As Streams Renew the Desert: A Journey through Breast Cancer
- Monday, April 23, 2007
A Harvest of Blessing
In 2 Corinthians 1:4, Paul reminds us that God comforts us in our trouble so we can comfort others. As I reached the other side of breast cancer, the Lord placed a burden on my heart to be a blessing. I was eager to share what He had done for me, and what He can do for anyone facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
I started by sharing His Word. For many women, breast cancer can be the spark that ignites her desire to grow spiritually. As I prayed for and mentored women with breast cancer, I soon found myself writing devotional messages to comfort and encourage them with God’s promises.
Eventually, as a five-year survivor, I wrote Grace for Each Hour (Bethany House, 2005), a daily devotional for women traveling through the breast cancer journey from the time cancer is suspected, through the diagnosis and treatment, and then living on the other side of cancer as a survivor. The short devotional readings share the hope of the Gospel and speak the Word of God into the typical emotions and fears a woman experiences, helping her grow, not just cope during this difficult time.
I also wanted cancer sufferers to experience the amazing power of healing prayer. When gifted intercessors in my church laid hands on me early in my cancer, their prayers spoke directly into the deepest unspoken fears in my heart. I stood in His very presence, soaking in His unfailing love.
While many churches don’t offer this type of prayer ministry, its powerful effect should not be surprising. In James 5:14-15, the sick are instructed to call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. We were created to communicate with God through prayer. When we are suffering and our heart is breaking, our inward spirit longs for Him. Prayer is the only way to come into His presence and feel His healing touch.
I was so blessed by the experience that, with the help of our prayer pastor, I started Pray for the Cure, a prayer ministry specifically for people struggling with cancer. Each month, they share their hopes and fears with other cancer sufferers, listen to personal testimonies from cancer survivors, are comforted by God’s Word through a devotional message, and receive love, healing prayer, and anointing in a confidential setting.
The Greatest Challenge
People often ask about the unique challenges women face when suffering from breast cancer. Dealing with hair loss is certainly the most traumatic side effect she encounters through the cancer journey. But the greatest faith challenge is staying focused on God and His Word in the midst of the steady onslaught of information — information that instills fear and doubt throughout treatment and living life as a cancer survivor — information that seems to change everyday. Through the media and well-meaning friends, she will likely hear the latest survival statistics, new drugs, and new treatments; treatments she didn’t receive. News about someone suffering a recurrence or passing away can send a woman into a downward spiral of despair.
Her peace is found in staying focused on God and keeping Him in the center of her life — because in the midst of everything that changes around her, His Word never changes. When she clings to Him, her greatest challenge becomes a powerful testimony to the Gospel. People notice something different about her. When they see His light shining through her, they are drawn to the very heart of Christ.
A Promise of Hope
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