and the field of science that are actually trying to save her life.

    There seems to be a case of “the Stockholm syndrome” happening here. It is the doctors and medicine that are the ones who are actually trying to save her life. If you’re a theist and if you’re able to think for yourself and ask questions, then who is the designer of this monster called cancer?

    It never ceases to amaze me how powerful religious indoctrination can be, to twist the logical minds of good and loving people. If a bad or untested drug was the source of her cancer, then there would be complete outrage against the drug company. When god causes or allows cancer, a theist will thank him and call it a blessing while short changing the science that is trying to save their life.

    Perrin, I truly hope you get better and I hope you understand it was modern medicine that cured you. If you want to cling to your theist beliefs that is your right but I find them to be unjustified.

    I also find it mind blowing how many theists deny biological evolution when a corner stone of modern biology is, evolution and natural selection. The very foundation of the education that allows medical treatments which try to cure diseases like cancer requires evolution to be taught in schools. Yet is opposed by the religious, but the ignorant judgmental finger gets pointed at me for being a non-theist.

  • JohnBGriffith

    Perrin, your thesis raises an important question that was unaddressed by this essay: do you think your god is the causal agent of your cancer?

    If your god is the causal agent then the question arises if I lend you a stick of gum I know will cause your kidney cancer, am I a monster or a paragon of virtue, or somewhere inbetween?

    If your god is not the causal agent, then why would you argue god is good despite your cancer.

  • mkjhb3456

    I praise God for Perrin – for her faith and her boldness to share it in this way. I truly believe that God has used this disease to not only speak into Perrin’s life but also to give her a “megaphone” for sharing this faith with those of us who remain unconvinced of His goodness.

    In her 22 years, Perrin has suffered more than most. She undoubtedly has a right to question God’s goodness…to doubt the steadfast love spoken of by Jeremiah in Lamentations 3. (“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”) Jeremiah, too, suffered beyond belief. In the first part of this chapter he says, “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.” How, then, can Jeremiah speak of the steadfast love of God? How can Perrin say so confidently that God is good? These are questions to which scholars and theologians have devoted their whole lives. Trust me, I am no theologian. My simple mind has only a limited understanding of God and His character, but it’s based on that which He tells us in His Scriptures.

    He tells us that when sin entered the world (the Fall), brokenness, disease, and destruction followed suit. Enter cancer. We are depraved human beings living in a broken world, and none is worthy of God’s love or saving grace (not Perrin, not me, not anyone). God is a good God, indeed, but He is also a just God. This is why He sent His Son, who came in the flesh and lived a perfect life, to die a brutal death on a cross, thus atoning for the sins of God’s people. Jesus paid the debt we owe… God’s wrath fell on His Son rather than on us, and because of this, we can enter the Kingdom of God. Because Christ not only died but conquered death and rose from the grave, we await the day of Christ’s return when there will be no more cancer, no more pain, no m

  • James210

    Sounds like On Faith-keymo program
    sadly the poisoning of the body does have long term affects/effects.
    Consider the following, caring about community, god, people, environment and overall ethics in an ethicless world (fruitless). The experimentations of a degreed society/ onsaid (extinct christian beliefs) in effect trying to save such ethiclessness often leads to long term rearages.

    case in point?
    If I may share a few moments of the growing cancerous situation that is heresy to the body?

    allow me a moment to compose the” remains” of the day and the setting sun?
    The trail run was refreshing as are most, the air clean and beauty of late afternoon left my mind clear. As I rounded the corner, before me sat a small coyote. strange as it was, it waited till i was almost on it before moving, must of thought me an alien. I continued on and low an behold, 200 yards later there it was again. Well now, are we friends or enemies? it did not seem interested in conversing. The run continued through the forest and back towards the deeper forest.
    I decided on a trail not often used for thought and mind clearing solace. Of course, the thought of trash detail soon appeared and again just a little to be found. Down deeper into the forest i went to a what was a bog and now a pond. Often here i could find the glidings of Bald Eagles and hope for such.
    No eagles but to my surprize a beaver hut. Wow, been awhile since i’ve seen one of those. Then a splash in front of me and the beaver swam to the other side of the pond. I dropped down as a hunter i often did, in a low concealing profile.
    The beaver frollicked between two large tortoises who were in late afternoon sun. Interesting I thought. The frollick turned to quiet as a cool breeze passed through, and the water still not rippled cept for the diving of wrens and the occasional water skeets, playing. On the other side i could hear a flock of geese honking in argument. The sun was setting and the peace slightly disturbed by the beaver spla