Watching a religious loved one endure cancer (or other life threatening disease)
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21-01-2013, 09:37 AM
Watching a religious loved one endure cancer (or other life threatening disease)
Last year I watched my church of god brother go to hell and back fighting cancer, and the whole time he kept wondering how the cancer ordeal fit into god's plan for him and what god had in mind. He doubted at times but manage to keep the religious thing going. He's in remission now and credits god, not as much the doctors and family members, and seems to think that his battle with cancer was some kind of fight with the devil and that god prevailed. Over the years he's tried to convert our mother and me, but we've told him we love him and respect his right to believe, but that we do not share those beliefs. This church is especially fun as they speak in tongues and holler a lot, so not me.

Clearly god didn't heal my brother, but since surgery, chemo, radiation and help from many people did, his prayers at some point shifted to wanting god to show him the big why he got cancer. I told him there's no reason, just biological stuff, a tumor grew and wanted to take over. There's no gene that we know of since he's the only one that had this in either family tree (get your colonoscopies folks, he needed one way before the recommended age of 50).

I sat with him after his surgery, and church members were helpful to him and his wife. I didn't try to dissuade him from his faith as that seemed cruel. He did press me on what I thought and on my beliefs, so I told him I don't believe in god but am here to hold his hand and help him get through it (this was right after horrendous surgery which followed horrendous chemo/rad, then resulted in a permanent colostomy and more clean up chemo which nearly killed him). So I told him I don't have any answers because thousands of people get cancer, even children, and most disease is generally no respecter of persons. But he was consumed with the idea that his trial meant something. I told him it's normal for people to wonder why even if there is no reason and that maybe he could start a cancer survivor group to help others through.

He is fine now, but still wonders what it all means. He is not content with the fact that it was a biological process gone awry. He mainly hopes he will be called to preach. I love him and he's my only sibling in this world.

Have y'all faced similar situations with family or friends? How did you handle it?
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Watching a religious loved one endure cancer (or other life threatening disease) - cjs - 21-01-2013 09:37 AM
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