"Cancer happens for reasons that we do not understand, but not because everything happens for a reason dictated by God. Rather, Blessed Endurance argues, God is with us in these kinds of ordeals. But I do not believe God causes them." This is from an Upper Room interview with Rev. John Wimmer, a United Methodist pastor in Indiana and active St. Luker. John began working on this book several years ago. He and his wife, Jan Blaising, know about facing adversity and relying on God for strength, but had no way of knowing how the faith and trust commended in this book would be so important to them.
Just before sending the manuscript to the publisher last summer, John found out he had an extremely rare small cell cancer that was spreading rapidly in his body. He and Jan were immediately thrust into researching and finding the best places in the country with any experience in treating this kind of cancer. They celebrate that just this week he was accepted into a clinical trial at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston that will have them traveling back and forth for treatments for the next several months. John has already been through so much in this process that has weakened his body, but he and Jan persevere with a faith and hope that represents everything described in the book.
In this excellent interview, John responds to questions about his reason for writing the book and the dissatisfaction with Christian responses to pain that felt like avoidance. He also responds to questions about his own pain and what do you do if God doesn't seem to answer your prayer. For the full interview go here.
You can purchase a copy of Blessed Endurance in our Connections Bookstore. Once John gets through this clinical trial, he hopes to have a Sunday when he can do a book signing at church. He's counting on that!
We are Easter people who still, at times, live in a Good Friday world. Our resurrection faith doesn't remove times of pain and sorrow, but it changes how we face them. I encourage you to pick up a copy. Some time or another, it will be a most important resource.