Today was Skylor’s funeral.
There are 3 things Skylor and I have in common that you must know, 4 if I want to begin to redeem this number—
- We attended Olentangy High School. We are both BRAVES, our mascot, some would say through and through, representing class of 2016 and 2009.
- We are both writers. Though Skylor is known for drawing graffiti art on t-shirts and cards, Skylor also wrote poetry. He had also started to write his own cancer journey.
- We are both cancer patients and survivors.
- We are brother and sister and not just in cancer survivorship, but most importantly in Christ.
You see, people around Skylor and I always marvel at us and the joy we have and wonder how we have it and possess this, this joy that multiples more than the cancer cells. Skylor would want you to know how: through his relationship with God and how he simply asked for the joy.
If you were at the funeral today, you heard of the story the funeral officiant gave of a cancer patient meeting Skylor during treatment and inviting him out to a high school Bible study.
I am that cancer patient.
And I don’t announce this to give glory or recognition to myself, but I hope it signals you to stop and pause for a moment and hear me out and listen to the same message that was relayed to Skylor that gave him so much joy, so much life, and confident hope.
You see, God divinely used the timing of my cancer relapse and Skylor’s diagnosis. God definitely did not bring cancer upon us; cancer is something that is so contradictory to His nature of creative order seen in the sciences. But he did use these uncontrollable and disobedient cells to bring two very unlikely people to meet–a 16 year old guy who loves Twenty One Pilots who is in high school and plays in the marching band and a 23 year old woman who drinks tea and blogs–to one hospital, to one patient floor, to one patient room.
If there is one thing I have learned for certain in the midst of multiple cancer relapses, now on my fourth, it is this–
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
If you haven’t yet guessed this or seen this, this “all things” includes cancer. There is no asterisk saying “all things except for cancer, death, tragedy…” God doesn’t qualify his promises. He states them and they be, whether we can see them or understand them in the moment or not.
God set me up to live in Lewis Center, to go to Olentangy, for me to be leading a high school Bible study in Olentangy School Disctrict, orchestrated the allowing of cancer to come back into my life to meet Skylor who also lived in Lewis Center, went to Olentangy, knew students in my high school Bible study, and had found out about his cancer earlier that year.
Skylor came to this Bible study fall of 2014, and there he heard and learned the secret of joy, life, contentment, strength, of giving out to others in the midst of your own suffering.
This, in fact, is no secret. There is no secret wisdom that Skylor and I possess as young cancer patients, being “wise beyond our years.”
Skylor simply believed and listened to the Word:
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Skylor declared this, that Jesus is Lord.
Skylor believed this, that Jesus died for sinful humans like you and me.
Skylor believed this, that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Skylor believed this and was saved in this life and the next.
Because of this, I am so confident that Skylor is still living on in heaven because of this decision, this choice, he made about Jesus, who he is, what he had done, how God gave up his son to save people like you, me, and our Skylor.
Jesus also attended a funeral here on earth. He knows what its like to be in the midst of deep pain for a loved one now gone. These are the words of encouragement and hope he gave at the funeral—
25 Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Skylor believed in Jesus.
Skylor still lives, even though he has died.
Skylor believed this, and as do I.
Jesus asks you now: do you believe this about me?
Even though I am still so saddened about Skylor’s death, I am so confident that I know I will see him again because I know he choose to believe in Jesus. Even though I am scared at times with this recent relapse, I am confident that whatever happens, I know where I am going.
This is where Skylor received his comfort, his hope, his joy in the midst of his past 2 years of treatment: Jesus.
You see, what Skylor had was indeed so special and it was not just exclusive to him. You also can have this joy, this comfort, this confident hope so freely. All you have to do is ask Jesus for this relationship and believe.
Do you believe this?