When you are in a battle, they say, the better your defense against your enemy, the greater your chances of survival, even victory. If that is true in the world of cancer with medical treatment as our defense, how much more true it is in the spiritual part of our lives!
St. Paul addressed warfare in his writings as if every Christian was to become expert in dealing with it. Teaching believers how to contend with our enemy the devil, he said in Ephesians 6,
13 Put on every piece of God’s armor …
14 Put on the belt of truth
and the body armor of God’s righteousness.
15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News …
16 Hold up the shield of faith …
17 Put on salvation as your helmet,
and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times …
With these godly instructions in mind, here is a translation of the ARMOR OF GOD FOR THE CANCER SUFFERER:
- The Belt of Truth: Truth is knowing that God formed your body in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and knows everything about you, including your diagnosis and everything taking place in your body. Truth is believing that God loves you and He will never leave you, not for one moment of your cancer storm (Deuteronomy 31:8; Matthew 28:20). Wrap this truth around you daily.
- The Body Armor of God’s Righteousness: God’s righteousness in Christ Jesus extends like armor to cover all our vital organs — the very organs threatened by cancer. See the righteousness which Christ bought for us on the cross as covering and protecting your vital organs.
- For shoes, put on the Gospel Peace: Peace is a gift given to us by Jesus, the Prince of Peace (John 14:27). We are to put it upon our feet and walk in peace as we go from doctor’s appointment to infusion to radiation to surgery. Don’t let fear rob you of what is rightfully yours in Christ. Let God’s peace lead you every step of your cancer journey.
- Hold up the shield of faith: It is hard to have faith when the cancer storm rages. Yet faith in Jesus Christ is the shield which guards us in time of trouble. Even more, faith can extinguish the darts which assail us in our storm before they can strike our soul. Every day, hold up simple faith in Jesus. No matter what.
- Put on salvation as your helmet: Thoughts matter. In cancer, thoughts can direct us toward hope or toward despair. “Think on these things,” St. Paul said — and directed us to things which were “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8) In the cancer storm, thoughts really matter.
- Take up the sword of the spirit: It is only the Word of God which is a sword strong enough to defeat our enemy and yet light enough to be lifted by one whose body is weakened with cancer. The Bible is a friend in the darkest night of our cancer storm. Find a verse which brings life and lift it up. (Genesis 8:1; Psalm 3:2-6; Psalm 91; Mark 4:30-34; 1 Corinthians 15:54-58; Revelation 22:18-21; Leviticus 26:40-45; Joshua 10:25; 1 Peter 1:3-6)
- Pray: Like the Word of God as the Sword of the Spirit, prayer is an offensive weapon. It pushes back the force of the enemy and pushes us forward when we have no strength of our own. Leaning on God in prayer is essential. And because God loves people who have cancer, He will always respond. God’s presence is found in the quietest, simplest moments of prayer. And His presence makes all the difference.
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.