When Someone We Love Has Cancer
Years ago, my mother made plans to visit. The week before she was due to arrive, she phoned to say she wasn’t able to make the trip. She was experiencing a lot of physical pain, likely from arthritis.
Two weeks later, the phone rang.
Mom had cancer. Doctors gave her only a few short months to live. As the seriousness of her illness sunk in, I grappled with the thought of losing one of my most very favorite people.
Today, as I wrote this column, I received a text from a dear friend. “The doctor called me this morning. I have uterine cancer.” Tears sprung to my eyes.
How do we hold on to our faith when someone we care about has cancer? When our parent, spouse, child or friend only has months to live, our faith takes a beating. We might wonder if God is willing to heal our loved one. Or if He’s able to sustain us as we watch their illness progress.
When doubt messes with our faith, do we cry out to God (like the dad with his sick child in Mark 9:24, ESV), “I believe; help my unbelief!”? Or perhaps we respond more like, “Lord, help me be okay, even when it isn’t okay.”
It’s interesting how our faith evolves. Some days we move confidently through life. Then we face a trial and wonder if God will intervene. Eventually, things calm down and our trust returns. Another trial – a more serious one – comes along, and we run to God seeking reassurance once more.
Thankfully, our heavenly Father understands. He’d rather we come to Him with our questions and fears instead of pretending we’re okay.
Sometimes we can’t figure out God when life isn’t okay. We wonder if He’ll show up. However, Isaiah 64:4 (AMPC) says that when we earnestly wait for Him, He (God!) shows us that He has been active on our behalf all along.
Sometimes God strengthens our faith through the very loved ones who are suffering.
To those who remain strong in your faith while living with cancer, I appreciate every time you allow God to use you to teach us that life is worth living, even in the midst of pain and uncertainty.
When you speak, we listen. You teach us what it means to believe that God is in control. He’s sovereign. Powerful. And yes, good.
You seem to experience a presence of God in your heart (and life) that we yearn for. We see it in your eyes that God is near. And that He loves you. So much so that we can believe that He is, indeed, near and loves us too.
Because of your example, it’s easier for us to be okay, even when life isn’t okay.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
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Some very good points Sheryl. And if your like me, our faith also vacillates. I can be strong and then like Peter look away, even if only briefly, it’s enough to get me off kilter. But faithful friends have a way of pointing me back.
Indeed. I praise God for friends (including you) who encourage me in my faith. Thank you, Barbara, for being that kind of friend. In fact, I thought about you when I wrote this devotion. (Also, thank you for sharing this on your FB page.)
A wonderful article I certainly could relate to that
Thank you for your compliment, Melanie. It means so much to me that you took the time to stop by my blog and leave a comment.
Sheryl Thank you for sharing I needed these scripture references for our journey at this time.
I love you, Vicki. I’m glad you found help in my devotion. It’s always a humbling feeling when God does that.
I continue to pray for you both, dear friend.
This hits home with me. Right now, my mother is doing at home hospice. This is the 6th and final time that she will ever have cancer again., with the first time being diagnosed 25 years ago. As you can imagine this has been very hard on me. I am just drained mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am doing my best to hold it together, well, at least in front of her. I have shed many tears already and there will be more tears shed when she passes. I guess it was 3 or 4 nights ago my Mom was brought home by ambulance from the hospital. We have had very little help from the hospice staff and hopefully that will change this next week. We are so tired from trying to take care of her and ourselves. We have had a lot of company coming in and out of the house, we need showers, and some time to decompress. I finally really gave it all to God. I prayed and I ugly cried. I must have prayed for 3-5 minutes. When I finished praying, I felt a peacefulness that just came over me. I actually felt the hairs on my arms standing up and I felt like my skin felt tingly or prickly. I felt so calm and relaxed and I never experienced that before. Something told me that I was being comforted by an angel that was watching over me. I thanked God for the advancements in technology because it gave me 25 more years with my mother. My mindset shifted and I started to think about all of the happy memories that i have of my Mom and Ias breathless as she is I have got to spend some time with her and we have been able to visit with each other and Ifeel better knowing that she says that she is ready. Just the other day my Mom just finished reading the bible all the way to the end. My Mom has the strongest faith that I have ever seen. I am so proud of her and i am so blessed to have such a wonderful Mom and family.
Wow! Thank you for your poignant post, Julie. I’m so sorry for your long, painful journey – which God has met you with His amazing grace and presence!!
I realize your journey isn’t over as you go through the process of grieving your mom once she passes from this life. Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing.
God bless you, Julie.
Talk about timely sharing. I just got news that my best friend whom I love so very much has leukemia. I pray for a miraculous healing, but your words resonate with me: “Sometimes God strengthens our faith through the very loved ones who are suffering.” God bless you, Sheryl.
I’m SO sorry to hear about your friend, Carlos. I will pause right now to pray for him – and for you.