Ed Stetzer Interviews Lon Allison on Billy Graham Book and Cancer

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Ed: Not too long ago you were diagnosed with an aggressive liver cancer and have been receiving treatment. How has this impacted your faith and the way you view God?

Lon: I really didn’t know how my faith would be impacted by the news of a terminal cancer. My wife Marie, our children, and I had never faced something like this. I can now say five months into the journey that my faith is stronger than before my diagnosis about 90% of the time.

I have clung to two truths to sustain me. First is the sovereignty of God: “The Lord has established his throne in heaven. His Kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103:19). The second great truth is his love for me and my family: “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:17-19).

The sovereignty of God means he has authority over this situation. He has allowed this cancer to strike me. He can cure it in a nanosecond, or allow it to grow within me. He is in charge, and I deeply desire he be glorified through it.

The love of God reminds me of his goodness lavished upon me and mine with his love. He is not a tyrant God, nor an absent God. His love is always present and extravagant. Those twin doctrines sustain me. Marie and I feel we are in a bubble of grace. The news about my body is not good, but our hearts and spirits are for the most part buoyant.

The prayers of God’s people are a rich faith building support. I don’t always pray well about it, but they do. I also want to add that the promises of God mean more to me than ever. My journal is loaded with his promises that I might be a promise-driven man, not a problem-driven one.

Ed: What would you say to those who are struggling with a serious illness and who are feeling far from God right now?

Lon: I would say that I’m sorry for their afflictions and that I wish I could pray them all away. I would ask God to do just that! If he didn’t, I’d pray and ask the sovereign, loving Lord to manifest his presence to them that they may know his peace in the midst of pain. I’d ask them to let the scriptures of hope be spiritual food to sustain them in their sorrows.

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Source: Christianity Today