He was, and is, and always will be the God who restores your health and heals your wounds (Jeremiah 30:17).
Right now, the darkness of cancer may be closing in. Hope may seem beyond your reach. But with God in the center, this devastating diagnosis can become a precious blessing that will transform your life forever. The book you hold in your hands is a personal testimony of God's amazing grace, how it carried me through breast cancer, and how it can carry you. I pray each devotion will speak the promises of God into your heart and meet you exactly at your point of need. I pray you will see with your eyes, hear with your ears, understand with your heart, and turn to Him for healing. May the love of Christ fill your heart. May His perfect peace bring comfort to your soul. And may your Father in heaven give you grace for each hour of the journey.
Through the Valley
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.--Proverbs 3:58
The words of the surgeon are forever etched in my mind.
"Your biopsy results are back and you have an invasive breast cancer...." I was too stunned to scream or cry or ask why me. Besides, my journey had already begun several weeks earlier. A scheduling miscue had made it possible for me to make a first-time appointment with a reputable area doctor even though she was booked a year out and not accepting new patients. During her routine exam, she found a mildly suspicious area on my left breast. My mammogram showed nothing, but just to be sure, she ordered more tests.
During the agonizing time between tests, I read every scientific article and book on breast cancer I could get my hands on, as if my knowledge and understanding would somehow allow me to control the situation. But as my knowledge increased, so did my fear. Fear soon turned to panic until finally on the day before that fateful phone call, I fell to my knees and cried out to God in total desperation. I felt a supernatural peace come over me I had never felt before. I knew at that moment God was in the middle of this cancer. He was in control, whatever the outcome.
As I think back to that day, I remember how the words I had memorized as a child in Sunday school played over and over in my mind. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4 KJV). I clung to those words. I'm not alone. He has not abandoned me. I have nothing to fear. He will comfort me through this valley.
I never believed the Lord gave me breast cancer. But I knew He planned to use it somehow for His purposes. He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). So I made a decision that day to walk through the valley with God and trust the words I had memorized as a child. He had already led me to right doctors, cleared their schedules, and guided them into making a diagnosis that easily could have been missed. I would continue to trust Him to direct my path.
What path will you take through the valley of cancer? You can push God away. You can try to research your way out and put all your hope in scientific knowledge. Or you can choose the path of trust and follow Him. There's more power in God than in all the world's wisdom. So don't depend on your own understanding and stumble through the valley on your own. Let Him direct your path. He'll lead the way to renewed health and vitality! That's a promise.
He Goes FirstO Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.... You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.--Psalm 139:15, 16
It took at least a week before it all sank in. Cancer. The word
itself was surreal. Surely there was some huge mistake. Cancer happened to other people. Besides, I had healthy relatives with long life-spans and no breast cancer history. During the whirlwind week that followed my initial diagnosis, I walked around in a daze from doctor appointment to doctor appointment and one test to another. As I sifted through a mountain of information trying to make sense of my treatment options, I felt completely detached from the circumstances around meas if someone else was going through the motions, not me. I've heard what being in shock is like, and I'm fairly sure I was in shock.
While cancer may have stunned me, it did not catch God by surprise. He promised to always precede me in every situation. He laid out every moment of my life and charted every path ahead of me before a single day had passed. He knows every thought before I think it and every word before I say it. He not only went before me into my battle against cancer, He went beside me and behind me. When the fog lifted around me, I could see His perfect plan unfold in every situation I encountered. He provided resources to guide every decision from doctors and drugs to hats and wig suppliers. He gave me shoulders to lean on, ears willing to listen, and hearts to pray for my every need. He protected me and comforted me through each phase of treatment (Psalm 91; 139:712).
As you prepare to fight your battle today, remember this: Jesus Christ went before you and He has a battle plan. He knows every fear, every question, and every doubt that will rise up within you before you do. He went ahead of you to scout the territory. He has already cleared a pathway through the rough and rocky terrain that lies ahead. He will give you everything you need to get through it at precisely the time you need it most. You can march on with bold confidence. He has you covered from all directions.
A Great CalmAs evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake." He was already in the boat, so they started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don't you even care that we are going to drown?" When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, "Quiet down!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. And he asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?"--Mark 4:3540
When Jesus warned us we would have troubles in this
world, He wasn't kidding. In a little over a year's time, a tree fell through my living room, my husband lost his job, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As the latest storm swirled around me, I couldn't help wondering when the Lord was finally going to take notice. Don't you care that my nodes are positive and the cancer could be spreading? Don't you care that they may have to remove my breast? Don't you care that I have children and a husband who need me? Don't you care that I have meetings to lead and parties to plan and I don't have time to be sick? Don't you care that I'm the only mom at this graduation ceremony wearing a wig? Don't you care that I'm about to drown?
When the disciples asked this question Jesus immediately calmed the storm and questioned their faith. We have two options when storms come and Jesus doesn't seem to hear our cries for help. Like the disciples, we can panic and assume He doesn't care. When we choose to worry, we are really saying God doesn't have the power to handle our problems and we can do it better ourselves. Before long, our boats are full of water and we're fighting for our lives.
But there's another option when panic sets in and there is nowhere else to turn. We can confess our total dependence on God. An amazing thing happens when we finally let go and trust God with our problems. We receive His peace, a gift far more wonderful than the human mind can understand (Philippians 4:7). God's peace comes from our knowing that He is in complete and total control and our future in Him is secure. His perfect peace guards our hearts against all anxiety.
Never underestimate God's power and His love for you. He's always paying attention and He knows all the violent and unexpected storms this cancer will bring. Sometimes during your journey, He will calm the fierce relentless wind swirling around you. He may send a friend with a meal or a playmate for your child on a day you simply can't get out of bed. Other times, He'll calm the silent storm raging inside your heart. Either way, there will be a great calm ... regardless of the weather forecast.
Grace For Each Hour by Mary J. Nelson
Copyright © 2005; ISBN 0764200240
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.