Monday, July 9, 2012

Cancer and Faith

This is an updated and revised post.

Editor’s Note: This links with my article at the Cancer site - .  The article name is Cancer – Branding, Coping and Faith.

As I said in my article on the cancer site page, I am a born-again Christian, and have been since I was nine years old.  I was raised Protestant in a Presbyterian church.  My mother was a musician there and I enjoyed most all of it during my youth. I grew weary of the “religious” part of it in my teen and young adult years,but my faith in God was real, and it has carried me through the cancer I had, many life crisis situations, emotional breakdowns, death, divorce and much loss.

I wanted to write about my faith because so many people when they become very sick get “fixated” on the healthcare system and their doctors as the cure-all, and when that doesn’t happen, they become jaded and if they had any faith at all, it gets thrown away. Trust me, I’ve been tested myself with this issue.  It is a real issue when you have, or have had, a life-threatening illness, or someone you love has. And, it is not wrong at all to question it. It's a very human worry to think about death, and a valid reality to question faith. 
The simple truth is, is that you can't have hope without having faith. Faith is where hope comes from.  Otherwise it's just wishful thinking.  You can wish all day for a new car but until you earn the money to buy it, or if someone gives you one (I've given away two), it's just not going to happen. When you are in trouble, you need a solid foundation. 
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." ~ Hebrews 11:1
It's interesting that the word substance is used there. (Webster's: matter, or essence) 
Hebrews 11 is what's known as "the faith chapter" to those who believe. Verse after verse tells of those who have gone before us, who experienced horrible and unimaginable trials, but their faith anchored them to the last. 
You see, no one leaves this world alive. Jesus promises eternal life after we die. I want that life. (John 3;16)
I now know from experience that we are all in the same boat, and when it comes down to it, a few people may try to help me, but none can save me at the last. But Jesus promises he will. 
These are his words:
"I am the resurrection, and the life; that one (you) who believes in me though that one (you) were dead, yet shall that one (you) live. And that one (you) who lives and believes in me shall never die."~ John 11:25,26
The one who has faith in the redemption of the work of Jesus Christ, death is nothing but a shadow, and your last breath here is your first breath there, in a body that cannot die. We will be ourselves but the curse of death will be gone. 
"For when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass  the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory." ~ I Corinthians 15:54
The name of Jesus is powerful all by itself. 
I realize his name is not popular right now. But frankly, I don't follow the systems of this world and age. They do not love me, nor do they control my destiny - God does.
If you have no time left and don't understand any of this, he promised if you just call on his name,  you will be delivered. Joel 2:32 - (this chapter alone describes the times we are living in; Joel is a prophetic book written in the Old Testament regarding today.)
The scripture below is comforting. These are the recorded words of Jesus:
"Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. 
In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and receive you unto myself; so that where I am YOU may be ALSO." ~ John 14:1-3 
The scripture below will comfort you if you wonder why you're even here. You may have been let down by people, even your parents, and betrayed by friends; but God loves you, and knows you better than you do. 
You will feel loved and validated after reading it. 
Psalm 139 the whole thing is so beautiful…this is only a part: 

"Lord, you have searched me and known me, you know my sitting down and my rising up, and are acquainted with all my ways. 

There is not a word in my mouth that you do not know…
v7)Where can I go to hide from you? 
If I ascend into Heaven, you are there; 
if I make my bed in hell, you are there (in other words, God encompasses everything), 
v.11)darkness and light are both alike unto you.

v.13-14 You possessed my reins, you covered me in my mother's womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
15) My substance was not hid fromyou…
16) Your eyes did see me, although being imperfect, and in your book, all my members are written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet, there was none of them.  
Psalms 139 reminds me of an architect’s blueprints.

In other words, God knew you before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb.  Don’t try to figure that out, just believe it.  God is Love.  Jesus is God’s Son, the one slain for you and me.  It was a great Exchange of our brokenness for his wholeness, and there is an invitation given, and at age 9, with child-like faith, I just said yes.
There’s plenty of room for your RSVP! Love Himself is knocking on your heart's door. Just let love in....
Then the crescendo- it can't get any better than this...
"And God shall wipeaway all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there any more pain; for the former things are passed away…Behold, I (Jesus) make all things new….I am Alpha and Omega,the beginning and the end, I will give unto him/her that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:4
Time is the only thing we’ve lost.  We will get that back one day.  Love will ALWAYS exist.  So get your faith on!
Lisa Bonchek Adams
In Memorium - March 6, 2015

Six months after myself, Anne Marie, and Lisa wrote our separate blogs, (which this blog is a continuation of my cancer article, link above), Lisa Bonchek Adams was diagnosed as metastatic. She continued to blog, and tweeted about her experience until she died. Some people, even the media, thought it was inappropriate, but she was no-nonsense, and ignored her critics. I will always respect her quest for truth in science and medicine. 
Her family has left both her blog and tweet feed up for anyone who wants to, to read them. 
Her memorial video is there, as well as very touching photos. She leaves behind a husband and her three children.