Featured blog – 5 Stones: Helping Christians in Crisis, John Harris

One of the purposes of this blog is to compile articles, information and resources from the Christian community.  As I search the internet for well known Christian leaders and speakers who have had cancer, I am surprised that there aren’t more stories about their perspective and insight with a traumatic disease.  I found only a few.

However, I am impressed with those who are just like you and me, regular folks who love the Lord and have or had cancer.  Their stories are to the right on the side bar.

There are two blogs about breast cancer; one woman, Elaine,  in remission and the other, a young woman, Kelly in ongoing treatment.  Elaine, peace for the journey, writes, “In August of 2010, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (stage IIB breast cancer).  . . My family and I continue to live out the ramifications of my cancer’s diagnosis, but we do so knowing that our Father has us covered with his incomparable love and mercy.”  Kelly, Praise You In This Storm, shares, “I mean really…I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old at the time of diagnosis and now they are 5 and 3.”  I can’t imagine  . . .

I linked a  blog  journalling Heather’s story with brain cancer, but not only that, she also shares with us the of the loss of her nine year old daughter, Emma, to congestive heart failure.  During the time of Emma’s many complications requiring numerous medical appointments and all that that entails, Heather was diagnosed with brain cancer.  I am amazed by Heather’s perspective through all of this and how she trusts God’s promises to this day.

This is just a sampling of my Christian cancer blogs.  I am continuing to search for blogs highlighting specific cancers.  Soon, I will link new blogs on the side bar.  And, in the future I will showcase other Christian cancer blogs.

Today I am reblogging an entry from “Five Stones For Christians In Crisis.”  John Harris writes, “In April of 2009, I was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer has no middle ground – it’s either life or death. It was simple: cling to my faith in God … and start praying!

I found new ways to pray. I developed 7 successful habits for Christians.

Did I mention that I prayed?

By God’s grace, I survived, came out of remission and then went back into remission! I believe I’m still alive to help others understand how God wants you to draw closer to him during tough times.

I wanted to share what I knew about my Christian faith to help others who might be facing similar or greater challenges. But it’s not all about cancer.

I began to speak at churches, small groups, halftime of basketball games, homeless shelters – all the while trying to help others fight their own “Goliaths,” using the five “stones” I found valuable:

  • The Bible
  • Prayer
  • Faith
  • Church
  • Love”

I hope you find encouragement as he battled lymphoma, a lymphoma diagnose different from mine.  John also wrote a book during his recovery.  On the side bar scroll down for a link to his book, Five Stones For Christians in Crisis.

A Christian’s Advice on Suffering,

by John Harris

One of the hardest things to deal with when you’re in a crisis is thinking that it will never end. But it will.

Like someone climbing a mountain, when you’re struggling and working, all you see is the sides of the rocks. You don’t see the top. You sometimes don’t even think there is an end in sight!

Yet there is an end, regardless of what you might be struggling with. While I was going through four months of chemotherapy in my fight against cancer, I honestly didn’t even think about the treatment being over. Of course I was also concerned that the treatment wouldn’t work at all.

Therefore, when the doctor told me the cancer was in remission, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it was over. That was my shortsightedness because all suffering has an ending.

Having the “long view” means you will stay on course, your fear will subside and you’ll find more purpose in your life. Jesus said there will be trouble in this world but then he gave us positive hope to overcome:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Why? It’s the question that everyone asks when you’re hit with hard times. Why do I have to go through this? Why is this happening to me?

An even bigger question that always follows is, “Why did God allow this to happen?” That question has tripped up people’s faith or gives them ground for not believing at all.

Ironically, when I was diagnosed with stage four cancer, I never got into the “why” questions. I guess I just knew that we live in a messed-up world and that bad things happen.

Can we ever know why tough times hit us?

It is true that sometimes we make bad decisions and have to face the consequences of those decisions. People get involved in breaking the law, and they have to go to jail or face some other negative consequence. Someone runs a red light and gets in a car accident.

Sometimes we make bad health choices and years later, we “reap what we sow.” So, for example, people who smoke cigarettes are putting themselves at risk for health problems later or people who follow their own desire or pleasure above all else are sowing problems for later.

But what about a situation where there is no direct causation from point A to the disaster of point B? None of the thousands of children fighting cancer today did anything to cause their disease.

I don’t think on this side of heaven we can know why we have to go through a crisis. We don’t have the perspective that God has. We can’t see the big picture.

The error some people make is to assume that if something bad happens, it has to be that person’s fault. That’s not always the case.

When Jesus and the disciples meet a man who had been blind from birth, they thought the man or his parents must have sinned to cause him to be blind. But Jesus quickly dismissed that notion.

Jesus said there was a higher purpose in this man’s problem. We just can’t always see it like God sees it – and it can be very frustrating sometimes.

Making a Choice in Faith
My advice is to steer clear of the “why” questions. You have to step out in faith that God is on your side and that we live in a fallen world where bad things happen. God has a plan to make it right and that starts with Jesus and will soon end with Jesus.

If you have faith in God, then all things work for the good of those who love him. This can be an especially hard verse to swallow when you are in the middle of a crisis. But you have to stand firm on it and understand that nothing can separate us from God’s love.

A Better Response than Why
Instead of focusing on the “why” questions, focus instead on how you will respond. How you respond is something you have direct control over so go from “why” to “how” as in “how will I respond?”


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One comment on “Featured blog – 5 Stones: Helping Christians in Crisis, John Harris

  1. peaceforthejourney says:

    As I journeyed through my own cancer season, I didn’t really ask “why?”. I reasoned that all of us have “something”… some sorrow, some cross, some “cancer” eating away at us inside. As I’ve cycled out of treatment, I suppose a few “whys?” have crept into my dialogue with God. This is a long wrestling, strange waters I’m walking in. But my faith has held, stronger than before, and I know that one day all of my questions will fade in the light of God’s holiness.

    Great to read some of your story. Thanks for sharing.

    peace~elaine

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