Keeping faith through cancer.
Cancer sucks. It’s hard to deny that. But at the same time, my “battle” has brought me closer to God, improved my prayer time with Him and strengthened my faith in a way I didn’t know was possible. When people failed me, as they did, He was always there, like the loving Father we’ve all known Him to be. My reliance on our Heavenly Father not only felt good, but served as a reminder that no matter what happens, it will be okay. I will beat cancer, or I won’t, but I win either way. I win because I get to spend eternity in heaven. I win, because I know that He will provide for me and my family. I win, because He loves me. I win because His plan for my life is superior to any other plan, which means, I can let go and just breathe.
Psalm 121: 7-8 – The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
In the beginning, I did what I typically do, and decided that to could get through cancer on my own. I would simply power through it and not rely on anyone but myself. People came forward with love and prayer, time and help, meals and reading material. I thought I was being polite by sending them away and telling everyone that I was fine. But I wasn’t fine, and honestly, I felt totally isolated and utterly alone. A close friend, later confided that the reason I was alone was because I had pushed people away. I suppose I’d done that my whole life. But I’d also been pushing our Savior away. Things got worse, I grew tired and then I realized something huge. I can’t control cancer. I have to let this one go, do what I need to do to get well, but ultimately leave it in the hands of God. Only He knows what His plan is for my life. When I quit trying to control the results, something beautiful happened. I began seeing the people who were there for me in a different light. Some of them were as scared as I was, but only because they love me and they came to help because they knew I needed help. It was simple really, and quite lovely too. Perhaps they were called by God to be by my side when I needed them most.
Also, I found that when I began to depend on our Father God, my entire perspective changed. Suddenly, what I’d seen as a weakness before in myself and in others, I now embraced as a gift. Cancer brought me closer to the people I love and depend on, and it expanded my relationship with God, allowed my faith to surge and changed the way I talk with Him. His power thrives when we are at our weakest. I might have had plans for my life that didn’t include cancer (I for sure had plans that didn’t include cancer!), but His plans outrank mine, by a large margin. As I allowed Him to live in me, and I in Him, my life changed. I felt at peace with whatever was going to come next. Mainly because it wasn’t up to me, and because, I win either way.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
If I can draw a comparison for you, I would say it was like when I finally gave up trying to control how clean my house was. I live with five children who all came with varying degrees of concern for tidiness, none of which seemed to match my own. It felt like a daily struggle just to get them to put their shoes away or to help with dishes. I was always frustrated and I lived in a constant state of annoyance. The consequences of this ended up being that no one in our house enjoyed being there. I was continually on edge over the mess, and that feeling trickled down to my kids, leading us all to become more irritable. When it finally dawned on me that my mood was setting the tone for the entire family, I learned to give up trying to control the mess, and simply enjoy the site of shoes and toys and books scattered about because it meant that I had a house full of kids and thus, a house full of love.
See? Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective.
Be thankful for the challenges you face and see them as an opportunity to grow, to change your own life and to change the lives of the people you love. This is what they mean when they talk about “blessings in disguise”. When I quit trying to control every aspect of cancer, from how I felt about it to how other people felt about it, I learned to just bask in the knowledge that our Savior’s love for me is SO much bigger than cancer and that whatever comes next, will be just fine. Because, either way, I win.
Psalm 145:20 – The Lord watches over all who love Him, but the wicked He will destroy
2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Acts 17:28 – ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Colossians 2:6-7 – So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
John 14:20 – On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.