The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer. My God is my rock— I take refuge in him!— he’s my shield, my salvation’s strength, my place of safety. Psalms 18:2
I’m Josh and I’m a 17 year old student doing my A2s.
If you go anywhere with Dad you’re guaranteed he’ll bump into someone he knows and you’ll be forced to wait while he engages with this person. Leaving church can take hours as everyone goes to him for conversation. The phone in our house is constantly ringing with people needing to talk to him. Everyone knows him and I think it’s safe to say he has touched everyone’s hearts at some point, yet I have the blessing of calling him Father and Daddy since I could speak.
Throughout my whole life I have looked up to him, his never ending stream of advice, his humility and unfailing love even when I was totally undeserving of it. He has truly been a model of our Heavenly Father and through it my relationship with both of them is constantly strengthening. So when I was told he had a tumour the size of a tennis ball from an Advanced Melanoma and he WILL die, the feeling was ineffable. We knew he had a shadow on his lung and from that news I treated it as cancer; when I was asked ‘Can Josh Clark come to reception please’ I went over in my head ‘cancercancercancercancer’ and thought I was prepared… No amount of prepping prepares you. I got the news I thought ‘okay, this changes nothing’ but the sheer normality of walking back to my class room hit like a brick wall; two friends smiled and said ‘hello’ to me and I could barely crack a smile and then sitting in the class I turned to my good friend Ruby and squeaked out ‘My dad has cancer’.The floods came and they did not stop…
Now as a Christian, my first prerogative was prayer, and prayer for healing. But then I began to think about two things – God’s plan and Dad’s destiny. Yes, I love my Dad. No, I don’t want him to die, but surely what is more important as a follower of Christ is to allow God to work as he will, that’s not to say God caused the cancer as the Bible makes it clear God doesn’t cause us pain but if we can use it to glorify God’s name then let it be – we know we has a plan infinitely better than ours that we can’t understand. Can you imagine trying to explain quantum physics to a baby?
Secondly, John 14:2-3 talks about a place that’s prepared for us. It’s not just a space on the floor but the creator of the universe has set aside a place for each one of us and that should excite and rouse anyone enough to be almost jealous of Dad. Without sounding like a psychopath, I am somewhat happy for him.
One thing thats floored me is the immense support from my friends and family. The thing that touched me the most is when I put up a Facebook status about the treatment and within minutes someone who I barely knew asked about it so she could pray about it; this meant so much that a group of strangers were praying for a man they didn’t know and I really thank God for the compassion of these Christians. But beyond the Church, my school friends have given me amazing support. I really do feel loved and reinforced by them even in the small things like asking how we are or having a hug. It just shows me I’m never alone.
And so we carry on walking this journey with three things to bear in mind – we are not alone, we have amazing friends and an amazing God on our side. We haven’t lost him yet so let’s savour that and finally if God decides to bring home, he’ll be dwelling with Jesus Christ so let us continue to glorify God!