Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am rerunning this post from last year. Like many other women, I am a cancer survivor. Praise God, I am well now and heading toward my third year with no evidence of disease.
Written on October 1, 2011 while awaiting test results:
Last year, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I am one of the grateful survivors who had surgery and was done with it. No radiation or chemotherapy needed, just quarterly checkups. I was cancer free for 15 months when two weeks ago I went for my annual mammogram. They found something. The doctor is reasonably sure that it is a new cancer. I’ve had a biopsy, and while I wait for the results I am at peace. So different from last year. Today while I wait, I know that God has used cancer to teach me about Him.
Here are a few things I’ve learned.
God wants us to fight against fear.
To be afraid of cancer and its treatment and to be afraid of the idea that it might kill me is not God’s will. Instead, He desires that I be self-disciplined enough to use His power in me to reject Satan’s cruel what-if’s and death threats. I have learned to push fear away because fear shuts God out. When we learn to shut Satan out, we receive God’s peace that passes all understanding. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
God heals our cancers.
We don’t know whether God will heal our cancers here on Earth, or if healing will come in heaven. Most of us don’t want to die. I don’t. We have our good reasons to stay here. But God’s plan for our lives is greater and better than ours. I have learned to accept that God knows best. Always! I think of death now as similar to the way a baby is born, coming out of the darkness of the womb into the light. When I die someday I will be reborn from the dark tunnel of death into the light of eternal life. The transition may be uncomfortable, but it also must be uncomfortable for a baby to come through the birth canal into the world. Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
God wants us to choose our feelings wisely.
Yes, we have the ability to choose our feelings. My mother died of leukemia. Throughout her illness, she inspired us through her faith and gratitude. She lived each day appreciating all of God’s little gifts—a bird singing, white clouds floating through a cerulean sky, a child’s laughter, an hour without discomfort. Mom told me, “When I wake up in the morning, I say, ‘Thy will be done, and when I go to bed at night, I say, ‘Thank you.’” Through my mother’s cancer and my own, I have learned to praise God in all circumstances. Praising Him allows me to live joyfully and focus on His gifts instead of my disease. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
The list of what God has taught me through cancer is long. Maybe I will share more about this with you someday. But the three big things are fight fear, believe that you will be healed, and concentrate every day, every minute, every hour, on God’s gracious gifts.
For now, I wait knowing that God is good, and I am ready to accept whatever tomorrow brings.
Praise report: On Thursday, I got my biopsy results. Negative. Praise God, I remain cancer free. But now I know that if I ever face cancer again, God has taught me a new way to cope: His way—the best way.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who are fighting cancer or know someone who is. May God bless you with comfort and peace while you wait.
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