Goodness and Mercy

Today on what we call “Good Friday” I can’t help but reflect on what the word “good” means. Many Christians like to habitually quote “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.” But, is He good because of something good, or positive, that happens to me, or regardless of what happens to me or anyone, good or bad, is He just good? Is He good to me because I’m a prostate cancer survivor? What about those whose lives were extinguished because of prostate cancer or any other type – was He not good to them? The more I reflect on this I can’t help but think that we tend to focus more on the word “good” and not its true meaning. God is good because He is perfect, just, righteous — in and of Himself. It is His nature and He can’t be anything other than good. If God never did anything “good” for any human ever existed, He would still be good. That’s often hard for us to realize since we have our own definition of the word based on how we feel and compared to personal affairs and the affairs of this world. “I’m a good person” or “I’m good because I’ve never stolen anything or hurt anyone.” But, when you compare yourself to a holy God and Who He is, you’re left only with the truth:

as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

That brings me to another very important word that sums up my life in the hands of a holy God. That is “mercy.”

mercy /n/  Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

This word puts my life, my very existence in a better perspective — I absolutely deserve nothing from God, especially His goodness. I don’t deserve to be here, cancer or not. I don’t deserve my life, my wife, my kids, my home, my job, salary and benefits, car (running), protection (even to get from one point to another safely), and all the benefits and privileges in addition to all my necessities. I’m not worthy of anything, especially His great Salvation, which is at the peak!

Whenever I reflect on my diagnosis back in October 2006 and the journey from there, I run out of words while trembling in my heart. I can’t help but get those “what if” thoughts that run through my head. “WHAT IF I never got screened when I did?” “WHAT IF my PSA had been 10, 20, 30, 70 or above?” “WHAT IF my cancer had spread beyond the prostate and travelled to my lymph nodes and hit more vital organs in my body?” “WHAT IF I wasn’t here to love and enjoy my beautiful, loving, unselfish wife & love, nurture, teach, and have fun with my awesome kids that He gave me?” Now, of course, going to be with the Lord is far better as a believer, but there is so much mercy in remaining with my family and having the opportunity to grow, with and through them. Not only that, but also the privilege to remain and tell my story to many men in order to challenge and encourage them to get screened in order to help save lives.

I went through this for a reason, and because of mercy, I know full well my experience could’ve, should’ve been far worse because I deserve the worst. It would be crazy of me to have the grace of understanding His Truth and have gone through diagnosis and treatment, be a survivor, and not say or do anything for men just like myself. So my purpose is to share my experience and knowledge of prostate cancer while also sharing the Truth of the goodness and mercy of God.

Now I know after reading thus far you’re thinking, “Why is he talking about all this religious stuff on a site about prostate cancer?” Regardless of what you make of it, this is not about religion or a “my faith” type of thing as it ultimate has very little, rather nothing to do with me. I’ve been broken to serve. Or as David put it:

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
(Psalm 119:71 ESV)

I’ve learned first from reading and then by living that God wants us to know Him, intimately. That is the highest privilege not to be denied. It’s not about church membership, attendance, or how may of the ten commandments one may follow or break — it’s about life. It’s about living Sunday thru Saturday whether at home, work, store, or wherever. God is not just God on Sunday. He doesn’t reside in buildings of brick & mortar or wood with stained glass windows and topped off with a steeple. He is omnipresent. More specifically, His presence resides in those who believe Him and confess Him as Lord:

…you are God’s field, God’s building.
(1 Corinthians 3:9 ESV)

At any point in our lives when we are continually and even increasingly living (thinking, speaking, doing) in rebellion against the sovereign authority of God, He has the absolute right to and will break or afflict us in order to make us do nothing but seek Him. Contrary to popular opinion, there is much love in His affliction in that He loves us enough to “correct” (like a parent) when loving words of correction aren’t enough. And if that’s not all, He corrects/afflicts us in order to use us to serve Him and others through Him. That’s the purpose of this site. That’s why I’ve talked to so many brothers about becoming more aware of prostate cancer and to get screened. I’m here for a reason. I’m thankful to be here for His reason. I’m very, very, very sorry every time I take Him for granted, which is every single day. He is good – perfect, holy, righteous, just, etc. Not just to me, but good period. He is extremely, immeasurably merciful to allow me to live, breathe, and move. I don’t have enough words to thank Him. What’s also really amazing is the fact that both His goodness and mercy are inseparable. It’s a package deal. Once again, like David says:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life…
(Psalm 23:6 ESV)

Yes, even through affliction, His goodness and mercy track me down and follow close behind to pick me up and bring me to a “right perspective” of what’s really going on.

Thank You, LORD, for 6+ years of being a prostate cancer survivor by your sovereign grace, goodness, and mercy. As a matter of fact, thank You for each and every day! You are extremely good and merciful. 

So, brothers, how many of you after reading this post are prostate cancer survivors? You are one for the same reason I am! Join me in giving Him glory and spreading the word to make more men aware, encourage them to get screened, and thereby save more lives!

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Another Health Fair this Saturday, March 23

2013SpringFest

Hey, guys! Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship is hosting another Spring Fest and Health Fair this Saturday, March 23. As usual, I’ll be at my table handing out flyers and answering questions about prostate health and cancer awareness. Please stop by and don’t let another day, week, month, or year go by without getting screened. Do it for yourself and your loved ones who really care about you. As I keep saying: WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU! Men, let’s not continue to go about our lives ignorant of our health, especially that which relates to the prostate. Prostate cancer is a common cause of death for adult men, most aggressively for black men. Come see me and let’s talk about it. See ya!