The Greatest Cure of All
The answer is that I find my strength in God. In 1980 I came to know my Jewish Messiah and Savior, Y’shua HaMashiach, Jesus Christ. Through Him I came to understand (as best as a finite man is able) our infinite God and His plans for mankind. I began to understand the tragedies of life that I saw every day, to grasp the eternal struggle that was taking place all around me, and to comprehend that those struggles were not random, not just by chance. I realized that ultimately God is in control and will be victorious in the end. But for now, because God is just, He must allow an ancient scenario to unfold with the passage of time.
While God is the Author of order and control, cancer is the antithesis–that which is totally out of control. The American Heritage Dictionary defines cancer as a “malignant tumor (growth) that tends to invade healthy tissue and spread to new sites, a pernicious, spreading evil.” Cancer causes pain, suffering, loss of function, and ultimately death. It does so by destroying what is good and healthy and replacing it with what is bad and nonfunctional. It invades organs that work and substitutes cells that do not work. Cancer is very strong and resilient. Once it is present, it is almost impossible to eradicate. It intertwines itself around and within that which is good. It hides in areas that are inaccessible and unreachable.
We physicians try so hard to eradicate cancer. We remove it surgically. We try to kill it with radiation. We try to poison it to death with chemotherapy drugs. Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes not. Sometimes the therapy seems worse that the disease. Each patient’s struggle for survival can be so great!
Cancer is a terrible illness, but I have learned that there is a far greater disease than cancer. In many ways it acts like cancer, and has many of its characteristics, but ultimately is far worse. The disease I am talking about is not a physical disease, but a disease of the soul. As a matter of fact, cancer is just one physical manifestation of this ultimate disorder. The mother of all cancers is SIN, the spiritual condition that separates us from God Almighty. Sin separates us now, here on earth, and if not remedied, will also keep us apart from Him for all eternity.
Sin is like cancer in that it is strong. Like cancer, if not stopped it will take over our entire being. It will intertwine itself into every aspect of our lives and choke off and destroy that which is good and godly. Sin exists only for itself and has no productive function. Sin is selfish. Like cancer, it will kill its host to feed itself. It is ugly, grotesque and monstrous. Like advanced cancer, sin is impossible to eradicate without radical treatment or therapy. Yet unlike cancer, there is a guaranteed cure for sin.
No insurance policy covers this cure; the cure is absolutely free. The treatment is simple. You don’t have to work for it, work out for it, swallow it, or inject it, and you cannot buy it. This cure is not natural, but supernatural. It is a free gift of God called atonement. Without this cure, everyone alive would die because of the sin virus that has infected all of humanity. But Y’shua (Jesus) provided Himself as the remedy. He died on the cross and took our spiritual illness upon Himself. The atonement cure is that Y’shua (Jesus) took your place and mine as the penalty for our sin–our disobedience and willful independence that separate us from God.
The atonement cure, the only therapy for your illness is yours for the asking, but it requires a conscious act. You must admit that your soul is diseased, (that you are a sinner) and that if uncured this disease will lead to eternal spiritual death. You must desire to avoid all further illness (repent and resolve to stay away from further willful sin). Finally, you must believe and trust that the Lord, Savior and Messiah, Y’shua HaMashiach, Jesus Christ, by His death took your spiritual illness on Himself and took your place as the penalty for your disobedience and willful independence from God.
Having done that, you will begin to see life and death in a new light. You will begin to understand how I, a medical oncologist, can continue to deal with cancer and all its effects.
As a physician who has studied the human body, I am impressed with how well designed and constructed, and how well it is designed to repair itself. As a firm believer in God and the Bible, I know that man didn’t just happen, or struggle up some evolutionary ladder. I have been led to ponder with the psalmist, “What is man that Thou are mindful of him.” I’ve not only been impressed with the way the Almighty has designed and sustained human life; I have come to regard human illness as an enemy, and myself as a soldier in combating that enemy.
In doing battle against cancer, I have discovered something else that needs to be considered: God is good! When I see the potential virulence and destruction of cancer and realize how often we physicians win in our battle against it, I know that God has given those victories in the face of what might seem certain and ultimate defeat. Not only does cancer not always win, but with an increasing number of victories, I know how very much God cares for people. And sometimes, even though cancer has dealt a death blow, I have seen victory that transcends the meaning of physical death as that patient was released from his disease-wracked body, confident that his healed soul, cured by Y’shua’s atonement, would be with God forever.
As a believer in my Messiah, Jesus, Y’shua HaMashiach, I place my ultimate hope in Him, acknowledging that He is, and always will be in control. I know that nothing in this world can separate me form my Lord and God for all eternity. I know that for believers in Y’shua, death is a sad but temporary separation from other believers we leave behind. I know that death is the beginning of forever in Heaven, when there will be no sadness, illness or suffering.
In my own strength I could not practice oncology day by day, but in God’s strength I can. The Apostle Paul said for himself, and for me: “I can do all things through Messiah Jesus who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Jesus has given me the hope and the answers to all things. He has also given me a ministry, as a medical oncologist, to share His good news with as many as I can. May the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit, empower me to continue His great commission to share with my patients and all who will hear me the “Greatest Cure” of all.
Jack Sternberg, M.D., Medical Oncologist