Most of us are familiar with Press Secretary Tony Snow. He has served as President Bush's Press Secretary for the last couple of years and has been a radio and television personality for long before that. Most of us are also probably aware that Tony Snow stepped down from being President Bush's press secretary last week as he continues to wage a battle against cancer.
Tony Snow has always come across to me as though he is a really nice guy who would I would probably enjoy being around on a personal level, but it also hard to tell how those perceptions match to reality. I have seen Mr. Snow on TV and listened to him on the radio, but I don't really know much about him. I do know that he claims to be a Christian and speaks of his faith openly. (Although, in this day and age where "Christianity" can mean almost anything and where public personalities often claim "Christianity" despite living lives that clearly contradict that claim, I don't tend to put a lot of weight behind the "Christianity" claims of public personalities.)
Anyway, I said all of that to say that Mr. Snow has written an article for Christianity Today entitled Cancer's Unexpected Blessings that is thought-provoking. I am not a fan of CT - in fact, I think that have generally betrayed the cause of Christ with their promotion of ecumenism and other things, and I think that Tony Snow has left out some things that would be helpful to clarify his actual beliefs in the article, but I found the article to be a good read.
Some excerpts that I thought were particularly good:
Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—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.
We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.
He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension—and yet don't. By his 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.
What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place—in the hollow of God's hand
When people are faced with the reality of the shortness of life, it often seems as though they begin to look at life differently - and, for believers, it often seems that it ends up in a more serious walk with Christ.
Would to God that we could realize that life is short for all us - not just those that have been officially diagnosed. James comments "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.
For some additional thoughts about death and cancer, read this thoughtful post by Pastor Chris Anderson about a friend who died of cancer and a discussion with his five year old daughter - "Why would Jesus let us die?"
Just other people's thoughts,