As part of the 2015 Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast, Kirk Perry, president of brand solutions at Google, shared an update regarding his cancer diagnosis and revealed what crucial lesson God taught him throughout the difficult process.
The 22nd annual event, which was held in Santa Clara, CA on March 1st, was themed "Finding Your Why." According to the event website, the Prayer Breakfast is designed to "introduce faith and prayer as vital elements of a meaningful and vibrant life, and encourage ongoing conversations on spiritual topics."
Perry, who was last year's keynote speaker, shared how he came to faith after his six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. In a surprising turn of events, Perry himself was diagnosed with stage two thyroid cancer just three weeks before appearing at the 2015 Prayer Breakfast.
Nearly a year later, he shared how God has used his cancer diagnosis to teach him to completely and fully depend on Him.
"Isn't it weird how God works in mysterious ways?" Perry asked attendees. "My daughter's cancer taught me how to deal with my cancer many, many years later."
Two months after his cancer diagnosis, Perry underwent surgery to remove his cancerous thyroid. During the next several weeks of recovery, he struggled to to understand why God was allowing him to undergo such pain.
Before going in for his follow-up appointment several weeks later, he felt something within his body simply "wasn't right." After undergoing a full-body scan, doctors discovered the cancer had spread throughout his entire body.
"I was devastated," he recalled. "I went out from [of the hospital] and it was a beautiful day, and everybody was going about their business. I wept...I really understood when the Bible talks about how Jesus wept, because I really did. I remember thinking, 'This is not fair'...my odds had dropped significantly."
While sitting in his car after the appointment, Perry revealed he "wrestled" with God: "For the first time in my life, I understood the book of Lamentations...I cried out to God at the top of my lungs," he said.
In the midst of this, a nurse came by his car window and asked him if everything was okay.
"It's fine," he responded.
"No, it's okay if everything's not fine," the nurse said to him.
"I felt like God was giving me a little message there," Perry said of the encounter. "The things that went through my mind were absolutely crazy...I didn't know how the story was going to end."
During this difficult time, Perry's faith served as a tremendous source of strength. One pivotal moment came when a close friends of his told him, "Don't pay interest on a debt God cannot ask you to repay" - in other words, don't stay up at night worrying over the cancer diagnosis.
"I don't care how strong your faith is - if you're struggling with something, it's hard not to worry, it's hard not to wrestle with God, but my friend was right," Perry said. "Fast forward three months later, and I got a clean check-up. It's amazing how God works."
One verse that encouraged him throughout the process was the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, who was sold as a slave by his own brothers. However, he never lost his faith in God.
"I was given incredible confidence through this story because...over 22 years of absolute struggle, God was there every step of the way," Perry said.
Throughout the painful process, Perry revealed that God opened his eyes to an invaluable lesson: "God taught me dependence. I was transformed in my life because of my daughter's illness, and I've been transformed again."
He added, "Transformation does not mean perfection - transformation to me means, instead of running away from God, I now run to God. Regardless of my struggle, I run after him to be with him, to ask for his protection. In my earlier days, I simply would have run away from him."
The Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast is part of the Altos Christian Foundation. For more information on future events please visit their website.