A Change Of Plans- Part 3 Dan’s Perspective

This blog post is part of the continuing story of our family’s journey facing my husband’s cancer with the grace that only the Lord Jesus can give. If you would like to read the story from the beginning, go here.

When one is diagnosed terminally ill and believes both diving healing and doctors, they often find themselves performing a constant, sometimes frustrating balancing act. You are often told that if you take the advice of doctors and undergo a treatment such chemotherapy or radiation, then you must lack faith in God to heal you. On the other hand, God often uses doctors to heal. He gave man the capability to discover such treatments. In the beginning, I found myself constantly petitioning the Lord for healing, believing He is able and also willing. My prayers went from asking the Lord for healing to praying that the drugs would work. Let’s face it, when one is terminally ill with little chance of survival, any extension of life or healing is up to our God. Whether the drugs work or not, is up to Him. Ultimately, our hope is in Him. With or without medications, my daily prayer is with the psalmist, “Lord, I pray that I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord.

Many Christians believe that we have a right as sons of God to live 70-80 years without health problems and then just die of natural causes. That sounds good and I’m all for it, but I’m not sure I see that happen to believers any more than unbelievers. Many believe healing is part of salvation and is in the atonement. There certainly are scriptures that appear to suggest this. Often, those who believe this will say that “by His stripes we already have been healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) I understand that there are reasons for saying this, but if I am already healed, then why do the scans show cancer? I suppose the response would be that the provision for healing is already there and one can freely tap into it. This insinuates that the person suffering is the one to blame. There is much that one can say about this issue, but there is one thing for sure. It isn’t as simple and automatic as some seem to suggest. I’ve become a little weary of well-meaning saints endlessly quoting to me the magic formulas to healing (that seem to seldom work) and showing a lack of true, Christ-like compassion.

Many of our precious brothers and sisters in Christ have endless quotes, verses and declarations. Much of the time, these are meant to be, (and often are) an encouragement. All too often, however, they are delivered in a way that makes a cancer patient feel guilty for even admitting that they are sick.

There have been times that we have actually been scolded just for saying that I have cancer.  “That’s a lie from the devil!”  “You don’t really have cancer.” “You must confess that you are healed and it will be so!”

Just as insidious is, “Your faith will heal you.” The problem with these admonitions is that they put pressure and guilt upon the patient and the patient’s loved ones. So if I’m not healed, is it because I lacked faith? Everyone dies at some point, including the greatest saints in the history of Christendom- right down to the apostles themselves.

Saying these things do nothing to help a cancer patient, but rather load him down with yet another burden. The life of a cancer patient and his or her family has come undone. They don’t need more reasons to second guess themselves.

What we really needed to hear was, “I am praying for you and your family!” “How are you doing financially?” “How are your children doing?” “What can I do to help?” Thankfully, we also had friends who have extended this compassion to us!

We were doing okay, but as you might imagine, this dose of reality was not welcome and was quite sobering. Because this is an aggressive cancer, any sign of it is too much. As we have all along, we would trust our God, and rest in His capable hands. Life has more hurdles than it used to, but it is still a good race to run, and I am thankful for each and every day. If days or weeks of not feeling well, yielded extra years of life, it would be a good trade.  What a privilege it is to be a believer in Jesus and walk with Him even through the valley of the shadow of death…I will fear no evil.

You can learn more about Dan Erickson, his family, and his ministry at his blog,”Dan’s Pulpit.” Follow “Facing Cancer With Grace,” to read our continuing story.

About connectedtothevine

My husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in early November, 2012. He needed to resign as the pastor of a small non-denominational church due to his declining health, but he still desired to have a place to minister. He began a blog called, "Dan's Pulpit." Along with other topics, he wrote a 16 part series called, "It's Cancer." I began adding to these blogs and editing with the intent to have a book about some of the things involved in fighting cancer. We wanted to foster an understanding of what a patient and his/her family faces. As things continued to progress, we decided to put what I was writing out in the blog, "Facing Cancer With Grace." Along with the series, "Our Story," I hope to add some information to help people facing a health crisis to be able to see hope in the midst of a major life crisis through Jesus Christ.
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4 Responses to A Change Of Plans- Part 3 Dan’s Perspective

  1. SR says:

    You know Dan through my life I have encountered people such as you spoke of in my life. I have been sick in one way or the other through most of it. You know God has many ways of healing us. Sometimes it comes in the form of “supernatural” so to speak. Other times it comes through the hands of a doctor. Why cannot God work through their hands as well? Most assuredly though, a “spiritual healing” will come to us all in one form or another. That to me is what matters.

    Prayer for ourselves and others is always the beginning. You know I was offering every prayer said in Mass last night for you, Heather, and the kids. You also know throughout the summer my greatest prayer for you all were the vacations. God answered each and every one of those prayers. In my heart I wanted that so badly for you y’all.

    As far as walking in the “valley of the shadow of death,” we all walk that Dan from the first moment we take breath, we are dying. It is just a matter of how and when. The good news is, Jesus has already walked that valley, and is alive to help us do the same. If He is there, then there is no evil, is there? Just life! Love to you all and God Bless, SR


  2. Dear SR,
    Thank you so much for your prayers! Our vacations have been such a blessing to us. They drew us closer to one another, enlarged our world, and showed us new aspects of Our Father. Such wonderful memories wer made. God bless you!


  3. Donna Blauw says:

    Just finished reading A Change of Plans. Sometimes we in the body of Christ can be very cruel without meaning to be, and need to stop for a moment ask God what He would like us to say or not say!
    Your journey is yours and you must be obedient to what God is speaking to you. I know when I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma/Non-hodgkin’s in January of 2011 I asked Father if I was to go through treatment and He said plain and clear, yes. I have met some amazing people since then, the doctors, technicians, support staff, receptionists, American Cancer Society volunteer drivers, and others undergoing or who have undergone cancer treatment. Thankfully my treatment was not prolonged and I am now 4 years out from and no recurrence.
    The prayers of the saints have meant a lot to me and kept me going. There was never any fear because though God did not cause it I knew He was in it and all over it, and was not surprised by it.
    I will continue to pray for you and your family. This is not an easy time but as we pray God will be there and bring peace and hope where there looks like it should not be. Your walk with the Lord as you face each day is an example to all of us. You do not give up or give in, but you do take care of you and always have your family in mind. Keep up the good fight because of the Love of Christ that undergirds you!
    Blessings and may the God of peace rule and reign in your life and in your family.
    Love you all muchly, and I really mean that. It is not just a cute saying.


    • Dear Donna,
      Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers. They mean so much to us. I am so glad that you are doing well and I pray for sustained good health and closeness to our Heavenly Father. While in the first couple of years, we experienced a lot of the attitude written about in this blog post, in the past year, we have known far more supportive people who have come alongside of us in prayer and love. I think part of the reason for the change was the awareness brought about by Dan (in his blog “Dan’s Pulpit,” and I in this blog, writing about our experience. Thankfully no one ever means to be hurtful. The words that hurt are care-less words; those words simply spoken without care, spoken to further their own agenda or ideology rather than to lift someone’s burden. On the other hand, you can tell when someone cares, and when they do, you don’t get offended by even ill-timed or worded things that they may say. In the words of Saint Peter “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
      Bless you, Donna!
      Heather and Family


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