Lessons on Worship in the Crucible of Cancer

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I was doing well and just starting the deeper research of chapter five of my dissertation.  The chapter was on endurance.  I prayed the Lord would lead me to the best resources for the research.  Not many days later the doctor called to say the results from the breast biopsy tested positive for cancer.  I had had these done before all with negative results so when I got the call I was taken by surprise.  We know nothing is a surprise for God and that His hand was allowing this for me.

My first question after the fog cleared was to ask our dear heavenly Father, “What is in this You want me to learn?”  I got a most curious and surprising one word answer, “worship.”

I am “Miss Independent” and very used to caring for other people; I’m very low maintenance when it comes to needing help from others.  The first person the Lord provided to help me was a good friend, who happens to be a nurse, who declared that she was going with me to all doctor’s appointments and surgeries.  She said it would be important to have another set of knowledgeable ears to listen.  She, at the time, was walking through her own deep valley of trial:  while she was on a road trip a while back, she looked down for a moment and ran a red light, which resulted in a fatality. During my cancer journey, we walked together; she ministered to me as I ministered to her.  I learned that trials are more endurable when walk through it with a friend.

God’s provision is so sweet in the loving hands of another.

Through the process of multiple surgeries my friends would go walking with me because that was the only exercise allowed.  They walked with me outside on the miles of bike trail near my home and inside when the weather was inclement.  We would talk and grow closer in our relationship.

The Lord blesses us with His love through the voices of other believers.

The days I walked on the treadmill I would listen to the Vertical Church Band (do they realize how many songs they have written about heaven?).  What a gift to me from the Lord to get my heart focused on the right things.  It does not matter what happens, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).  I will worship You, Lord.

My treatment included four rounds of chemotherapy, four hours each, three weeks apart.  My favorite sisters went along with me for this journey.  We sat, relaxed, chatted, and knitted.  What a blessed treat from the hand of the Lord: sweet friendships to make a trial a joy.

I did not know I was going to be my own dissertation research on endurance.  As I sought references for my paper, the Lord brought me to an article on Counseling Suffering by John Piper and I shall never forget his words, “The Lord is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”  The world is watching – are we a testimony that the Lord is good and enough, no matter what the trial?

The Lord was with me every step of this journey, teaching me to be less self-sufficient and more dependent upon Him knowing He works all things together for good.

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