Thank you for joining me on this special post. Today, we are going to take a break from our study of Galatians and I want to share a personal story with you as well give encouragement to those that are suffering and afflicted.
On August 16, I started feeling pain in my groin area. Thirty-six hours later, I experienced an excruciatingly sharp pain accompanied by a burning sensation. This pain and feeling I was not used to and it was not going away. On August 18th, I was rushed to the ER experiencing various amounts of pain and feelings and sensations. I was told to go to the ER for one thing, but by the end of the night, my life would be forever changed.
When all of this started, I thought maybe it was a hernia or a really bad infection. But in a matter of three days, I was in shock with what came back. During my time in the ER, they took various scans and ultrasounds, and it came back with the news I was not prepared for and none of us want to hear. They found a mass. I was in shock. The thought of cancer had come across my mind in the previous days, but never thought it would come true. Now, here I was fighting an enemy I was not ready for or prepared for.
As many of you have found during this season of COVID, getting an appointment with a doctor can be grueling and extremely difficult. Due to all the pain I was in, I tried to get into a PCP doctor but they are not seeing anyone in person and only do telehealth. But even so, there was a long period just to see an actual doctor, so I decided to go to an urgent care clinic. After being discharged from the ER, I was told to talk to a specialist within the next 1-2 days. As I called the practice, the first available date I was given was 2 weeks out. That is two weeks I did not have. After pleading with the office, I was able to get an appointment later that day with a different doctor.
The doctor came in and confirmed the mass and said due to the location, it is presumed to be cancerous. The first course of action is to take it out immediately. But then said, the operation could not occur for another 5 days. I explained my pain and discomfort and fears but was met with due to the COVID time, I have to get tested first and those results take a while. After about 10 minutes, the doctor came back in and said there is a possibility to do the surgery in two days if I can get tested tomorrow. Later that day, it was confirmed that if I get tested on Thursday, I can have the operation on Friday if I was confirmed to not have COVID. God moved another mountain to make this happen sooner.
I know many of you have had the same frustrations of trying to see doctors and specialists during this time and are met with no’s and more stress. In the midst of pain and the anxiety of what is happening with our bodies, it is difficult to try and be our own advocate to try to get in and see these doctors and practices. I understand they have their own processes and schedules and stresses themselves. It is just a terrible time. On the patient side, as I am fearing for my life and dealing with the hated ‘C’ word of cancer, to try and get an appointment and be met with one obstacle after another is hard. I just broke down and started crying because here I am trying to fight for my life and no one cared. No one was helping. But God intervened. I know not everyone has experienced the doors opening at doctors’ offices as I have. I empathize with you so much. Just having a glimpse of that pain and suffering and fear of not getting to see a doctor when I need to, I cannot imagine what it is like to have to wait that much longer in dealing with the pain and the unknown.
After being told I have cancer at 41, I have been in shock. Words are not coming to me. Questions to ask are not coming. I am struggling to process this. I am met with the spiritual warfare side of maybe never seeing my kids grow up. Those thoughts come frequently. My wife is in shock and neither of us was prepared to fight this battle. I have struggled to comprehend this. The anxiety and worry and fear have been overwhelming, to say the least. It did not help that all week, neither of us was able to sleep. We were way past running on fumes.
On Thursday, I decided to let friends and family know about this journey I am on. As the physical pain mounted, the emotional pain continued to pick up, the spiritual warfare continued to increase as well. Having loved ones pray for me and pray over me has been such a blessing. People have asked I am and what I am feeling and it is truly hard to speak. Many of you have also gone from seemingly healthy to battling cancer or other diseases and dealing with that outlook. When everything around us is taking the time and it seems like one hurdle after another, we are confronted with the thoughts of how we don’t have the time to spare.
It is amazing to hear from those who have reached out to me. The peace that God brings from those prayers as they pray for me or with me. Or as they read Scripture to me, the comfort it brings to hear the word of God. Leading up to my surgery, there were a few moments of peace. It seemed like the storm surround me was getting darker and heavier and stronger. The storm was growing, the rain was coming down, the tides were rising, the boat was shaking, and it seemed like this was the end. There was no recovery from this.
On Friday, as I was in a mandated fast, there was peace. A friend reminded me of a story about Corrie ten Boom and a train ticket. The story goes that Corrie was frightened and scared and she relayed this to her father. Her dad asked her when riding the train to Amsterdam, when do they get the ticket. She said, right before they get on the train. The point is that God will give us grace for that moment and at that time. Right before my surgery to remove this cancerous tumor, did I finally have and experience the peace and grace of God. All week long was filled with the dread of the unknown and fear and worry.
The surgery was pretty rough and the recovery has been difficult. I know many of you have had to deal with rough surgeries as well and much worse than I have known. Maybe it is the fact that one thing is done that has helped put my mind at ease some, but that seems to take credit away from what God has done in me with feeling peace. I am still met with thoughts and attacks of never being able to see my kids grow up or be there for my wife. But, God is helping me push past those attacks.
As I was going through this life-changing week, His Word has been soothing to my soul. I know there are many resources out there for you to look at for a list of healing verses or verses on suffering/affliction or verses on peace. What I want to do is share some of the verses and passages about these topics that have helped me. As I read through a lot of Scripture, I was reminded of God’s truth and I had to cling to His truth in the midst of attacks and the pain and the fear and the anxiety. As I surrender this time to God, I trust in His sustaining me and my family through this. I don’t know how or in what way, but I am trusting in the Healer and Provider.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but let these words from God’s Word speak to you. Be open to God and what He is saying to you. Let these words dwell over you and feel His abiding presence. These are some of the passages that helped me, and I know many of you have additional ones that help you or are special to you. Cling to the truth of God. Cling to what He is saying. Hold on to Him and remember He is our Refuge, our Stronghold, and our Deliverer.
So no matter what you are going through right now, whether it is cancer or disease, physical pain, mental hardships, spiritual attacks, depression, death of a loved one, an unexpected death, a horrible accident, tragedy, loss of a job and money, or whatever other trial and tribulation you are going through, know that God loves you and He is there for you. I can’t promise you healing or relief, but know that God has hear your cries for help and He has not left you. You matter to Him.
All verses are from the ESV:
The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus….19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:5b-7, 19)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us…. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose… 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:18,22-28, 31-39)
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:23-26)
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, (Psalm 103:2-4)
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. (Psalm 41:3)
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:13-16)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:2-5)
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long? (Psalm 6:2-3)
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (proverbs 3:5-8)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-29)
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:7-11)
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:19-25)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him (Psalm 28:7)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
At the end of the day, cling to God’s truth. Abide in Him. Pray to Him regularly and continuously. Trust in Him. Surrender this time to Him. Surrender the pain and suffering and hardships. He will sustain you.