How could this be happening to me? Hadn’t I been through enough? My day started on December 18, 2015 with excitement waiting for the return of my daughter from a missions trip until I heard the words, “I’m sorry to tell you but you have breast cancer.” Wait, did I just hear that correctly? Cancer?! Triple negative, grade 3 tumor, fast growing breast cancer. How could it get any worse? Are you kidding me? Just a couple of months before that my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. And just a few months before that my 26 year marriage ended. With all that had already happened I had to gather my seven children around me and tell them their mom had breast cancer. Where is my hope?
No partner, no health insurance, no plan whatsoever. Things were dark. I went through that Christmas with the attitude that I wasn’t going to make it to see the next Christmas. It was scary for all of us. During the holidays I watched a video with some experts talking about cancer and how to survive it. One of the doctors shared that attitude had a lot to do with it; cancer patients with an attitude of hope, joy, and thankfulness were the ones who survived. Something in my brain flipped a switch. I had a choice about how I handled this. I choose joy, and gratitude. Where the enemy wanted to kill and destroy, the spirit within me shouted, “This is not how I’m going down. I’m not afraid to meet my maker, it’s just not my time yet.” I set out on a journey with my new friends, Joy and Gratefulness, to figure out how I was going to survive this.
Part of finding joy in this journey meant reaching out for help. For years and years I had been the person serving everyone else and now I was the one in need. It was hard to switch gears but I felt like it was a lesson in learning how to receive. I contacted church leaders, friends, and neighbors who gathered around me. Not only did I receive an abundance of prayer but also abundance in the area of finances. I was able to get insurance and have the surgery to remove the lump and get the proper treatment that I needed. Every medical need was provided for me through several different sources of gifts.
During this time my faith was tested for sure. I knew His name is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals. If that’s who He is then that’s who HE is! Period. How can He NOT heal? Do I even need to ask if I know that’s who You are and what You do? I asked but I sensed healing was already mine. Even so, doubt and fear crept in. After several months of treatment I questioned the Lord and asked Him, “How will I know when I’m really healed?” The very next day all financial sources came to a halt. All of them, one by one emailed or called me to let me know they were ending for various reasons. I didn’t understand why this was happening. As a matter fact, I took offense in my heart and I thought God didn’t love me because He was not going to provide my medical treatment anymore. I had a major pity party that entire weekend.
That following Monday I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment. When I got there I asked him what they do if the patients run out of money for treatment. He smiled and said sometimes God answers your prayers through provision or lack of. At that moment it hit me, God HAD answered my question. Three days earlier I had asked him how I would know if I was healed. He gave me my answer by drying up the funds that I didn’t need anymore. I had exactly enough money, almost to the penny, to pay for that last doctor’s appointment. He had shown Himself to me as Jehovah Rapha the healer, Jehovah Jireh the provider.
It’s now three years later and I am totally cancer free and healed. I can look back and thank Him for cancer. That sounds a little strange but I’m grateful for cancer and all He taught me during that dark time. Not that God gives us diseases, but he allowed me to go through that dark night so that I could see another facet of my God and King. I am so grateful for all He’s done for me. I couldn’t have gone on this journey without the hope that He has given me.
Is there an area in your life where you need hope? There are over 120 times where HOPE is used in the Bible. Here’s just a few. I invite you to do a word search and look some up for yourself. Read them, sing them, write them, recite them, hang them on your walls, anything to let them sink into your heart and mind. He is the God of HOPE.
Acts 2:26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Psalm 119:116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.