The Mystery of Survival (II)

Why, with the same diagnosis and treatment, do some patients survive, but others die?

For another response to that question,  check out, “The Forgiveness Project: Find Health and Achieve Peace.” Written by Michael Barry, D. Min., Director of Pastoral Care at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, this book describes recent findings of medical researchers who link cancer survival with forgiveness.

Emotional hurts create stress, anxiety, and depression. With less sleep added to eating difficulties, our immune system cannot function at optimal levels. Stress hormones may also create cardio-vascular and digestive complications.

Although the research is anecdotal (not scientifically measured), and no one asserts stress causes cancer, it indicates that psychological stress can and does facilitate its growth and spread. The inability to forgive reveals an emotional wound. To give ourselves the best chance to survive, then, we need to let go of resentment.

We may need help. If we haven’t resolved our relationship with some people on our own, we probably need others skilled to help us identify our wounds, to show us empathy for what we feel, but also to support us in taking steps to break the impasse. Forgiveness takes time, and doesn’t mean we exonerate others of responsibility. It does mean we learn to yield our clutch on bitterness. Our survival may depend on it.


About Grose

Gordon Grose loves most to write, speak, and preach on the message of hope from the book of Job. Using drama, video, and PowerPoint, he has preached and presented this message of hope to churches around the country. Grose pastored three congregations 25 years, then served 12 years as a pastoral counselor in a Portland, Oregon counseling clinic. He now serves with Good Samaritan Counseling Services, Beaverton, OR. A graduate of Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and Boston University, he comes from a rich and varied background in theological and counseling training. In 2015, Gordon published Tragedy Transformed: How Job's Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours, a book about turning to Job for hope after tragedy. If you have experienced life challenges or personal tragedy, visit his Transforming Tragedy ( blog to learn more. provides a sample of Gordon's speaking as well as an opportunity to purchase copies of his book.
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