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Diagnosis and Moving Forward…

First, I must thank you from the depths of my heart for so many of you who have written, messaged, or somehow contacted our family expressing love, support, prayer, and encouragement. We have been overwhelmed by your kindness, and are grateful beyond words.

A few moments ago, I spoke with a doctor and received confirmation that, as suspected, I have classical Hodgkins Lymphoma. This was not a surprise, as several doctors already indicated such. God has greatly strengthened our family in anticipation of this diagnosis, and we are fixed upon loving Him, trusting Him, and living for Him as long as He allows. How can I describe our response to you? Full peace. Resting in God. No significant anxiety. Abundant joy. Amazed at God’s goodness. Preparing for the road ahead. Holding to God’s hand. Focused upon honoring Him. And thanking Him for the gift of a trial.

My Heart in this Diagnosis:

I could not adequately write about what God is doing in my heart. I can share but a few glimpses. In addition to the previous thoughts, there are some specific things that I want you to understand:

First, I’m pursuing God, not merely “more heartbeats.” Don’t get me wrong. I will fight hard to live, with every fiber of my being, and I believe a Hodgkins diagnosis indicates that is probably God’s will. But my hope is not found in my odds, it is found in my great God. I see the diagnosis as merely an indicator of what God’s plan may include.

Too many people live life with two goals—have as many heartbeats as possible, and have as much fun as possible while my heart is beating. This is not wise. The only significant life is found in fulfilling God’s will, and frankly, I would rather be sick on God’s agenda than well on my own agenda. It’s that simple.

Second, this is not about life or death or cancer; it’s about knowing God and fulfilling His call. Cancer is merely a player on the stage of my life right now. It’s not a threat, an evil plot, or an assault. More than anything, it’s a gift that will become an instrument in God’s hands for His glory and for the benefit of others. (I don’t understand how that’s all gonna happen—I just know God, and that’s what He does!) Beating cancer isn’t about surviving, and losing to cancer isn’t about dying—it’s all about fulfilling God’s purpose and helping others to know Him.

Third, this isn’t about “why would God allow this?” it’s about “why would God save me in the first place?” I’ve recently had folks tell me that they are angry with God, or that they question God over this. PLEASE, my friend. Don’t go there. Bring your questions to God, but don’t question His nature or His heart. He is God. We are dust. The fact that He would love us at all is a great mystery! (Job 7:17, Psalm 8:4) When we question His nature or His goodness, we reveal our frailty and even our arrogance. But when we bring our questions to Him, we find a refuge and a very present help in time of trouble. We find a loving Father!

Isn’t it awesome that He loves us enough to give us a Bible full of explanations—about life, trials, hardships, and so much more? He explains His love, His purposes, and His fathomless heart. He tells us so much about who He is, that the details of my circumstances simply fade into obscurity. He’s just AWESOME, and that’s all we really need to know.

Life is hard. But God is good. Don’t confuse the two. I will not question God. I am clay. (Isaiah 29:16) And it occurred to me today, clay doesn’t get angry. Clay doesn’t have a will. Clay doesn’t expect, presume, or worry. Clay has two jobs—sit still and stay soft. And by God’s grace, I want to be clay—I want to sit still and be soft in God’s hands. I pray you will too.

Fourthly, trials reveal a lot about our lives. Trials reveal where our hope is found. When your hope is in Christ, a trial doesn’t shake that hope; it makes it more secure. Trials reveal our false assumptions. We assume we have longer life. We assume our hearts should keep beating. We assume our situation is secure. We assume God is something like a “personal genie,” keeping all of life healthy, happy, and materially prosperous. When trials surprise us, they reveal that we were holding on to a lot of false assumptions. And when you think about it, those assumptions are based on nothing more than probability.

Don’t live your life clinging to probable outcomes. If you do, you are assuring yourself eventual disappointment. Live your life standing solely upon the assurance of God’s promises, and the security of His presence. Live knowing that you are His child. Nothing but the presence of God can offer genuine security. Anything less is an illusion—a false assumption.

Fifthly, God is working through my “light affliction.” I use that term “light affliction” for two reasons. Paul used it in 2 Corinthains 4:17 when talking about our physical burdens in light of the eternal blessings of God. And I know so many people with far more difficult burdens in life. For instance, some of the teenagers in my youth group are in God’s graduate school of affliction, and me—I’m just a kindergartener! But already, God is at work in this affliction. Just two days ago, one man, halfway around the world, wrote to me and has since trusted Christ as a result of my last post. Others are hearing the Gospel and will be saved as a result.

Beyond that, many have written and shared that something I wrote helped or strengthened them in their own trial. There is no more wonderful experience in all the world than to be used by God, in any circumstance. I pray that He will use this, and use me and my family, to encourage and help as many people as possible in the coming months.

In closing, I ask you again to pray for my family—for strength and grace. And pray, if it’s God’s will, that He will heal me and give doctors wisdom in treatments. Whatever the outcome, I love God, trust Him, and am determined to live for Him for the rest of my life.

Regarding this blog and future cancer updates, I have no intention of making this a cancer log. I’m excited about future things that I plan to post, and desire to continue sharing helpful thoughts, encouragement, and ministry ideas. For those who want to follow the health updates, I’ll create a page of running updates that you can click on in the header. As for the rest of the blog, expect things I’m learning, but mostly unrelated to my health.

Thanks again for reading and for praying for us. Thank you for your encouragement! God is GOOD—very, very, very GOOD! If you don’t know Him, write to me… I would love to introduce you to Him!

Pressing forward with confidence in the Lord Jesus,


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  • I’m so sorry, i will be praying for you!

  • love you guys and still praying for you all

  • We are continuing to pray for you and your family and that God will be glorified!

  • we are praying for you and your family we love and appreciate you both and thank you for being there for our children

  • PTL!! This is an answer to prayer, a definitive name that can be beaten. There will be many battles, but the war will be won! Ever since I first heard of this trial, I keep thinking that you should keep a journal with the intent to write a book about your experiences. Untold lives could be touched and encouraged for the glory of the Lord. Praying continually for you and your family.

  • Thanks for sharing; God will use this trial in ways unknown this side of heaven. Praying for you and your family.

  • Thank you for sharing your heart, May God get the glory through this trial. We love you all and are praying without ceasing.

  • “… Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
    – 2 Corinthians 12:9b
    I rejoice with you for the great things God is about to do through you. You will continue to be in my prayers.

  • Thank you for sharing how the Lord is continuing to work through you. I can’t agree with you statement more, God is good!

  • Bro. Schmidt,
    Words can not express how touched I am when reading your post. You have such a keen perspective on God’s plan for life. I will and have been praying for you and your precious family.
    I Thess. 5:17
    Pray without ceasing

  • Brother Cary I could not help but think of the following words:

    Time is filled with swift transition,
    Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
    Build your hopes on things eternal,
    Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

    Trust in Him who will not leave you,
    Whatsoever years may bring,
    If by earthly friends forsaken
    Still more closely to Him cling.

    Covet not this world’s vain riches
    That so rapidly decay,
    Seek to gain the heav’nly treasures,
    They will never pass away.

    (Words by Jennie Wilson, Music by Franklin Eiland)

    Keep looking up brother. The Burgess family loves you.

  • Isn’t it comforting to know that we have the easy job!? All we have to do is “stay still and be soft.” That was very well said! God is so good! and it’s an encouragement to hear your testimony in this trial! I’m praying for you! Looking forward to seeing you walk through this fiery furnace with the Lord and come out unscathed but better for it! I love you Bro. Schmidt! The Brooks’ are praying 🙂

  • Always enjoy reading what you have to say. Thank you for your love for teens and grads.
    Joshua 1:9.

  • Well…It’ll be aright either way!

  • The same day I read the first post indicating that you had lymphoma, I had read Philippians 1 in my devotions. On Wednesday morning, I used Philippians 1:19-21, along with your trial and testimony for our Christian school devotion. You’ve been a tremendous encouragement to me. Thank you. As always, I’m praying for you and your family.

  • My family, church, youth group, and friends around the world are praying for you and your family! We love you.

  • Bro.Cary I will be praying for you. I have told my church and they are praying for you. Your blog really encouraged me today. Its not a death but a gift.Through my life I have had many struggles and just reading this have encouraged me to live my life God’s Way the fullest. I want to serve Him and let Him use me as he use you. I will take your name to the Lord in prayer. But through many struggles in my life I always go to this verse which is my life Verse. Romans 8:28″ And we know that all things work together for good to them that Love God to them who are called according to His purpose. Bro Cary you are call to His purpose and It will all work together for good. Love you Bro.Cary and will be praying for you.

  • Brother Cary, I will be praying for you. James and I just had one chapter of our life with cancel. James had his wonderful homecoming early the morning of May 15 this year. God carried him through. We all prayed for healing, but for some reason God wanted him there with Him. I don’t understand, but this I do know, God never makes mistakes and He will use your testimony for His glory either way here or with Him.
    God bless you and your family and you are in our prayers.
    Dona Pittman
    Romans 8:28

  • Hey Brother Schmidt! I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your family! Thank you for teaching our youth group – I don’t know what our youth group would be like without you and your family! My family and I love you and will continue praying for you!!
    -Tracy Dizon


  • Bro. Schmidt,

    My mom passed along the news last week and I have been praying for you and your family. I will be starting work in an oncology unit next week and if God provides an opportunity, I will be passing on your encouraging words on to some of my patients. I thank God for your willingness to let His light shine through this trial.


  • Dear Schmidt Family,

    I love you and thank You for Sharing something that many may see as something so personal. The beginning of this year I was diagnose with multiple tumors (Uterus) I will have surgery on the 21st (Oct). I’m a little nervoust (a lot) about the surgery, reading your blog has strenghen me as well, as helped me to accept this as 100% to be God’s will for me as His child.

    Hilda Garay

  • dear Brother Schmidt,

    i just read your blog and want you to realize that what your attitude on this cancer thing has helped me in my life when i go to complain to God about something. thank you for your positive attitude on this. i will be praying for you and your family. maybe you would now me more or of my family i am Pastor daves huston’s son from PA and mike’s huston’s brother

  • Hello Pastor Cary, I am a friend of your brother Marc, via The Johnsons, in Guatemala, as they are freinds of ours from North Florida. On a side note, we just raised up some $462 for some coops for Eli’s Chicken Club!! I am a fellow student pastor and we shall begin to pray for you and your family….thanks for sharing your heart and the truth of where and how you really are….Our God is Healer, Our God is Stronger….adios, Jon

  • Dearest Schmidt family,
    Just wanted to say you have all been such a blessing to our family since the Lord moved us to LBC. Thank you for loving our children and being such an encouragement to them, word are not enough to say how you have helped our family. We love you all, and will be praying for you daily. Love and hugs, Coefield family.

  • Praise the Lord for your spirit and encouraging words. It ministered to my heart and made me consider my own responses to life. I will be praying daily for you and your family during this time. God is able and will sustain you through it all. You are a blessing to me!

  • Love to you, Dana and the kids. God is good and He is still in the miracle making business……..I know, first hand…….praying for you!

  • Thank you for your testimony. We are praying for you and your family.

  • Thank you for your testimony – God’s grace is evident in your life. We are praying for you and your family. The Cones

  • Brother Schmidt, I can never thank you enough for all you have done for Samantha and me. Your Godly influence has impacted our lives and thousands of teens and families around the world more than you will ever know. Your testimony about this ‘light affliction’ has touched my heart. We are all blessed to know you and have the opportunity to pray for you and your family. My heart goes out to all of you and am praying for each of you daily.
    Dorothy Edgar & Samantha

  • Pingback: The Depths Of Sin – An Unpopular Subject That Fewer Pastors Are Proclaiming | The Working Pastor


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