The year 1985 I faced the biggest battle of my life. A lump the surgeon promised was benign was not. He blurted the words out like he didn’t want them to be true. “Bad news cancer.” I was a young mom. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
The year 1990 pronounced that ugly word over me for the second time. My worst nightmare became a reality. In fact, it was five years to the very day, November 5, 1985 and November 5, 1990, both surgeries took place. I don’t know if there’s any significance to that other than it gives me a date for double celebration. God healed me twice on the same day five years apart.
Cancer challenged my faith. Even my Dad voiced what I was feeling, “Karen doesn’t deserve this.” After all, I was a third-generation believer who had grown up under Biblical teachings. My mom sang over me, quoted scriptures, and constantly turned my eyes toward Jesus. I had given my life to Him and somehow believed all of that made me immune to tragedy.
Yet none of us is immune to suffering. The Bible tells suffering is common to us all. It’s the promises of God that hold us together during these times.
Don’t be bewildered when you suffer as though something strange were happening to you. Instead, rejoice for if you share in the sufferings of Christ so you will share in the revelation of His glory and celebrate with even greater gladness. I Peter 4:12
Today is November 5, 2020. And as I look back over the years I am reminded of these lyrics from a song I love: “Never once did I ever walk alone. Never once did You leave me on my own. I was carried by Your constant grace…God You are faithful!” God’s grace was a powerful force that launched me out and brought me through.
When you PASS THROUGH the waters, I will be with you; when you PASS THROUGH the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you WALK THROUGH the fire, you will not be burned. Psalm 46:1
I wasn’t always aware but He was with me every step of the way. Flanked on all sides by a loving husband, caring family and supportive friends, I waded through the depths of despair. One step at a time. With Him by my side. He never left me alone and gave me treasures in the darkness. Cancer gave me a new perspective on living. It made e thankful for every moment I was alive and every birthday He gave me. It changed my thinking and has been a springboard for ministering to other women.
There were difficult days, of course. But when I couldn’t pray, others supported me. When I struggled, my burden bearers carried me. God’s Word became my strong foundation. His promises my anchor. God gave me hope that came in many forms.
- A stranger who had been cancer free for twenty years.
- A neighbor who sobbed on my shoulder.
- Friends who sat by my side.
- A deacon who worked nights praying for me while I was sleeping.
- A stylist coming to my home to fix my hair.
- A sister who never stopped quoting, “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”
Prayer chains across the country added my name to their lists. There were phone calls, notes of encouragement, flowers and meals that shouted love and concern for me and my family. I truly was surrounded!
My God turns my darkness into light. With Your help I can advance against a troop and with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:29
I don’t know what you might be going through today, but you can be sure God won’t leave your side no matter what it is.
Look back on what God has done in the past so you can move forward remembering who He is and what He promises. Things may look utterly impossible right now. Maybe the odds are stacked against you. But for all the unknowns and impossibilities, there is one thing you can be sure of. Never once will you ever walk alone. Never once will He leave you on your own. I’ve been living proof of that for a long time. There is life after cancer. Thirty years of living is one big reason to celebrate!
He restored me to health and let me live. Isaiah 31:16