Yippee! I Have Leukemia!

As I write this on June 25, I only have a preliminary diagnosis from my family doctor of Leukemia. It’s Saturday, and I have an appointment with the cancer center in Corinth, MS on Monday to confirm the diagnosis and find out more.

I’m scheduling this post for June 28 so that my appointment would be passed and I’d know I really have Leukemia (June 27 note: I do). If they say I don’t, then I won’t let this run, and I have to admit, I’ll be really disappointed.

Here’s why.

Keep in mind in what follows that my family has much more to lose than I do. It’s easy for me to have a positive outlook. I am only in danger of a bit of suffering and possibly dying. My family’s in danger of losing a husband and father, and there’s really nothing to compare to that kind of sorrow except losing a child. They’re handling it as well as me, which is very impressive.

First, when you’re a Christian and the purpose of your body is to glorify God, then there is really no difference between a clean bill of health and a diagnosis of leukemia. God is simply giving you the tools you need to do what you’re supposed to do with your body.

How could having leukemia be a good tool? In a myriad of ways.

The Pros and Cons of Contracting Leukemia as a Christian

I was weighing the pros and cons of having leukemia, and there some pretty significant pros:

  • The Scriptures say that Wisdom is the principle thing. Therefore, it says that "in all your getting, get understanding" (Prov. 4:7). Along those lines, the Psalmist prays, "Teach us to number our days, so that we may obtain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). Leukemia is a quick way to number my days!
  • There’s people to see and talk to that I would never be able to talk to otherwise.
  • It should be easier to display faith in Christ to these people because they’re going to be expecting me to think something bad is happening to me.
  • In general, any statements that I make that God can be trusted in every situation will carry more authority than they would if everything was going well for me.
  • Living and dying are in the hands of our Father in heaven. Saints don’t die because they have leukemia. Saints die because it’s the will of God for them (Is. 57:1-2; Ps. 116:15).
  • I have a friend with cancer, and now I get to go through this with her … consoling others with the consolation I’ve received and all that.

The cons?

  • Distress on my family
  • I can barely exercise at all (I think God told me he didn’t like my obsession with exercise anyway)
  • There’s a real danger of focus on self: self-pity, loving the attention, or taking over conversations by bringing up leukemia

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons by a lot except perhaps the distress on my family. But they’re trusting God really well, which is awesome.

So I’m excited to enter this new phase in my life.

Divine Healing

I believe in divine healing. I’ve seen it happen.

Unless God really speaks to you that I’m wrong, please don’t pray for me to be healed and possibly ruin this new ministry God has called me to.

You can pray for me to be healed in his time. I don’t think I’m supposed to die.

What God’s Been Saying to Me

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that I don’t write that God told me this or God told me that. I’ve heard God speak clearly in terms I felt comfortable repeating to others, but not often.

Except this week. From the day last week when I finally became convinced that there’s something badly wrong with my health and yesterday when the doctor told me a stress test was unnecessary because he could see the enlarged, abnormal lymphocytes in my blood smear (along with anemia and low platelets)—between then and now, I believe God has spoken several things to me pretty clearly:

  • I’m not going to die (real soon, anyway)
  • This is supposed to be happening to me
  • My attitude toward exercise has always been too positive
  • I’m supposed to eat healthy and heartily because my nutrition is more important than weight loss. (This was obviously correct now that I know the problem’s leukemia, but the direction from God came before I knew.)
  • If I want to lose weight, I’m allowed to exercise better self-control in the evening, but otherwise no dieting for weight loss.

I guess I’ve put myself and my Christianity on the spot here, huh? If I’m dead in a few months, whether from leukemia or from a car wreck, I’ll just be one more false prophet. I didn’t know what else to do but be honest and let you judge the success I’m experiencing following Christ.

By the way, I gave my brothers and sisters in the church an opportunity to tell me they didn’t bear witness to the things I think I heard from God. If they told me they disagreed, I wouldn’t have posted this.

So I guess it’s we and our Christianity that are on the spot.

The Grace of God and His Gifts

My family’s doing really well with all this. My attitude’s not just good, I’m thrilled! That’s purely the grace of God, and I want to give thanks.

By the way, don’t be jealous that it’s not you who gets to have leukemia and the ministry that goes with it. We each have our own gift, and yours matters as much as mine. I’m just expressing my zeal and gratefulness for the gift God has given me.

And perhaps correcting the mistaken impression that it’s not a gift.

By the way, I found out a friend of mine has a blog, and the first post I saw from him—just tonight!—is a writing by someone else who found their cancer to be a gift and a calling.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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13 Responses to Yippee! I Have Leukemia!

  1. Awesome stuff! I have spent a lifetime being ill from mental disease that was not diagnosed until late in life. It has been nothing short of a nightmare. I caused more damage to others than I would wish upon my worse enemies, but the good news, madness can also be a kind gift from God. Paul talks about glorying in his weakness, and that weakness, and I will add the words (in any form) can be and really should be treated as a ‘gift from God.” Why? Simply… when we are weak then we are truly strong. This flesh will never inherit the Kingdom of God, is it not suppose to. It is enmity against God, and that is why He hung the the thing on the cross. When Jesus died, WE DIED. The good news is that we now will never see death! Although we will leave these bodies, flesh for us as Christians, is already dead. It is no wonder you are excited! For you, the eternal reality is all the closer! My prayer is that God will use this time in your life not just for others, but to bring you further revelation of His life within you, that life that was born of the incorruptible seed of God and just as in the beginning seed bears fruit after its own kind, you would discover all the more the New Creation within you, who is exactly like God Himself and shine, shine, shine as your day light approaches.

    Grace and peace to you dear one of Christ.

    • Shammah says:

      Wow. Are you a mind reader? I just wrote a blog last night, which I stuck in the queue and won’t go up until July 9, that says some things very similar, at least in concept, to “For me, the eternal reality is all the closer” and “discover all the more the New Creation within you … and shine, shine, shine as your daylight approaches.” It’s almost haunting to read your comment after what I wrote last night.

      By the way, I remember you from Noah’s (David’s) stories. I’m glad to hear things are better with you! Are you still a musician?

  2. wilberforce wabulo says:

    honestly speaking i was distressed when i read about you shammar! I remembered when you drove me all the way from selmer to Talahassee and on way you tried to exercise! You felf sleepy and yet you went on for this african man . you really gave yourself for me Ofcourse for afriend like you , as ahuman being just as jesus was i wept abit.
    On the other side however, in my lifetime, i have not found aman with such faith as you have!!
    God will use your faith plus ours to bring the best for you and the best for body of Christ to His Glory. As for me I will pray for Devine Healing!

    • Shammah says:

      Wilberforce, you are a joy. I’ve done a lot of enjoyable things, but driving you to Tallahassee is among the best. I do a lot of things, but my life can be very out of control and disorganized. Talking with you helped me settle, go slower, and have better direction.

      Now God is really helping! I can’t do all those disorganized, distracting things. I have to just focus on ministering the Lord to people. I’m telling you, this is a wonderful gift, good in every way, one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

  3. Bob Duggan says:

    Wow! Amen to that.

    He is the God who is with us.
    He is the God who is for us.

    And we WILL pray for healing (however God wishes).
    Bob and Ann Marie Duggan

  4. Jerry Hogan says:

    Paul, you are an amazing man. As you wish, I will lift up countless prayers to thank God for the path he has chosen for you, and also to thank him for the gift that he has given the world, in you.

    You are truly a resplendent embodiment of one of my favorite verses of scripture:

    “Let your light so shine that men might see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 – KJV)

    Shine on, my friend, shine on……

    • Shammah says:

      Let’s be clear that I’m not the greatest servant of Jesus Christ that ever came along. I’m shamed by the love and care of some of the brothers and sisters I’ve met. But I was indeed thrilled to find out that when the going gets rough I actually believe the things I’ve taught. Grace is so incredible. My good attitude has taken no effort on my part, and my whole family is trusting with me. That’s beautiful, miraculous stuff all on it’s own. Everyone needs to start living in the moment, given their lives to God, doubting their own knowledge, and trusting the blessed leadership of the Lord Jesus by his Spirit. When you do that, you’ll find him there when you need him.

    • Shammah says:

      Thanks, Jerry! It is good to hear from you!

  5. Robin says:

    Articulate and insightful as always.

  6. I can say with confidence that God will back your words up Shammah. No matter what happens. He will cover you because you are doing His will. It would be different of you weren’t. We really don’t know when He will call us, who knows. Anyone, even me, a “healthy” 25 year old could go before you! Thanks for giving your life to the creator and that He is the one all of this whole time on earth is about!

  7. britt says:

    Just wanted to reply here on the blog, been thinking about you and encouraged at your attitude and perspective on this. I agree the Lord will use this to help you give testimony to him in many things. But I’m also praying for healing, however it may happen ;).

    Love you and appreciate you greatly.

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