On July 23rd, 2012 Jane and I and our son Patrick sat in the office of my doctor to review the results of my recent biopsy. “You have cancer in the upper right lobe of your right lung.” He told us it was the slow growing kind and it could probably be removed with surgery. The possibility of cancer had been put forward ever since I had heard the results of a chest x-ray in early April.
How does a follower of Jesus Christ, one who has been established in God’s Word by Precept Ministries and whose ministry I serve with, deal with this news? I believe God would have me share the lessons He is teaching me.
Lesson One: Think Biblically! As you know we can let our feelings and emotions govern our behavior unless we choose to think biblically. We take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and look at the circumstance according to God’s Word. This is not denial. It takes discipline and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul tells Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Rather than thinking of all the possible outcomes of my cancer, the scriptures require me to turn my need over to God.
Philippians 4:6-8 has been a favourite passage. Paul directs believers not to worry but to turn all our needs over to God in prayer and to thank Him for looking after the problem. If one does so God promises peace for your heart and mind. Verse 8 instructs us to dwell on that which is true, pure, and worthy of praise.
Lesson Two: Pray the Promises of God. The Scriptures are full of promises of God that over the years I have marked with a big “P” in my Bible. One that has stood out during this season is that God has promised to supply all our needs according to His will (Philippians 4:19).
Lesson Three: Be Open and Transparent. My sister-in-law Jennifer reminded me of the importance of fellowship. My family, my church family, my ministry family have been such an encouragement to me. Their words, prayers, e-mail and cards are such a comfort. These are examples of love in action as we fulfill the instruction to bear one another’s burdens…(Galatians 6:2). I would miss out if I closed myself off from the very ones God has put in my life for this purpose.
Lesson Four: Guard Your Time in God’s Word.
Don’t let the increased demands on your time from doctor’s appointments chip into your time with the Lord. I have been working through the new 40 Minute study “Breaking Free From Fear.” It has been the right study for this period in my life. I’m learning that perfect fear of God, a healthy respect and awe, frees us of all lesser fears! (Hebrews 13:6).
On page 88 Kay says, “To walk in the fear of the Lord is to live as Jesus lived, doing nothing on our own initiative, obeying God’s Words, doing His works…to trust Him, to respect Him, believing that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will.” Fear of God comes from knowing God through His Word, and letting your mind dwell in it so that you are compelled to live by it (Psalm 19:8-11).
In conclusion, even though I am facing surgery for cancer, I am content and comforted much like David in Psalm 3:3-6 as he fled from Absalom. David lay down and slept…for the Lord sustains me (verse 5). Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. Jane and I thank God for praying friends like you. You bring us much joy, comfort, contentment and our Heavenly Father is praised!
Editor’s Note: Tom had surgery on Thursday, August 23. He was released from the hospital on Sunday, August 26 and is recovering at home under the watchful eye of his wife Jane and daughter Elizabeth. Thank you for praying! It is a work of God that he was able to return home so soon following the surgery which removed a portion of one lung.