The Phone Call
"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life."
1 John 5:11-13
Are you confident that you have eternal life in Christ?
Sheri's husband, Rick, had just retired after thirty-seven years as a meteorologist, and they were anticipating being empty nesters and enjoying the golden years. One month later, however, she discovered a lump in her breast. "It was very superficial," she says, "so I wasn't really worried, but I scheduled a mammogram."
Afterward, Sheri received a call to go back to the doctor's office for an ultrasound. "As the tech was doing the ultrasound procedure, she said, 'Oh, I see it. That's a cyst.' I was so relieved to hear those words--until I realized that she wasn't scanning the area where I had seen the lump. It was more of a bump--you could actually see it."
Sheri showed the tech what she felt, even though it hadn't shown up on the mammogram. The tech scanned that specific area and said it didn't look bad, but they'd do a biopsy anyway.
"They did a needle biopsy," Sheri says. "They used nine needles. The first needle bent inside my breast, so getting it out was a frustrating experience." The procedure was finally completed, and Sheri went home to wait for the news.
Just a few days later, she got the phone call from her doctor that no one wants to receive. "I was told I had breast cancer. Cancer--the word that sticks to your tongue and echoes through your bones. One of my friends began weeping. Honestly, she was crying so hard, she was shaking. But from the very beginning," Sheri says, "I had such peace. I knew this kind of peace could only come from God. It was beyond description."
Sheri took her friend's hands, looked her in the eyes, and said, "My future is secure. I know where I'm going, and I'm trusting my God!"
The initial reports said the cancer was small, near the surface, and in only one breast. "So, I had a lumpectomy--no other options were even suggested. The results showed that the lump was larger and deeper than they realized. And even worse news was to be had: The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes."
Sheri had a second surgery a week later because the margins weren't clear. After that surgery, she developed a staph infection. "Ugh!" I was extremely frustrated, yet I felt God's strength in an undeniable way," she says.
"I had chemo for four months, and I followed that with two months of radiation. Though these treatments are necessary and often successful, they also leave one with no strength. I was extremely weak and tired."
But Sheri wasn't the only one hurting. The day after her last radiation treatment, her husband had triple bypass surgery!
"Remember, all this started after he retired," Sheri said. "We thought we'd be coasting down easy street and enjoying a life of relaxation, but instead we were both experiencing crucial health crises."
Six weeks later, Sheri's staph infection returned. She had to have surgery to clean out the infection. "The doctors had to leave the wound open because the radiated tissue wouldn't heal. We had to perform daily wound care for months," she says.
Sheri wore a wound vacuum for one month and spent two months going to daily hyperbaric chamber treatments. "But every single step of the way, I saw God's fingerprints," she says. "We have walked the cancer road with many people since then. Some have recovered. Some have passed on to eternity. But through it all, our God has been faithful."
Sheri sometimes wonders what would have happened if the Holy Spirit had not prompted her to speak up to the technician who was looking at a cyst instead of the actual cancer bump. "Things could have turned out much differently," she says. But her confidence in God remained strong and grew even stronger through the entire ordeal. "And because of this experience--as awful as it was--others now know about our God confidence," she says
Lord, thank You for eternal life. Help me to be confident in this promise You have made to all who have placed their trust in You. Amen.