Last updated on September 29, 2021
My brother is going through cancer right now, and the doctors say he is not getting better. I have accepted Jesus into my heart, and I want to trust Him that He will heal my brother, but my mom, who is also a Christian, wants me to face the reality that the Lord may take him home soon. I want to find an equal balance of fully trusting that the Lord will heal him (and I really have a feeling deep down that He will), but my mom also tells me I need to face the reality that he may die. How do I find the balance between reality and trusting him fully? It is hard to trust The Lord when I see my mom crying and upset. I am weary of this trial and long for a normal life again. This is only part of a long story. It began with a life-threatening tennis ball size tumor. Chemo did not help, the tumor grew to football size. They removed it and now there are new tumors. That’s where we have come from and are at in a nutshell.
Thank you for your time. I know this is not the kind of question you usually get, but I would like some encouragement. I still love the Lord and don’t believe I am bitter. I am just wishing for results.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God answers prayers, but sometimes the best answer is not what you and I might expect. We tend to look at matters selfishly — from our own viewpoint. We don’t always see the consequences of what we desire.
I don’t know if God will heal your brother or not because I don’t know if that is the best thing for him, for you, or for your mother. For example, what if surviving means that he will be bedridden and in pain for the rest of his life? What if surviving means he grows up to turn against God — in that case going home to God might be the better thing for him. You too are going to change from this experience. Perhaps learning to deal with the grief of losing your brother will make you a stronger man and allow you to help other people in the future deal with their grief. The lessons you learn now might just make you into a better servant later in life. The same is true for your mother.
Do you recall when Peter denied the Lord, not just once but three times, at the moment of his greatest need? “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). Peter was always the impulsive one of the disciples and as a result a bit unstable. But Jesus saw there was greatness in Peter. When Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren‘” (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus knew that Peter would come out of this stronger than ever.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:11-13).
God sometimes turns down requests because it isn’t the best thing for the person in the greater scheme of things. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Corinthians 12:7-9). If so, it isn’t because of a lack of faith on your part but a show of God’s love that He wants the best for everyone involved, even if that means you don’t get what you ask for.
I have a friend who lost his sixteen-year-old daughter to cancer. It might sound odd, but he both grieves because he misses her and he rejoices because his prayers were answered. I would like you to listen to what he said about a year after his daughter Kelsey died: Exceeding Abundantly by Simon Harris. Then have your mother hear this as well.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
You will be in my thoughts and prayers. May our God give your brother the best answer possible and may you and your mother see the glory of His answer to your prayers.