The following Devotional is a written summary of our service on Sunday morning, July 24th. Often I will write the devotional on the same subject that is being shared on Sundays, but this one is more personal due to the subject matter being a challenge that my wife, Cheryl, has recently experienced. I am the designated writer of the two of us and will attempt with help of Holy Spirit to share Cheryl’s testimony, but if you would like to hear her share it, you can request a copy of it on CD format and we will get one to you. Copies will also be available on the information table in the foyer.
Let me say that she was anointed to share her testimony in a way that only she could and it is already encouraging others to persevere through trials with total faith in the Lord. Let me also say that this testimony is in no way shared with the attitude, “Look what I did. Why can’t you do it?!” But rather, “Look what God did. He can do it for you!” A true testimony is given to the glory of God. Paul said, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17). That is the full objective of this and every testimony that is spoken with a humble and thankful heart.
I am going to begin with the timeline of the events of Cheryl’s test in her testimony. On May 3, 2016, she was scheduled to have, and did have, a routine mammogram. They had discovered an “abnormality,” so they scheduled another mammogram on May 13th. The “abnormality” was a dark spot they had seen on the x-ray. The doctor had called and we had set up an appointment with her on May 27th. This was an appointment that will be etched in our minds until the day we leave this earth. As we sat with the doctor at a large table, she laid some files down on the table and cut right to the chase by stating, “I have got bad news.” She proceeded to explain to us that an earlier biopsy revealed that the small lump found in the x-rays was cancer. The next few moments are now a blur as she proceeded to explain all the options and further tests to combat this disease.
Through prayer and much wisdom, the decision was made to perform a lumpectomy on June 16th. The procedure would involve three steps:
(#1) Place a wire to a titanium pin that had already been placed by the tumor.
(#2) The doctor would then follow that wire to the tumor and remove it along with the flesh immediately surrounding it.
(#3) Remove lymph nodes close to the area to be tested for cancerous cells.
Cheryl and I agreed this was the decision that the Lord had provided while continuing in prayer that the lymph nodes would be tested negative for cancer.
I would like, at this time, to share with you a couple interesting facts about the surgery. When the doctor was placing the wire into Cheryl’s side to mark the tumor, Cheryl was conscious and she was hearing him say he could not find the titanium pin or the tumor, and even making the statement he had never had this happen before. Of course, Cheryl is thinking it could be that God took both titanium pin and the tumor out miraculously. But after a lengthy search, we believe he must have found them because we did not hear otherwise and the procedure did take place. I only wish that I had asked the doctor about that after surgery, but I didn’t. Everything went well in surgery. The tumor was removed as well as four lymph nodes to be examined.
Another note I would like to add is that when Cheryl woke up from surgery, she was singing the song, “He Knows My Name.” In fact, she was singing it out loud because the recovery nurse was looking at her wondering how she could be singing immediately from an unconscious state. We know that this praise was a direct result of Cheryl’s prayer while in that operating room before surgery. Her prayer was simply this, “God, You promised that You would never leave me and though I may be alone on this bed, You are with me.” God saw fit to place a song in her heart assuring her that He knew her by name. The recovery time was less than two hours and Cheryl was home and well the same day.
On June 27th, we received a call that the lymph nodes tested negative for cancer; and on July 13th, the decision was made that Cheryl would receive
a season of radiation treatments as a preventive maintenance, but no chemotherapy. Obviously, we were praising God that day as we have every day since. Cheryl is currently in radiation therapy while working and carrying on the normal duties of life.
I am at the point in this Devotional that I am not sure I can do justice to Cheryl’s testimony. I am sure she could do much better in a personal way giving glory to God. I have no doubt that she will be giving God glory in many ways in the future to others who experience similar tests and need encouragement. At this point someone may be reading this and experiencing feelings, thoughts, and emotions resulting from “bad news.” How do you get through it? One answer stems from Cheryl’s prayer while in the operating room. “God, You promised You would never leave me.” And He didn’t.
The question is always being asked, “How do people make it without Christ?” The reality is nobody does, for even those who do not know Him only get through because of His grace. Remove His grace from anyone’s life, a believer or an unbeliever, and they are hopeless and helpless. Thank God for His amazing compassion and mercy. What a joy it is for a believer to know that God is on our side. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side. I will not fear.” What a wonderful thought and promise it is to know that His name is Emmanuel, God with us. Not only is He with us, but He is on our side. The question is not whether God is on our side, but are you on God’s side? If you are, then you have a direct communicative connection to Him through prayer.
We also recognize that it is the prayer coverage over us by our faithful friends and family that brought us through. Though we did not make this challenge known publicly there was a comfort and encouragement found in knowing that our church family always holds us up in prayer. Thank you ! And you can be assured that your pastor and his wife hold you up in continuous prayer as well.
I will add as well that we always put in action Jude, Verse 20, “Build up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” Oh what power there is in prayer as the Holy Spirit leads it, whether in English or in our heavenly language. The Holy Spirit is always available to pray through us those words that touch the heart of God even when we don’t have the words to pray.
Another aspect that carried Cheryl through was continual praise. She never stopped praising. It was a faith-filled praise that exuded from her spirit. It was a praise that she has always carried in her spirit long before we heard the words, “I have bad news.” She has always praised the Lord on mountains and in valleys and the praise in this valley was not a self-motivated praise, but a God-focused praise that she has always had. True praise is constant praise. The praise and worship that Pastor Mike and the Worship Team leads us into on Sunday mornings should simply be a corporate praise that continues from our personal praise every day. We should never have to be hyped up or begged to praise. I will make this point as compassionately as I can, someone who only praises when they need God’s help has not yet entered into true praise.
The third aspect of going through is God’s Word. Every day Cheryl read Scriptures concerning the healing promises of God. She fed on the nourishing words of God inspired by Holy Spirit that would cause her faith to be steady and strong. Don’t allow dust to gather on your Bible. Don’t allow the Bible app on your electronic device to be the least used app. Paul said that the Sword of the Spirit, that defends what is rightfully ours, is the Word of God. There are many tools available to us today that make it easy for us to focus on God’s promises. One of those is “Scripture Confessions for Healing.” It is less than 30 pages containing Scriptures and prayers for healing. You can find it at www.christianbook.com or we have them available at church.
Oh, I could add so much to this and I know Cheryl could as well. What a joy it is when a test results in a testimony as unto the Lord. Let me summarize this devotional through 1st Thessalonians 5:16-24. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying.
Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly. And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you who will also do it.”
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. Despise not prophesying or His Word. Praise. Pray. Remain in His Word. Then He will be faithful to cleanse and sanctify your body of disease, your soul and your mind of fear, and your spirit of the control of sin. There is a cancer on this earth worse than any other physical cancer. It is the cancer of sin. But you need not be discouraged or hopeless for that cancer was healed by the finished work of Jesus Christ. Cheryl and I sincerely pray that you know Christ and the cancer of sin has been stricken from your life. We pray and agree with you as well for physical healing that Jesus’ stripes has provided for you. He is no respecter of persons. He is Faithful and He has already provided healing for you of body, soul, and spirit. He will do it. Surrender to Him. When we surrender to Him then we have the assurance that He is on our side. If God be for us, who can be against us? He has been, is , and will be Faithful to carry us through.
Expecting Great Things For You,