When I was told I had Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors three years ago, I took the diagnosis better than pretty much anyone else I knew. I didn’t wonder why or despair or curse my fate. I just accepted it and carried on as best I could. Some of that is no doubt due to my generally carefree nature and the fact that my own diagnosis didn’t contradict my understanding of the world and how God relates to it (which is why I wrote a book on the subject). But I also attribute a good part of this to the fact that I’m the one—rather than someone I love—who’s going through all this hellish treatment.
It would be far worse to sit and watch someone else I care about enduring round after round of chemo until I lost count, surgery followed by surgery followed by still more surgeries, debilitating radiation treatment that made eating all but impossible, and a pair of clinical trials. And then repeat it all for a second year. And a third. And counting. I’d rather go through these years of intense, difficult treatment myself than see someone I love endure it for a single day. I’m not the only one who thinks this way.
Several people have expressed to me that they wish it could be them, not me, going through it all. It is, I think, a natural reaction when we see people we care about suffering and struggling. We want to take their troubles from them, to carry their burdens and give them some respite from their trials. We’re made to experience empathy, after all, to feel others’ pain and do something about it. That’s why multiple people have expressed to me that they wish they could have this cancer instead of me, and that’s why when they do, I think, “well, that’s really sweet, but I’d never let you.” I could no more stand to see anyone else go through this than they can tolerate watching me endure it.
I think that just might be how God feels toward us. God found it so unbearable to see people muddling through their own mistakes that God came down to go through it all with us and for us, providing us with clearer guidance and giving us a way to be free from our wrongdoings and the suffering they can bring.
Perhaps God looked at humanity and could not help but become incarnate as a person, to go through the human experience of life and endure the consequences of sin, providing us with a better way forward—much like the people who have expressed that they wish they could take my cancer from me and go through the treatments themselves. Though it’s impossible for any of us to actually take someone else’s disease and go through their misery for them, it’s comforting to have a God who can do much the same thing, and in fact already did.
Photo via Unsplash.
About Morgan Bolt
Morgan Bolt was diagnosed with DSRCT cancer in 2014 at the age of 23. He maintains a blog on faith and cancer at cancerousauthor.blogspot.com and recently finished a book on Christianity, cancer, and culture for which he is seeking a publisher now. You can find Morgan on Twitter @MorganJBolt and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MorganJBolt.