I took yesterday's news of the passing of Steve Jobs really hard. No-it's not because of his technological achievements and it's not because I am worried about the future of my IPhone. It is because Steve and I are both members of an intimate club-the cancer club. He and I both know the feeling of having your world turned upside down at the news of a disease within your body. Here is an excerpt of a speech he gave where he talked about it: "About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades."
News that changes your life in an instant. News that makes what once seemed like almost a given something that you are fighting for-more time. Cancer is no respecter of persons. Steve Jobs was a man who changed our world. The technology that he invented forever changed the way we dream, think, listen, communicate. And yet even with all of the greatness that existed within him it still was not enough to save him from the cancer lurking inside of his body. What makes him different from us? His story different than ours? Some people reading this might say "well you guys believe in God's ability to heal". Yes that is our truth and I of course can't attest to what Mr. Jobs truth was. But I remember clearly early on in our journey I came across a blog of a young couple, about our age, named Will and Emily. Will was diagnosed with the same type of rare cancer that Joel had. He too was using our same doctor at MD Anderson. He too was a Christian with faith in God's ability to heal him. I will never forget the day that I went on their page for an update only to see that Will had lost his battle with cancer. I lost it completely. I do not pretend to understand why Will died and Joel lived. There is certainly no logic that I can see that explains it. They were full of faith too-never waivered-never gave up hope. Same belief-different outcome.
The thing that I hate the most about cancer is that it is reckless in its desire to claim lives and it claims the future of some amazing people. I thank God that our story was different and we offer Him the glory for it. It is truly by His grace that Joel lives. I am not saying His grace wasn't present with others. That's one of those things that I don't understand and may never understand while I am on this earth. But that is the very reason that I weep for the passing of Mr. Jobs. Because cancer is horrible. And I hate that it robs so many people of such incredible futures. I hate that it breaks hearts and I hate that it destroys lives. And I weep because that could have been us and I weep because it wasn't. And I thank God every single day.
My greatest hope is that one day a cure is found for cancer. Because in this instance it didn't just rob Mr. Jobs-it robbed us all.