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Dealing with Cancer, Struggling with Faith


A woman calls the Busted Halo Show in need of guidance. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer last year, but he also suffers complications from a blood transfusion he received many years ago, which prevents him from undergoing chemotherapy or other conventional cancer treatments. That said, doctors are baffled as to why her husband is still as healthy as he is, to which the caller replies, “I know why: Our Lord is helping him.”

Still, the caller’s husband battles with depression, which is very common in cancer patients: “He stays in his room, and he doesn’t do things that could make him feel better … I like to think I have strong faith, but then I get so frustrated with him, and I get so mad, and I don’t say it to him, but I certainly think it in my mind … ‘Why are you feeling sorry for yourself? You should be happy! You should be grateful that you’re getting this extra time, and that God’s looking after you and healing you. And why are you just throwing away this gift?”

Father Dave asks, “Why would you say that to me and millions of people listening, but you won’t say that to him?” Her answer is simple: “Because I don’t want to hurt him,” to which Father Dave replies: “Why do you think that is hurting him? Why do we presume that sometimes tough love, which is necessary in any relationship is hurtful when it might be just the thing he needs to hear? Maybe you not saying that is more hurtful.”

The caller considers this, but reveals another private struggle: “Maybe I should go home tonight and say that. But then I get scared that maybe– what I’m praying for to God and asking for every day [is that He’ll] take over my thoughts and my words and heal my husband. And then I get scared [that] maybe that’s not his plan, maybe he’s not gonna heal him. We’ve been married 43 years, and I don’t want to — I still think there’s lots of time left!”

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Father Dave comforts her, saying: “I hear the great fear and the sadness and even mourning in your voice, but I think it’s helpful to distinguish these two things — that you can genuinely be fearful that maybe you won’t have as much time left with your husband as you would like and fearful of how is God’s plan gonna work out, but all that is different from ‘my husband is frustrating me because he’s not appreciating the gift that he has.’ So those are two different things. And so, I would affirm you and console you, [even though] I think you know that I don’t have an answer and you don’t have an answer [as to] what God will end up doing … but that doesn’t diminish obviously that you or anyone else in a similar situation will be feeling that. It’s going to be a very difficult time for you. I think even that is very valid to say to your husband, and that’s where it connects to the other thing.

“What you’re feeling is, ‘I’m scared that I may not have any more time with you, and you’re isolating yourself in your room, and that hurts me … Because I want to make the most of this, and who knows what God’s going to do …’ I’m being a bit brash — there’s obviously things going on with him [too]. So you as the loving wife could very well say, ‘I know this has got to be difficult for you, but in case it’s eluded you, here’s why it’s difficult for me …’ Now he may say, ‘Well too bad, because I’m in a bad way.’ But my guess is that he would react more positively than that, and perhaps wouldn’t even have realized how his [isolation] is affecting you … I’ll stand by the fact that that may very well be the thing he needs to hear to get him out of the rut.”

(Original Air 04-20-17)