It’s kind of embarrassing really. Prior to my life-threatening cancer, I had been teaching extensively on supernatural healing for years. We had seen some really miraculous and marvelous things which the Lord had done in people’s bodies, hearts, relationships, and circumstances. But particularly on my heart and in my mouth as I spoke on healing, was the target of CANCER. I remember many times saying that in our country, the king disease was cancer and we were aiming to see “king cancer” dethroned.
Think about it – in our nation, cancer is on everyone’s mind and it is feared by many to most people. Most families have been affected by it. We put millions of dollars into how to protect ourselves from it and how to get rid of it if we get it. It even seems to have power over life and death. When spoken of, many speak its name “cancer” in a hushed voice. Like a king, it holds immense power.
Now I decided years ago that there would be only one King in my life and that’s Jesus Christ. He alone sits on the throne of my life and existence. I revere and obey Him first and foremost. As the worship song “Above All” by LeBlanc and Baloche says it when singing about Jesus, the King. “Above all powers, above all kings. Above all nature and all created things. Above all wisdom and all the ways of man. You were here before the world began. Above all kingdoms, above all thrones. Above all wonders the world has ever known. Above all wealth and treasures of the earth. There’s no way to measure what You’re worth.” Jesus is King!
So I knew that this pseudo-king cancer must be dethroned and the way I worked toward that effort prior to my cancer was to teach on and pray for supernatural healing from cancer. We won some major battles in prayer against cancer … and we lost some too. But I was committed to continue working with the Body of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit to “dethrone cancer” through healing prayer.
Then cancer got me in its site like I was in the center of the crosshairs of a rifle scope. It hit me hard, with the intent of taking me down. Kind of embarrassing that the gal who taught on “dethroning cancer” would be caught by it! Would I be forced to eat my words? The answer is no, because cancer set out to win this battle, but it couldn’t and it didn’t!
When cancer hit, we counter-attacked with everything we had. Certainly openness to medical treatment but especially the power of prayer. I had a “swat team” of prayer folks who prayed for me daily and with great faith from the day of diagnosis throughout my year-long treatment. Before my double mastectomy, I had soaking prayer, the laying on of hands, prophetic words, and anointing with oil more times than I can count! Philip’s faith was so strong that he expected the surgeon to find no cancer when she opened up my right breast. But she did find cancer which had spread extensively throughout the entire breast and invading the lymph nodes. Oops, had we misjudged the enemy’s power? Would cancer win and emerge “king” once again?
Well, it was then that I was forced to learn a new way to “dethrone king cancer.” It wasn’t through miraculous healing, although healing has come over time through God’s kind intervention and excellent medical treatment. But more, much more, I learned to dethrone cancer through my own very personal journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death where cancer had led me. A little like Jesus facing Satan in the desert as He prayed and fasted for 40 days, I would face down my enemy during many dark nights and difficult days when cancer tempted and taunted me to believe what it said and not Jesus. That’s where the enemy made a strategic error.
You see, my faith was just strong enough that I saw his lie and I chose to believe Jesus instead. I chose to believe God is good even when the healing did not miraculously come. I chose to be faithful and keep my eyes on Jesus through surgeries and radical treatment. And I chose to find the “gold in the road” in the midst of the painful journey – daily signs of God’s goodness and kindness and presence with me during this cancer storm. With Philip by my side and both of us being held in the bosom of the Church and cradled by her prayers, I faced the enemy and called him a liar to his face. And like Jesus as He emerged from His 40 days “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14), I emerged from my dark time battling the enemy with my body weakened but my soul filled with the Spirit who saved me from death!
And thereby, cancer lost its hold on me. Not just its hold on my body although I am grateful for this gift which I celebrate and for which I rejoice! But more importantly, cancer is no longer king over my soul. I’ve learned that there is no enemy we might face, even cancer, even death, which is more powerful and more sovereign than King Jesus. King cancer has fallen from its throne.
So I teach differently that I used to. At first that bothered me. Did that mean that I don’t believe in miraculous healing? Should we not pray for healing and with faith believe that its power is still available to us as it was to the apostles who Luke says in Acts 10:38 “healed all who were oppressed by the devil”? Those were questions I needed to ponder, to pray about, and yes, I wrestled with God for some time on these very questions.
Now almost two years from my head-on collision with cancer, I am coming to peace with my new, updated theology, which I believe to be more biblical than my old theology. I still believe with all my heart that miraculous, supernatural healing is available to us today. I will still be a part of “swat team” prayers that ask God to intervene and knock cancer and other illnesses from their pedestal of power in the lives of believers and non-believers alike. I’ll still teach on healing and we will see God do marvelous things as we claim this great gift and privilege given to us by and through the Holy Spirit.
But now I understand more, much more. I understand that there are different ways to “dethrone cancer.” Now, it’s not just supernatural healing that is in my battle belt. Now, I know that sometimes we battle with prayer, but sometimes we must battle up close and personal with the enemy. Sometimes we battle through suffering when incisions are made in our bodies and chemicals are being dripped into our veins and our skin and tissue is being burned with radiation. Those are the powerful moments when we look the enemy in the eye and battle with our faith in a good God, Who is with us every dark and difficult step.
And so from now on when I teach or preach on the subject of healing, I will teach with each hand holding a separate weapon which destroys the enemy. In one hand there is prayer and a belief that God can heal supernaturally in response to our prayers. And in the other hand is my very personal experience and the experience of many Christians who have defeated the enemy by suffering faithfully through their own Valley of the Shadow of Death and emerged on the other side more convinced of God’s love and kindness and sovereignty than ever. And when we battle this way, we will see cancer tumble from its throne every time. This is true victory in Christ Jesus!
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.