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.
My mom and dad usually leave just after Christmas to spend the winter months in Texas. It had become clear that things were looking bleak in my cancer battle, so they decided to stay in Minnesota and help in any way that they could. I argued a little, feeling guilty that they were forgoing their usual plans because of me. I soon realized that I would do the same thing if my one of my children was battling for his or her life. It would be a great blessing to have them with us as we went through this part of our journey. II am very thankful for their unselfish decision.
When someone is diagnosed terminally ill and believes in both divine healing and in the benefits of modern medicine, it is a constant, sometimes frustrating balancing act. As time went on and it appeared various drugs were taking effect and helping, it became a challenge to not have faith in the drugs instead of the Lord. My prayers went from, “Lord, heal me,” to “Lord, let the drugs would work.” Let’s face it, when one is terminally ill with little chance of survival, any time that we are granted, any healing, and whether or not the drugs work is up to our God. Our hope is in Him. Even though the Lord has blessed us with lifesaving medication, our faith is not in the drugs but in God, himself. I have found myself wrestling with the guilt that I am taking chemotherapy rather than handing my life over to God, and at times I still struggle with it. Ultimately, 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 in the faith believe 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 it 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 that. Often those who believe this will say that by His stripes we already have been healed. Again, I get the reasons for this interpretation, but if I am already healed, why do the scans show cancer? The response from those with this belief is that the provision for healing is already there and one can freely tap into it, yet we don’t.
Whatever the truth on healing in the atonement is, there are comparatively few believers having much success with our “right to divine healing. While miraculous healings do happen, if our healing is in the atonement, there should be more. Perhaps as some suggest, we just haven’t learned how to access that healing through the same simple, childlike faith that saves us.
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 Christian brothers and sisters endlessly quoting to me the magic formulas to healing that seem to seldom work. Either we understand them [the verses] wrong, or we have a long way to go in learning how to implement the promised healing.
I would have a couple of weeks off from all treatment and I expected to feel great and get some things done. Instead, I seemed to have some kind of chemo hangover that kept me dragging for nearly the entire treatment break. Soon enough, the time arrived for what would be my third course of treatment in a little over two years’ time. The first two were oral and while they had their own sets of side effects, they were tolerable. This treatment his would be given via infusion and promised to be the greatest challenge yet.
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.