Jeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they taJeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be with his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they take this painful and unexpected journey.

Cancer and that

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!

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Comments on: "Cancer and that" (9)

  1. Thank you for your words Josh.

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  2. Yvonne Howarth said:

    Josh it has been a long time since I saw you last, but it hasn’t stopped me being interested, in how the cute little boy in Pre school was doing. I’ve enjoyed seeing photos of you all growing up and now I stand amazed at your maturity. Your parents have done the most wonderful job in bringing you all up, the honesty and maturity in your blog is wonderful. Thank you Josh for giving us an insight into what it has been like this far on the journey, that none of us want to be on but walk the road because it’s our path. Your choice of song is perfect with words that really touched me. Go on Josh just as you are keep close to God and those that love you. Your parents must be so proud of you.
    Much love and continued prayer, Yvonne. Wirral.

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  3. Josh….Thank you for your beautiful words, clearly anointed by the Holy Spirit and your love for Jesus. I’m sure, as with Ben, Simeon,Tom and Lydia your mum and dad are so proud of you. What you say about your dad’s love for and ministry to others is absolutely true and continues for ever, even during this difficult time. He is one of those very rare pastors (in my experience) who is brave enough to share his own life story with those he meets. Even when he risks his own vulnerability. Jesus continues to speak to all of us through you all, as we share in your journey with so many emotions. What a privilege to know and love you .😍

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  4. Josh. Thank you for that. I only wish my own children had been as strong as you are right now. You are truly an inspiration.

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  5. Lesley Hodgson said:

    What an amazing response, Josh. I’m really humbled by the way that all of you have handled your Dad’s news and your responses to it. Please give your mum and dad my best wishes. I will be praying for you. Lesley Hodgson

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  6. Annette Cosgrave said:

    Josh…thank you for sharing your thoughts. You have amazing strength and I am humbled by your words. Your Mum & Dad must be so proud of you. I still remember the little boy with the cheeky smile knocking on the door for Jonathan!….where did that time go? We are all here for you and your family. God bless xx

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  7. Steven Kenyon said:

    Dear Josh,

    Thank you so much for your brave words which have reduced me to tears today. I am just one person who has been inspired by meeting your Dad. Also, I lost my dad to cancer when he was 49 (although I was already in my 20s by then so I was older going through it). Your maturity and faith are a real witness and I am sure they will bring your dad great comfort. despite the pain you are going through, God will look after you all. The love you are experiencing is a reflection of his infinite love for you all. God bless you all from a brother in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. God be with you, Josh. I’m praying for you. Love from cousin Matthew.

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  9. Wonderful words Josh you have inspired me. Your faith must be a big help to you. God be with you. We are praying for you all. Love from Mary and Peter

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