One of the most frightening disease one can have is cancer, let alone one that is definitely incurable. Added on to this, many of us do not know how we should respond to such news. Should we pray for healing? Or should we pray for something else? How should I encourage the other person?
Having some first hand experience, J. Todd Billings has written a book to help christians struggle through this issue. He also wants to help christian think christianly about such issues. First, Billings brings us through his own history, how he came to received the dreaded news that he was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Next, he brings the readers through some of the questions that he thought about constantly and how he has learnt to continue to trust in God despite what has happened.
Next, Billings brings the readers through what lamenting looks like in his life, and how he can lament honestly to God. Yet at the same time, in the midst of lamenting, he not only learns but shows us how we can rejoice even in such a situation. He also gives very helpful advice on how and what we can pray for, for an individual with such an illness.
The next chapter talks about the treatment that Billings underwent. I found this chapter to be excellent and probably the best chapter within the book. In his treatment, Billings literally has to be treated with poison that incapacitates his immune systems and renders him powerless against any harmful pathogens. Reflecting on this, Billings reminds us how we as sinners desperately need strong treatment, treatment so strong that our Saviour had to died, to give us new life in Him.
Billings ends the book with a summary befitting of the book. He leads the readers to the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism, “What is my only comfort in life and death?” to which the answer will be “That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ”. Billings reminds the readers that despite what might or could happen, our greatest assurance lies not in whether we will be freed from a terminal illness. Rather, our greatest assurances lies in the fact that no matter what happens, we will always and forever belong to our great God and Saviour, both body and soul, assured by the blood of the Lamb.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is currently wrestling with similar issues in life. This is a thought-provoking and honest book that seeks to teach good theology that will ground believers through their struggles. Individuals who intend to counsel those with terminal illness also ought to read through this book, it will help them see the situation through the eyes of one who actually had to undergo through all these.
Rating: 4.75 / 5
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review