What I Learned from Cancer

Cancer.  It's the word that we all fear.  The word that has caused so much hurt and pain in the United States.  I don't think there is one person who has not been touched by cancer.  In my family, we have both survivors and those who have passed away.  Even though we've had many medical advances, every time we hear the word cancer, we always assume the worst.  When we hear the word cancer, our minds go from diagnosis to death in a twinkling of an eye. 

On Friday night I was told that a sister in Christ was diagnosed with cancer.  I was told that she was extremely sick and that she couldn't walk.  My heart grew sad.  I feared the worst and I felt so sorry my my sister.  As I searched for magazines and books to take her (she loves to read), I fought back the tears.  You see, I first met Ms. Mary* at the homeless shelter.  She came to my weekly bible study class.  After she transitioned out of the shelter, she still came back for bible study.  I remember the day she told me that she got an apartment.  I remember the day she was granted Social Security Income for her disability.  I was there when she pulled up in her new car.  God was so good to her, I wanted to see her continue to walk in her blessings.

I have to give you the background of Ms. Mary so you can appreciate where she is now.  Ms. Mary was such a great witness for God.  She has had the same level of love and appreciation for God, as she did when I first met her.  She was always thankful to God for His love.  She was always thankful for salvation.  Week after week, she talked about the goodness of God.  Week after week, she talked about how He saved her, and for that she would be forever grateful.  Ms. Mary didn't care about possessions, she was just thankful for salvation.  Every week, we would all share our trials and triumphs, but Ms. Mary only the triumphs.  She never complained.  She gave true meaning to the scripture, "...in all things give thanks."1 Thess. 5:18  I must admit sometimes I thought to myself, come on Ms. Mary, you have some problems...you have to be down sometimes.  The truth is, I'm sure she did or was, but she never lost sight of God.  She never lost her trust.  She always had joy.  Sometimes she would just get "caught up" in sharing her testimony.

When I saw her on Saturday, she was the same Ms. Mary.  She was still talking about the goodness of God.  She was still singing His praises.  She was still witnessing to everyone in the room.  She still gave Him glory.  She was doing this despite being sick and in pain.  She did this even though she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ms. Mary has been told that there is nothing else the doctors can do for her.  Hospice comes everyday to care for her.  She has the support of family and friends, but the truth is...she's actually providing us with more support.  She teaches us to always give thanks and search for the will of God in our lives.  She teaches us that if God doesn't do anything else for us, dying on the cross for our sins was enough. 

She told me that she knows that God can heal her, but if he doesn't it's all a part of her journey.  It's all a part of her testimony.  In the face of cancer, she continues to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the face of cancer, she shouts "God your love is enough."  In the face of cancer, she lives out the scripture "O Death where is your sting.  O Hades where is your victory." 1 Cor. 15:55

*Name has been changed to protect identity.

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