Loving Louise: “I can’t explain it, but we find no trace of cancer.”

Cancer???????????????????????????????

Cancer.  We hear the word and recoil, thinking of the destruction these rogue cells cause.  Several of my friends are currently enduring the ordeal of cancer treatments.  Both of my parents died of cancer.  Most of us have friends, colleagues or family who have been touched by this terrible disease.

We are all blessed when Christians choose to glorify God in diagnosis and treatment for cancer.  Louise has been a wonderful example of this. Though very much wanting to live, she has sincerely and openly confessed that, “For me to live is Christ; to die is gain.”

She wished she hadn’t looked

Louise has been extremely ill this past year.  Miscarriage claimed her first child then later in the year, her twins.  Illness, dizziness, infections, and fatigue followed the second miscarriage.  By the end of November all the tests results were in:  stage 3 bladder cancer.  Further tests revealed the cancer had spread to her ovaries and uterus.  Louise’s doctor showed her the images and pointed out the cancer.  She wished she hadn’t looked.  Prognosis was 6 months of treatment in hopes of stopping the spread with the possibility of surgery afterward.

Brian and Louise grieved, and cried out to God.  They questioned, they wept, they turned to the Scriptures and they prayed.  Their physical families and the church family circled around them and lovingly helped and provided for them.

Chemotherapy

The prescribed chemotherapy was in pill form, taken at home, two weeks on, one week off.  Extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and dizziness ensued.  The food that would stay down smelled foul and tasted terrible.  Louise shaved her head.  She slept a lot.

Through all of this she would text friends about the things that God was teaching her.  She told everyone of God’s goodness to her -doctors, nurses, and anyone else who would listen.  Most people will at least politely listen because who wants to discourage someone struggling with cancer?

Test results

After the second cycle of treatments Louise had a good week.  She felt stronger.  She could eat.  Her abdomen was pain-free.  Louise went in for her next set of testing.  The doctors were concerned about something and put a rush on the results.

Tuesday night the oncologist called Louise.  “Oh no.  Something must be wrong for the doctor himself to be calling me in the evening.”

The voice on the other end was incredulous.  “Louise, I can’t explain it, but we find no trace of cancer in any of your tests.”

Louise gasped, “Praise God!”  She wanted to be sure.  “Are you sure it is me? Please read me the health care number.”  He did. “Yes, that’s my number.”

The doctor continued, “I examined the results very carefully and asked two of my colleagues to give me their opinions.  We are in agreement.  There is not a hint of cancer anywhere.”

God has done this!

Excitedly Louise exclaimed, “This is God!  God has done this!”

“I need to read that paper you gave me,” her doctor replied.

“Paper?  What paper?”  Louise was puzzled.

“It was called, ‘God’s Bridge to Eternal Life.”

“Yes, God is the one Who did this and that tract will tell you about our wonderful God!”

Brian and Louise quickly spread the news.  They are keenly aware that God does not always or even often answer prayers for healing this dramatically.  Her doctors want to quadruple check the results.  So far the tests have all shown the same thing:  no trace of cancer.  The doctor showed her the cancer-free images next to the first ones.  She’s glad now that she had looked and could see the difference.

Thank you and give God the glory

To those of who have been praying, thank you.  Brian and Louise want to give God the glory.  They don’t want to squander this opportunity to point others to God.  They approach God with open hands and continue to give Him their lives to use as He wishes.

Brian and Louise do not know what the future holds; none of us does.  But today, and with gratitude, we praise God for healing Louise.

Reading Which Glorifies God, part 1

Part of this session was recently presented to the pastors’ wives at the National Church Planters’ Conference in Mentor Ohio, sponsored by ARCH Ministries.

Never in the history of mankind has there been such a proliferation of written materials so readily accessible to the general public.  Written works are available on every hand, clamoring for our time and attention, luring us with slick covers, or bold advertising, available in popular platforms and applications enticing the reader.  We as Christian women need to have some guidelines for selecting good reading materials.  In this busy age it is not even a choice between good and bad, but rather selecting what is best, to fill our allocated reading time.

Some books, especially novels, and including many published by Christian publishing houses, are written primarily to stir the emotions as opposed to glorifying God.  Tragedies, affairs of the heart, missed opportunities, all tug at our hearts, but do these stories glorify God?  There are varying degrees of effort toward accomplishing this on the part of the authors.  No matter how engrossing a story may be, we should set the book aside if the main gist of the book does not direct us to bring glory to God

When I was a young woman I used to read Christian romance novels.  I was swept away by the pathos, drawn in by tragic circumstances, and enamored by the rugged hero riding in to rescue the helpless (or tragically treated, or abandoned etc.,) heroine of the story.  Slowly and almost imperceptibly I found myself growing discontented with my real life husband (compared to these men he was so flawed!) and comparing him to these fictional characters who were merely words on a page.  At times these “paper men” seemed more real and desirable than my own flesh and blood husband.

God helped me to identify my crooked thinking by reading His Word.  A favorite Bible verse of mine is 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  Our reading should be done to the glory of God.  It does not glorify God for a wife to compare her husband with other men, even fictional ones, and God helped me to see that, confess my sinful thinking, and change my thoughts. Part of this change was my decision to set aside the reading of romance stories and fill my mind with more wholesome reading.

One of the biggest changes I made was to resume regularly reading Christian biographies and classic Christian literature.  Who can forget the wonderful allegory spread out for us in Pilgrim’s Progress as Christian’s heavy burden rolls from his back when he stands at the foot of the cross? How many of us have been humbled and shamed as we read of the courageous believers who peacefully stood fast for Christ in the face of torture and death introduced to us in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs?  Or were pricked to evaluate our motives and actions by Amy Carmichael’s If?  These and other classic books encourage us in a holy walk with God.

We find great encouragement in reading about godly people in church history who have helped lay the groundwork for our faith and freedoms.  Men and women from the pages of Christian history lived lives that challenge and encourage us to godly living.  Many saints have lived by faith, taken strong stands, and encouraged others by their Christ-honoring lives. In Martin Luther God used a simple priest to break the stranglehold of Romanism and show people the way of salvation.  John Bunyan was a tinker by trade, but was wholly given over to learning about truth and teaching others through his writings.  George Muller lived his life by absolute faith in God to provide every need and is a shining example to us of what simple faith can accomplish.

As a child I was a voracious reader.  Our church had a small library that contained a selection of children’s books. There I first discovered missionary stories.  Within the pages of these books were heroes of the faith–men and women who in obedience to God traveled to far-away places in order to tell others about Christ.  I held my breath as I read of dangers and hardships faced by fellow believers.  I wept as I learned of Christians who died for their faith.  I rejoiced as an embittered antagonist surrendered to the claim of Christ on his sin-darkened life.  Not stuffy or boring, but full of challenges and adventure, these books helped me focus on God and His glory.

I would like to recommend several classic missionary biographies for your consideration.  These are among my favorites because the missionaries described are regular people just like us who struggled but also saw victories in their Christian lives.  Of course, not all books are equally helpful to us.  A missionary mentor told me that if she can get one gem from each book then it is worth reading. In all of these stories God is the focus and God receives the glory for anything special that is done.   In my opinion all of these books contain not just one gem, but a whole mine full of benefits and examples for us.

Next Post:  Reading Which Glorifies God – Missionary Book Suggestions