I attended a myeloma conference and a patient named Michael Katz was presenting his recommendations from a patient’s perspective. One of his PowerPoint slides said “It’s not a bad time to get religion.” He is a faithful Jewish man and he is spot on.
Contemplating your mortality is not a bad time to get religion. Struggling with survival is not a bad time to look up and ask for help and much-needed direction. I’ll explain more about “bringing it” later in this post, but an added blessing of cancer is turning faith into knowledge.
In my faith, we have a once-a-month Sunday meeting called “Fast Sunday.” We fast for two meals, donate the money we would have spent on the meals to the poor, and at our meeting we offer testimony about certain gospel principles and sometimes share our faith-building experiences.
As a 13-year-old I remember wondering how someone could say they “knew” something was true versus “believing” something was true. But as a 13-year-old, I hadn’t had much time to exercise my faith.
I’m learning (through some exhaustion) that the word “exercise” here is pretty instrumental. I’ve been watching my kids try out P90X and it looks exhausting. Then I watched this hilarious spoof on P90X from BYU’s new Studio C comedy show and I heard words of wisdom “You’ve got to bring it, every day.”
I’ve started running (ok just a little!) and surprisingly have to breathe hard while doing it (ha ha). Also shockingly, after 30 minutes in the gym, I can “feel the burn.”
I’m learning that the whole purpose of faith is to “bring it.” You start with a hypothesis given from above and then exercise that faith by actually doing something about it. In time, you prove that hypothesis and it becomes factually and personally true. It might take years and consistent choices to prove it out, but it does happen.
After many experiences with prayer, I can now say with great confidence that I know prayer works. I am praying to be able to find a cure for multiple myeloma. Who am I to be asking that question with hundreds of cancer experts working on this target? No one of significance or qualification, really. But I believe the promise that He knows all and can make “weak things strong.” And so I pray everyday for direction on this project. The help I’ve received in answer to those prayers has been real and specific. I am getting ideas that I know are not my own because frankly, I am not that smart. I am having doors open that would not otherwise open. I don’t have faith anymore that prayer works, I know that it does.
It’s funny how prayer is answered. Sometimes the ways are totally unexpected.
Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience.
Elder David Bednar
In my best way, I am trying to do the spiritual conditioning necessary and the work required to move the ball forward. The last 4 months launching this project was extreme effort to do something completely out of my realm. You should never underestimate fear as a great motivator to push you to do things you never thought you could. I’m moving past the anxiety stage and am now seeing an extraordinary payoff. My daily spiritual workout is strengthening my core and the education is remarkable.
I’ll take as many bonus blessings as I can get and I’ll keep looking up for more.