Cancer: Three Intertwined Stories of Faith

After this last week, I really feel like I want to align and certainly say a phrase, even with the bad word (the really, really, really bad word, according to my 5th grade son).  I’m sure you’ve seen the slogan on a shirt or bumper “F*!# Cancer.”  I’ll refrain from actually saying it, but it does resonate.

For about a year, my Dad has been battling liver cancer that has spread to a several locations.  My Mom has been the sole caretaker and it’s wearing her out.  Last week she called to tell me that my Dad hasn’t been eating well and she said “Cancer won’t kill him, starvation will.” 

Mid-week my husband, who hasn’t been to the doctor since 1987 asked me how to make a doctor’s appointment.  He found a good-sized spot growing on his cheek underneath his wooly beard.  Alarm bells were going off that there’s actually something going on that could make my husband want to schedule a physical.

By the end of the week I found out that my younger brother, who beat Stage 4 lymphoma in 2013, is back in monthly treatments.

My Dad, my husband, my brother…the three earthly men who have influenced my life the most…all facing differing stages of a cancer walk.  

It’s enough to make a girl say a bad word about cancer.  

And yet, I find myself repeatedly turning to God in prayer about each of the situations.  I remember that in 2013, I felt like I prayed more fervently and faithfully about my brother’s cancer than I had ever prayed about anything.  I find myself back in that space of constant prayer over cancer. 

How can I be so confident in prayer?  I have faith in God.  But it’s more than that….it’s all about God’s faithfulness to His promises that we should hold onto.  We see this in Abraham, in his aging years through a couple of verses in Romans.  

In Romans 4:19-22 (NASB) “Without becoming weak in faith, he contemplated his own body, not as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore, it was also credited to him as righteousness.” 

When we break that down, it’s much easier to consider God’s faithfulness in our circumstances.

Verse 19: We don’t need to consider and/or dwell on our own circumstances.  That takes our mind off of Jesus when we become burdened with constant worry over our situation.  

Verse 20: We shouldn’t waver in knowing that God’s promises will be delivered. The wavering is actually illustrating unbelief, which negates the knowledge that promises will be fulfilled.  In this verse we see that Abraham grows stronger.  He’s strength becomes more robust by each passing moment, as will ours when we pray and trust.  

Verse 21: This verse speaks to the fact that God is able.  Not just willing…able.  When we shift focus to God’s ability, we won’t become discouraged by our own inability. 

Verse 22: For Abraham, he is right before God because of his trust in God’s ability.  It’s the act of faith that makes Abraham righteous. 

Whether you are facing the trifecta of cancer, or any other number of trials, know that we are strong in faith when we trust God.  Trust that God has the ability to fulfill the promises He has made.  

And keep praying…

~Emily

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