CANCER, THE TEACHING TOOL

Last week, the surgeon removed the cancer from my left breast. The process, called a lumpectomy, is an out patient procedure. Three days after surgery I dropped the pain killer and felt good. Now it is waiting time for lab results of the lymph nodes and breast tissue.

One important thing I now understand is that being a “health nut” is not going to assure me of health all my life. God has the final say.

I have been disciplined about my spirit, soul and body for years, I tried to eat like the Bible recommends. “He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock . . .” (Psalm 81:16)

I exercised by jogging, aerobics, biking; I did my best to know God, to “listen” to Scripture and obey the Lord.

Still, I got breast cancer.

I believe that “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Proverbs 30:5) Doing it over, I would live the same way believing that God will encompass my spirit, soul and body.

So what has happened? I now know that God still has the final word about me: how long I live and how healthy I can be. By his Providence he decides how much success I have in the eyes of people. But I believe I decide whether I will walk by faith, whether I will believe Him, whether I trust in Scripture, whether circumstances “look good” or “look bad”. He loves me. I know it. I don’t always feel the euphoria of that truth, but I know it is true.

I’m kind of numb in the emotional side of things, with the shock of getting cancer.

Last night, lying on the couch I began to feel negative. I realized I was slowly feeling a distance from the things I’ve loved to do. Then an idea came clear: “If there is something important to learn in this, I don’t want to miss it.”

What do I think in the middle of cancer? What am I learning? There are still possibilities: Maybe I’m being chastened by God: “For whom the Lord loves He chastens . . .” (Hebrews 12:6).

God seems to allow deep and horrendous trials. Consider Job: Job was a sinner like you and me, but God affirmed his integrity, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)

How will I discern what God is saying to me? I will look to the relationship I have with the God of the Universe who tells me He loves me. I can believe in Him, I can believe that my relationship with Him is alive and interactive and happening now. I can choose to have faith in His goodness and love and mercy. I can go to Him in prayer. I can obey. I can look for His messages through Scripture, through impressions in my head and heart, through the amazing interactive “feelings” I have with Him in prayer. I can accept the words of other believers and family who love me and speak good words, those who are out to encourage me.

As I listen, perhaps God will give me lessons through cancer to live by, good lessons to pass along to my children: our sons, daughters in law and grandchildren. There has to be something important to learn. After all, life is about God and us.

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