My friends Sandy and Ron Good are a fabulous example of “beating” cancer. Sandy was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in June 2008 and Ron has been her biggest cheerleader (and laughter “therapist”) along the journey.
“Losing my hair was extremely difficult,” Sandy recalls. “I knew it would come out and I thought I was prepared, but nothing prepares a lady to stare at her bald head. But I decided to look at the positive: showering was soooo easy. I didn’t have to shampoo hair or shave my legs or under my arms.
“My husband said I was so fast in the shower that one day I would meet myself coming and going!”
Ron likes to explain that he was “Good” before he met Sandy, but she wasn’t “Good” until she married him.
I love Ron’s quirky sense of humor and I especially love the fact Sandy bakes wonderful goodies for our support group. (One day she emailed me to say she had a whole Bundt cake, four dozen cookies and a pan of brownies for the next day’s meeting!)
And what I love most of all about this really Good couple is how they have refused to give in to cancer and instead are beating it with supernatural strength from God.
Would you be surprised if I told you Sandy’s cancer is not considered medically curable and doctors have told her to expect it will take her life?
Perhaps you’re wondering how she could “beat” cancer if she still has it in her body. Beating cancer is definitely about fighting this unseen enemy in an attempt to be cured, and I would urge you to do that with every breath in your body. But I also would urge you to enlarge your view of what it means to beat cancer–or any other disease.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, many well-meaning friends told me, “You can beat this!” I know those words were supposed to encourage me, but they didn’t. Instead, I thought, Great! Now if I don’t live, it’s my fault I didn’t beat this because you said I could!
I felt such pressure to “do everything right” to make sure I beat cancer. I researched vitamins and herbs and natural healing techniques. I listened to tapes by alternative-medicine doctors promising cures for all. I read stories of miraculous physical recoveries. But nobody said beating cancer could be about more than just a physical cure.
For quite a while, I was “beating” cancer—there was no sign of it in my body—but it was beating me. It was controlling my mind, my attitude, and my relationship with God. It was the first thing I thought about each day and the last thing each night. It was hard to enjoy holidays and special moments because I wondered if they would be my last. My prayer time consisted of nothing other than self-centered pleas for my personal healing.
But God gradually began to enlarge my picture of beating cancer as He spoke to my heart: “Whether you live or die from this is up to Me, but how you live is up to you.”
The pressure was off. I would do my part to physically combat this disease, but I would not judge whether I beat it by whether or not I was cured.
I would beat it no matter what because I would refuse to let it conquer me and control my life.
And by the grace of God I did, and I continue to do so more than two decades later.
I believe the real victory Sandy has over cancer is that she has triumphed over it in her mind and her spirit. She lives as a person who has cancer, but cancer does not have her. She is held in the palm of God’s hand, not in the grip of a disease.
But beating cancer is not a one-moment or a one-day, once-and-for-all accomplishment.
Certainly, we beat cancer when we are declared in remission or cured. However, we also beat it moment by moment as we allow God, not cancer, to control our thoughts. We beat it hour by hour as we remember that God’s power within us is greater than the cancer. And we beat it day by day as we trust in God’s strength and not in cancer’s weakness.
The apostle Paul knew how to live in spite of his circumstances. He even wrote from chains in his jail cell, .Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
Paul beat his circumstances.
Sandy beat cancer.
I beat cancer.
You can beat cancer.
Anyone can beat cancer–or any other disease–because being victorious is much more than just being physically cured.
(Don’t miss the song below by one of my favorite artists. I’ve copied the lyrics at the bottom.)
Different Kind of Miracle
words & music by Shannon J. Wexelberg
c2012 Shanny Banny Music / BMI / International copyright secured
These prayers I’ve prayed
Beating down the walls of Heaven
So full of faith
And full of hope believing
That in a matter of time
God would send an answer
But it’s not gone
The way I had in mind
When He hasn’t come through
The way I want Him to
! Could it be God is doing
! A different kind of miracle
! Could it be He is using
! All this in my life
! Could it be this prayer I’ve prayed
! Is not quite what He’s after
! And I will find He’s done a different kind
! Of miracle in my life
It’s hard to wait
Peering through a glass so dimly
What’s just around the bend
If I had my way
Every time I called to Heaven
Would I know Him
Like I know Him today
While I’ve waited so long
He’s been working all along
He hears each prayer I pray
I’m always on His mind
And though it seems like only wasted time