What Cancer Cannot Do

Why did I get Cancer?

After I was diagnosed with cancer, I had no idea why I had got the disease. The interesting thing I soon discovered that everyone else seemed to know. They showered me with suggestions on how to fight it, ways to improve my health, and above all, why I had it in the first place. And it all seemed to be my fault!

I became so overwhelmed by all the free advice and not-so-free treatment suggestions I didn’t know where to start. As I read about the disease, I learned that the cancer cells were actually weak and confused – not at all the giant enemy I had visualised.

I soon decided, “It’s not a case of what caused my cancer, but rather how am I going to deal with it.”

It's not a case of what caused my cancer, but rather how am I going to deal with it. Click To Tweet

How will I deal with it?

Perhaps the cruelest advice I received, at intervals throughout that terrible year, was the best intended.

“Shirley, put your trust in the Lord!”

The words TRUST THE LORD can cause hurt in the person who IS trusting the Lord. We need to watch our words. Click To Tweet

I am a committed Christian, so why do I say this was cruel?

It implied to my over-sensitive mind that people thought I wasn’t trusting Him. It made me feel that perhaps, if I really had faith, I would not subject my body to all this treatment. Is my faith at fault? I often wondered.

Trusting the Lord

One day when I was reading my Bible, I came to the well-known twenty-third Psalm.

Next time someone asked me about why I didn’t stop treatment and trust the Lord, I opened to that passage.

“David says ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,'” I read. “‘For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.1‘” I pointed to the verse so my friend could read with me. “Lynne, where will I find the rod and the staff?”

“In the valley of the shadow of death?” she read the words slowly, doubt creeping into her voice.

Thy rod and staff they comfort me. And where are they found? In the valley. Click To Tweet

I nodded. “I have no idea why the Lord wants me to go through this valley,” I said. “Nor do I understand why He needs me to pick up a rod and a staff. But, Lynne, I trusted Him with my life many years ago, and there is no going back. He wants me to go through the valley and collect the rod and staff. Then He will comfort me. He will go with me.”

I hoped I appeared more confident than I felt, yet I knew that what I said was true. I had to keep my eyes on the Lord. Then I received these beautiful words from my daughter’s mother-in-law.

I remembered those weak, confused cells my doctor had described to me. They were indeed so limited.

Yes, the war against cancer was beginning to hot up, but I had a wonderful family, many dear friends, and a countless army of prayer warriors throughout, not only South Africa, but overseas as well. Most important, I had the Lord on my side. The enemy might appear threatening, but “Greater is he that is in (me) than he that is in the world.”I drew a deep breath, and prepared to move into the unknown.

Cancer is so limited. It is made up of weak, confused cells. See a list of things it can't do. Click To Tweet

[1] Psalm 23 verse 4
[2]  1 John 4 verse 4

10 comments on “What Cancer Cannot Do

  1. Your post is so inspiring. I am going to try to pin it and share it with others. There are so many conflicting ideas in our world and so many people who say bizarre things, or try to sell a product, to people who are chronically ill. I wrote a page about this very topic last week. You will be so blessed by telling others that the Lord perfected your peace in the midst of your Cancer (Psalm 138).

  2. Monday will have been the 65th birthday of my best friend, who passed away from her second cancer, which may have been 9/11 related (she survived stage 4 ovarian cancer in 1979) in September of 2015. I’ve been thinking of a blog post to honor her. I love the “Cancer is so limited” as I also have a high school friend diagnosed with breast cancer this past month. I pinned that on my Cancer board, a board I actually forgot I had.

    • How sad, to survive stage 4 ovarian cancer, which is no mean feat, only to be hammered by 9/11. It would be super to do a blog post in honor of her. Thank you for pinning it to your board. LOL! Yes, I forget which boards I have on Pinterest too. I also have one for cancer. Can’t remember what it’s called. 🙂

  3. Even though the topic is not a happy one Shirley, I am enjoying your posts. As my mother, father and brother all passed away from cancer in their mid 60s I wonder if that will be the same for me? I take comfort in reading about your experience. I can only imagine the ‘advice’ you receive from well meaning friends, family and of course professionals. I’m sure it can be very overwhelming and also hard not to try everything ‘just in case’. So happy that you are here 20 years later to write about your experience. Have a beautiful day.. xx

  4. This is so interesting, I found myself digging deeper and deeper. You made me think of some things I never thought about before, such as about the words you say to someone who is sick and things like “put your trust in the Lord.” Your writing is going to help people 🙂

    • Tanya, thank you for your encouraging words. Writing on a topic like this has the potential for getting people afraid or panicking, but my goal is to encourage them. I can only do that by telling them of some of the bad things I went through . . . and how I survived them. Have a great weekend.

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