Early in my cancer storm of 2012, the Lord used His Word to bring me strength and hope that could be found in no other way. For months, I lived in the story from the Old Testament of David fleeing from his son Absalom who was seeking to take his father’s life. To me, Absalom was the cancer that sought to take my life. Like David, I was forced to leave my old, familiar world. (2 Sam. 15:13-15) Like David, I was accompanied on the journey to save my life by faithful, praying friends and supporters. (15:17-18) Like David, I could not defend myself but depended on others to protect my life. (17:15-22) And like David, I needed those who would go to the front line and deal the final death blows to the cancer in my body. (18:14) Ironically, just as three spears were used to kill Absalom, so it took three spears — mastectomy, chemo and radiation — to destroy my cancer.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “The Word of God is living and active …” How true this is! How critically important it is that we read the Word, study the Word, and that we turn to it in times of trouble! Through His Word, the Lord speaks to us in deep and meaningful ways. Through His Word, God gives us hope and strength and courage. Through His Word, the presence of Christ comes to us and we are given a map marked by His own footprints which can lead us through the darkest of valleys and the most difficult of days.
As well as David’s story in 2 Samuel, I was also fed by the Book of Haggai, which tells the story of the rebuilding of God’s temple when the remnant people returned to Israel after exile in Babylon. In it I read of God’s perfect timing in charging the Israelites with the task of rebuilding God’s house. It reminded me that God’s timing was perfect for me also. Through this book, God reminded me that my body was His dwelling place and that in treatment, I was rebuilding His dwelling place so that He would be given greater honor in me and through me. Even the awful surgeries, chemo and radiation became sanctified acts as I regarded them as the holy reconstruction project which would not only extend my life but give my body renewed opportunity to glorify God!
In Haggai 2:9 God promised me that “the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former”. How many times as I struggled with the effects of surgery, chemo or radiation did that promise seem strange, illusive and even silly. Yet this morning as I sat in my prayer chair, the Lord brought back to me this promise and asked me, “Are you seeing my promise fulfilled?” And as I survey my life — increased health, increased passion for ministry, increased compassion for the suffering, increased energy to serve God and the people He loves — I had to say “yes, Lord, Your promise is being fulfilled.” The glory of the latter house is greater than the former.
Glory, like beauty, is in the eyes of beholder. All that I ask is that God be pleased with what He sees — after all, I am HIS dwelling place.
Today, I pray that you will embrace the Word of God as essential for your life. When crisis comes — and it comes to everyone eventually — our need for God to speak to us is great and His Word will light the way through the darkest of nights.
Please pray for our CANCER with CHRIST Support Group meeting this Thursday at 10 am in our home, that God would speak to those He loves who are suffering with cancer.
Love and blessings,
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.