Guest / Limited Access /

It was supposed to be a doctor's visit like any other. My wife would come home and say, as she had done many times before, that everything was okay, and that she should get lots of exercise and eat fruits and vegetables—what doctors always say. We would breathe a sigh of relief, hug each other, and promptly forget that the moment had ever taken place.

But the news that winter afternoon was very different:

Peter, it's cancer. It's cancer.

Carol had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which had already spread to her lymph nodes. A biopsy revealed that her cancer was a particularly aggressive kind called triple negative, and it would resist the best available treatments. In the grim words of a doctor we consulted, this type of cancer was a potent "killer of young women," young women like my wife of eight years, the mother of my two daughters.

Still reeling, we were soon dealt another crushing blow: Our health insurance company had determined that my wife's cancer was a preexisting condition and terminated her coverage. We would be forced to pay for treatments on our own. The shock of her diagnosis had been difficult enough, but this enormous legal complication devastated our already fragile spirits.

I remember feeling a multitude of things during that time: shock, intense fear, confusion. But the emotion I remember most clearly was that of betrayal. I felt betrayed by God.

A Subconscious Theology

You see, I was a good person, or at least had tried my hardest to be one. I had devoted my entire life to following and serving God, giving up a promising career in medicine to become a pastor. I wanted to do great things for his sake, and so planted a church in Washington, D.C. My family ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueHow Should Churches and Seminaries Respond to Immigrant Pastors Who Minister in the US Illegally?
Subscriber Access Only How Should Churches and Seminaries Respond to Immigrant Pastors Who Minister in the US Illegally?
Three views on foreign-born preachers in the pulpit.
RecommendedPersecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Persecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Beginning as a despised, illicit religious sect, Christianity endured 300 years of hostility to emerge as the dominant force in the Roman Empire.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickWhen Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
When Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
If history is any guide, there’s no escaping the hostilities that erupt every December.
Christianity Today
Blindsided by God … But Never Betrayed
hide thisJuly/August July/August

In the Magazine

July/August 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.