So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20
A couple of weeks ago, I learned that someone very near and dear to me has cancer. She accepted the news without anger… without bitterness… but instead, she accepted the news with the fullness of hope in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve watched her offer comfort to her husband and daughters while they, in turn, committed to stand strong behind her. I’ve seen one of the greatest outpouring of love and faith I’ve ever been witness to. And it was my great honor to be a part of a prayer group of over 30 women, who came together for the sole purpose but to pray for my friend, and another woman who is also battling cancer.
I’ve seen strength, character, compassion, and courage — all magnified in the diminutive frame of a woman who has a heart bigger than almost anyone else I know.
And through all of this — I’ve seen God’s grace first hand.
Cancer is an ugly word. It’s conjures scary images and worst of all — the fear of the unknown. I think the thing we have to remember in these situations is that cancer and disease weren’t part of God’s plan. Cancer is a reminder that we live in a fallen world. Disease and sickness are a sign of decay… a decaying world being eaten away by sin. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they began the cycle of sickness, disease, and death that has been passed on for generations throughout thousands of years.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— ~Romans 5:12
Though sickness and disease weren’t the plan, God allows it to happen. This is perfectly illustrated in the story of Job… a man of great faith who God allowed to be tested. Job lost everything… one of the richest men in his country, he lost all of his flocks, his servants, and his children… As if that wasn’t enough, God allowed disease to be used against him.
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. ~Job 2:7-8
Job’s own wife encouraged him to curse God for all the misfortune that had befallen him, even though he’d been faithful. But Job refused. He was tried. He was tested. And through it all — he continued to trust God.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.” ~Job 1:21
We know that cancer doesn’t always happen to “bad” people. Sometimes, God allows it to happen, even to someone as sweet, loving, and giving as my friend. While you may be tempted to ask God, “Why her?” if you will only trust in God’s plan — you can bear witness to miracles.
I certainly have.
In the last two weeks, I’ve seen the miracle of hope. The miracle of faith. The miracle of courage. The miracle of trust.
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ ~Isaiah 41:10
And I fully expect to bear witness to many more miracles on this journey.
Of course, there have been tears. But most of all, the tears that have been shed are tears of gratitude, humility, joy, love, and compassion. The tears of fear have been few and far between because my friend and her family know that God is walking with them.
They have put their trust in Him and are praying for healing.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me. ~Psalm 30:2
They have put their trust in His will and His plan.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. ~Isaiah 55:8
Their faith and trust is a tremendous thing to see. I am so inspired by all of them.
But, most of all, my friend, being the ever-selfless person that she is, is praying that her cancer will help reach someone who needs encouragement… someone who needs a renewal of faith… someone who needs their own personal relationship with God.
She loves the Lord enough that she’s willing to walk this frightening, unknown path with great courage and conviction, believing it will all be worth it if it benefits someone else.
And if that’s not the very definition of a grace-full life, I don’t know what is.
Today, my brave friend began chemotherapy and she went in with her pink boxing gloves and a smile on her brave face. She was surrounded by her family… her cheerleaders who are ready to stand by her side every single step of the way.
I ask that you join me in prayer, not only for my friend, but for anyone facing cancer and other diseases.
Dear Lord, You are faithful and You show us great lessons, even in the midst of challenges. May we rise to the occasion and face each obstacle with the kind of faith and trust that can only come from You. Thank You for the difficult times in life, because they bring us closer to You. They enable us to embrace Your many blessings and gifts. Challenges give us the opportunity to praise Your goodness because we know that You are in charge of it all. Thank you for my friend and the love that has been shown. Please be with her, her family, and her friends. Give her the courage to live each day for You and moreover, give her the peace and trust that comes from You. Walk with her, Lord, and hold her hand. Remind her heart that she is never alone and that whatever happens — Your will will prevail and You do have a plan for all of this. I ask Your blessings on her. I pray for all those who are suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. I know this wasn’t Your plan, but I pray that those who suffer can find comfort in You. I pray all of this in Your holy name, Amen.