Cross Of A Different Kind: Cancer And Christian Spirituality by Anthony Maranise

Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Can’t Heal

Cross of A Different Kind: Cancer And Christian Spirituality by Anthony Maranise is a comprehensive book  focusing on cancer and the Christian walk. At the time of writing the author is cancer free for twenty years having had childhood cancer aged just five years old.

The book is divided into three sections: those who have lost loved ones; those battling cancer; and the survivors of cancer. Each stage faces unique challenges. The overriding messages are that we are primarily a soul with a body and we have a God who loves us.

There are some difficult questions asked – why does God permit us to suffer cancer? The author gives us his answer and then talks about the two types of evil – natural and moral. It is a gut reaction to blame God but in order to blame Him, we must therefore believe in Him. Feelings of anger are perfectly normal. “If we are mad at Him, that means we acknowledge His Presence, His Power and His Supremacy.”

Death hurts but I loved this thought: “Souls still know us, love us, and love to hear from us” (through prayers directed to God). We must never lose sight of the fact that we are souls first and bodies second. We are a soul with a body not a body with a soul. Incidentally my church Lifecentral spoke on this very topic a few weeks ago.

Cancer can rob us of much but “Cancer cannot stifle your imagination, your creativity or your dreams.”

The author recognises that there are five stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining; depression and acceptance. Grief does not necessarily start at death but at diagnosis.

It is important not to journey alone. We need friends, family and support systems. We need to pray for each other.

Survivors of cancer must get regular check-ups. They realise that “our confrontation with cancer will always be a part of our story.” Survivors are well placed to walk alongside others battling cancer to provide empathy and support.

After each of the three sections there are questions, exercises and resources designed to help us in our individual walks.

Throughout the book there is much scripture and also quotes from individuals such as C.S. Lewis and Viktor Frankl who was a concentration camp survivor.

Cross Of A Different Kind is a powerful resource for all those of us whose lives have been touched by cancer. The statistics of one in two of our lives being touched by cancer is frightening (as quoted on The Great British Bake Off Stand Up To Cancer). The book can be dipped in and out of or like me you may want to read cover to cover.

Thank you Anthony Maranise for writing such a powerful book. May God richly bless you and may you continue to be cancer free.

I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

JULIA WILSON

I will leave you with a poem from page 114 whose author is unknown:

What Cancer Cannot Do

It cannot cripple Love

It cannot shatter Hope

It cannot corrode Faith

It cannot destroy Peace

It cannot kill Friendship

It cannot suppress Memories

It cannot silence Courage

It cannot invade the Soul

It cannot steal Eternal Life

It cannot conquer the Spirit. 

Podcast series from Lifecentral. The Soul Detox series began in January 2019. http://lifecentralchurch.org.uk/podcast/

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