St. Peter's Blog 'Fight the Good Fight of Faith' from St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – North Wales, PA's Blog

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016
Author: Pastor Andreas Wagner

This is about one family's good fight of faith in the face of cancer in the advanced stages.


Fight the Good Fight of Faith

These past couple of weeks our Lectionary offered us readings from Paul’s letters to Timothy, the Apostle’s disciple and protege. As can be expected, the old man Paul has lots and probably too much advice for the young pastor. He treats the budding congregational leader  like a son and at one point tells him: “Fight the good fight of faith!” (1. Timothy 6: 12) It’s worth reading this piece of advice in context as Paul urges Timothy to focus on his pastoral tasks rather than getting distracted by other matters. But to me this slogan might as well be taken out of context and applied to different situations in our individual lives and parish situations. I bet it won’t be too hard for you, dear reader, to think of a place in your life where you need to fight the good fight of faith right now.

I was recently so invigorated by witnessing how one of our families is fighting the good fight of faith in the eye of the storm called cancer – cancer in the advanced and life threatening stages. How amazing to see God creatively at work in the lives of people who allow the spirit to speak. In my practice as a pastor I learned early on to pay special attention when people begin a sentence by saying, “You may think this is weird, but...” In fact, I learned that what follows is more often than not a revelation.    

I visited this family one morning, knowing that they have gone through the proverbial hell over the course of the last year. After mom was diagnosed with four different cancers and having fought through it all with the help of top-notch specialists, surgeries and numerous sessions of chemo therapy, her daughter was diagnosed with a very scary, advanced form of cancer. At the point of my visit she had been through a series of tough chemo treatments which had left her bereft of once beautiful hair. She owned that baldness with as much grace and pride as anyone can possibly imagine. Full of energy, she openly shared her enthusiasm, faith and suggestions for anyone in a similar situation. She was now at a point where the surgeons could operate and the day of the surgery just so happened to fall on her tenth wedding anniversary. I looked at pictures of the wedding and remembered.  I had actually officiated the ceremony on the happy day when they made this vow: “For better, for worse, in sickness and in health...” 

Now back to the weird part. Mom mentioned a very special character who was a crucial part of her journey to recovery. She is now considered in remission, although the word “remission” will never feel like a freedom sentence, as anyone who has dealt with severe cancer will understand. Early in her uphill battle, her two twin grandsons (8 years old) made a Lego figurine for her. This little thing became her cancer fighting warrior. Sounds weird? I don’t care. The figurine, affectionally called “Bitch’n - name of the person,” was there at every surgery and through every chemo therapy ordeal, a fighting cancer warrior at her side.  Not that she was totally fixated on it. She prayed the Lord’s Prayer over and over again during endless times of dripping poison. But this little Lego warrior was an embodiment of her fighting spirit. It was important. Once, in a daze-like dream, she had a vision of this Lego warrior attacking her cancer cells. “Take that, cancer!”  

Why am I telling this story? First, as encouragement for anyone in need of a miracle right now. Secondly, to emphasize that God works through many and various ways, including weird ones. And third, to encourage you to fight the good fight of faith wherever you need to at this moment in your life. Immanuel – God is with us!

Pastor Andreas Wagner




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