A letter to a friend diagnosed with bone cancer and not given long to live:
I want to encourage you in the suffering you are going through. I remind you that in Christ, you have a joy and wealth that will never pass away and can never be taken from you. I point you to Hebrews 11:24-25, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Moses could have been called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and have infinite joy and riches in this world; instead, he threw in with mistreatment and hardship. The riches of living in Egypt just weren’t worth it; they were fleeting and shallow. This decision would mean trouble for Moses in this world but more his riches and joy in the long run. I understand you haven’t chosen the suffering path you’re on, no one asks for cancer, but the perspective is the same: what is your greater wealth and joy and reward? As Christians this world has nothing for us, it’s pleasures pass and do not last. No matter what happens in this world, you have Christ, the way and truth and life, the best thing that could happen to you. He is our greater joy and reward. We learn to “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still: His kingdom is forever.”
Whoever dies first, you or your wife, whenever that happens, you will not be dead. You will have joy and wealth and reward everlasting, with Jesus, face to face. Even though one of you will be alone, you can still rejoice for the other, and one day you both will be together, with Jesus. I don’t know if that makes things any better, but it’s the truth and the power of the gospel. I pray it will sink deep into your heart and mind and soul.
I encourage you not to waste this time you have. God may still heal and extend your life, or you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, who knows? Eventually we all die. In this season of life, if your life is coming more to a close, take a lot of time to spend with Jesus, through Bible and church and prayer, and take a lot of time to spend with loved ones. Maybe you could minister to others and pray for them and tell them of the hope you have in Christ. Those without Christ have no hope or joy or riches, like you do.
Blessings to you, my friend, and we’ll keep in touch.