God’s grace evident in prominent cancer victim’s final journey

August 19
August 19, 2008
Edna Breaux Uzee
August 21, 2008
August 19
August 19, 2008
Edna Breaux Uzee
August 21, 2008

Tony Snow joined the Bush Administration as press secretary in April 2006, but resigned from the White House in May 2007 after finding out his stomach cancer, already beaten once, had returned.

Snow, who died earlier this year, left behind this beautiful testimony.

“Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God’s will.

“Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence ‘What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

“The first is that we shouldn’t spend too much time trying to answer the ‘why’ questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can’t someone else get sick?

“We can’t answer such things, and the questions themselves are often designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

“I don’t know why I have cancer, and I don’t much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape.

“Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out. However, God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don’t know how the narrative of our lives will end. However, we choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

“Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You fear partings and worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

“To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life, and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth.

“We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non-believing hearts – an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away.

“Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly – no matter how their days may be numbered.

“Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprises. We want lives of simple, predictable ease – smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see.

“But God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension. By God’s love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

“Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet. A loved one holds your hand at the side.

“‘It’s cancer,’ the healer announces.

“The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. ‘Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler.’ Still, another voice whispers: ‘You have been called.’

“Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter. Ordinary, everyday things now seem so insignificant.

“It’s a blessing to be able to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.”