For the last two mornings at 7 am, Prince Philip has pulled up a chair next to me as I sat in my prayer chair. We sat, holding hands and got a little teary at times as we listened together to a Christian radio program! Now this isn’t really typical for us, so what has prompted this opportunity for our early morning two-day date?
Well, Norm and Cher Nelson of Compassion Radio asked to interview me about my cancer storm and the outreach ministry to others suffering with cancer which has grown from it — and the two-day interview was broadcast Monday and Tuesday, July 1 & 2. The Nelsons have an international ministry of compassion and evangelism. They have attended worship with us at St. James and Norm has been a featured speaker at some of our events surrounding the Persecuted Church. We think highly of him, so when he asked for this interview, I didn’t have to think or even pray twice before saying, “YES!”
Norm and I wanted to do the interview earlier in June. In fact, I received a call from him on my cell phone as I sat in my surgeon’s office, waiting for another of my 2013 cancer reconstruction surgical procedures. I took the call from Norm, but explained I was rather “indisposed” at the moment — could we book the interview for when I wasn’t sitting on a surgeon’s table or a bit dulled by pain medication? Good man that he was, Norm complied with my request and we booked the interview for later to be aired on Compassion Radio on Monday and Tuesday, July 1 & 2.
Being interviewed by Norm and Cher is a really wonderful experience. Since they are mission-minded people, Norm paid attention to my comment that through my cancer, God has shown me that cancer sufferers are an “unreached people group” in need of the hope and comfort that comes only from our Savior Jesus Christ. And as people who have traveled all over the world to demonstrate the compassion of Christ, Norm and Cher are totally tuned into the need for members of the Body of Christ to give away what we have received from our Savior — compassion, mercy, comfort, hope, healing and yes, salvation.
This interview with Norm and Cher reminded me of two passages which are key to us when we as Jesus-followers yearn to live our lives in a way that demonstrates and expands Christ’s Kingdom on this earth.
First, St. Paul’s admonishment in Romans 12:15, “Weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.” Here Paul touches the heart of being like Christ: We are to be compassionate companions with others along their life’s journey. We are called to come alongside others and even when we are struggling, if another is rejoicing, we are to be self-sacrificial, put our own pain aside and rejoice along with them! Likewise, if we are rejoicing but we see one who is suffering, we are to be self-sacrificial in our actions and to come alongside to weep with them in their hardship. This is a demonstration of Christ’s Kingdom which has the power to change the lives of many who are in a time of joy, or indeed, a time of trial, sorrow, or tragedy.
Second, the theme verse for our Cancer Comfort Outreach ministry also came to mind in our interview. It’s also from St. Paul and this time from his second letter to the church at Corinth. “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Cor. 1:3b-4)
The truth about my cancer journey is this — it was awful, frightening, long and painful. But Jesus was with me in every moment I spent in the Valley of the Shadow of Death! It was in that dark valley that He comforted me, consoled me and gave me hope that carried me through, up and out of that dark valley! I have received the comfort of my Kind Savior Jesus and now I must comfort others with “the same comfort God has given me.”
That’s Norm and Cher Nelson’s heart’s desire also. I am grateful to Compassion Radio and to the Nelson’s for their kind invitation to share my story and to send out the Good News of Christ’s love and compassion for all of us who have known suffering!
If you want to hear these interviews, go to compassionradio.com/broadcast and scroll down to find the broadcasts for July 1 & 2. And if you know someone with cancer, please pass on these interviews and invite them be in touch with me for any extra help or hope. They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, you or your friends can access my blog posts from the year of my cancer storm by just clicking on “One-Year Cancer Chronicles” on this site. They may be an encouragement to you or someone who needs comfort from someone who has been in their own cancer storm.
May the Lord bless you today!
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.