I reluctantly took that advice in November 1996, having no clue of what a life-changing journey awaited me. An ultrasound revealed an abundance of gallstones, so arrangements were made for "band-aid surgery" to remove the offending appendage, along with its extra baggage. As part of the routine surgery, the physicians took samples of tissue and fluids for analysis. I went home to relax and sleep peacefully through the weekend.
My peace was effectively shattered the following Monday when I phoned the doctor's office for the lab results. He very solemnly explained to me that the results were consistent with a diagnosis of cancer, and I needed to go back to my primary care physician to begin the process of attending to that new diagnosis. I held myself together on the phone, but once done with the call, went immediately into the proverbial tailspin.
I had been saved since my teenage years, attended church every week. I was a tither, I read my Bible, so how could this be happening to me? Well-intentioned church friends sympathized, and said they would pray for me, and they hoped I would get better. Praise God, I had other friends who were well versed in this type of battle, and He brought them alongside to show us that we have an Advocate, a Healer who will never forsake us.
Every day was filled with more anxiety, fear and distress as the wheels of medical referrals ground very slowly, or so it seemed to me. I only wanted to be rid of this malignant scourge which was silently invading my physical being, and destroying this house that was so precious to me. I did not realize that God was weaving the tapestry of my deliverance, both physically and spiritually.
I had read for years in the Bible, He healeth all our diseases and even though I had mentally accepted that, I was still ignorant of the full import of that statement. Thankfully, Tim & Marcia Greenwood, through his healing from terminal heart disease, had already learned of Him, and all that He has for His people. They were faithful instruments in the hands of a merciful God as He began to bring me into a better understanding of what our relationship and fellowship can be with Him.
My doctor worked on getting the medical arrangements lined up, and marvelously, all fell into place with the most knowledgeable surgeon of this field in Southern California and a slot at the best-equipped teaching hospital in Los Angeles. At this point in my life, I was only a baby Christian where healing was concerned, so God met me where I was with the best physical support that could be supplied.
The spiritual support came partly in the form of His faithful servants, Tim & Marcia Greenwood, who supplied us with prayer, laying on of hands, regular visits, many audio teachings from Tim Greenwood Ministries, and an introduction to Gloria Copeland's Healing School. After major surgery and many days in the hospital, I was too exhausted to move far from the couch, so I spent my time consuming the Word from books like Walking in Faith and audio teachings.
What did I learn? The gospel Truth about the faithfulness of God, the power of our own words, God's promise to heal, His command against fear and much, much more. My husband and I had been with Tim and Marcia when Tim had had his heart surgery some months before, so I knew something of faith, but had not yet made it my own defense tool against everything that the devil can throw at us. I needed to learn how to use that shield of faith, one part of the whole armor of God (Ephesians. 6:16). Many times I needed that shield to turn aside a negative report, a physical setback don't let down your guard. No matter what it feels like, no matter what the lab reports say, have faith in His Word Isaiah 53:5 with His stripes we are (already) healed.
Another thing that I learned the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs. 18:21). Years before, I had mentioned in conversation, Well if anything gets me, it will be cancer. Thirteen of my immediate relatives have died from it. That was brought up more than once in family conversations. We did not know - How casually we throw wide the doors that allow the wicked one access to steal, kill and destroy. God showed me that if I expected His Word to affect a turnaround, I needed to change my speech.
I began to watch what I said more carefully and was stunned to hear how often my xxx is killing me! or that just scared me to death or even I could have just died! popped out of my mouth. In our speaking, we flood the air with death and destruction and don't think twice about it. I was unaware that what I say gives an opportunity for faith to workâ€¦or for fear to work. So now I choose my words carefully they call down blessing or cursing.
While I recuperated rapidly, amazing my doctors who had not given me a lot of warm, fuzzy encouragement, I found other weapons of faith warfare. One of those was the use of Jesus' authority; e.g. of His name. The Word tells us that His name is above any other name! Philippians 2:9 says, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name. Cancer, tumor hormone, blood clots are all names over which the name of Jesus has authority. Tim & Marcia taught me to resist the devil, coming against the disease with authority, and declaring victory in Jesus over that which endeavored to kill me. I began to employ this in prayer, and faithfully did all I could do for myself with diet and vitamins, trusting God to fulfill His promise.
A few months into chemotherapy, my tumor marker level began to rise rapidly, which usually signals a recurrence of the disease. The doctors threw up their hands, declared the chemo a failure, and suggested either a different, more toxic chemotherapy or another surgery. I refused both. To my shock, one doctor announced that she would be glad to set me up with the information on hospice care! I politely (more or less) declined, and declared to her that I would be around next year, and the year after that, thank you.
Humanly speaking, it was not a happy thing to see that marker number rise to what was (medically speaking) a critical level for me. But I had started a journey down another road and I could not turn back. Man had no further answers, but my oncologist continued to meet regularly with me, as I was a bit of a mystery to him. My tumor marker numbers were high, but there was no tumor to be found. When I made an office visit, the nurse would announce me with Doctor, your miracle patient is here! and usher me to his office.
A major rule of physical health is to nourish your body well. This I did faithfully, using extra nutrient/supplements to boost my immune system, and fight the disease. This lesson is also true in the spiritual realm one must nourish the spirit with study of God's Word, prayer and meditation. Build up your spirit in faith.
We are instructed how to do this in Romans 10:17 Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If we aren't hearing the Word daily and building up our faith account, we won't have the supply needed to defeat the foe when he sends trouble our way. Psalm. 20:27 tells us the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord and He leads us through His Spirit in concert with our spirit. So nourish that spirit and become strong in faith and in His Word His promise, His person.
While I fed every day on the Word, I learned that fear is also faith, faith that satan has the power to harm. He is the one that brings disease, poverty, abuse and every bad thing. God gives every GOOD gift! James 1:17 With Him there is no changing and (1st Samuel 15:29) the Strength of Israel will not lie. I can depend on Him for my very being, and I can know that He does not bring me any problems in order to teach me anything.
I faced other challenges a bout with blood clots, erratic heartbeat, rheumatoid arthritis, but the mercy and sacrifice of Jesus defeated them all. And by the grace and unfailing compassion of God, I, a person who had an 18% chance of living 3 years am not only living but am thriving as I write this more than 10 years later.
I thank God that He sent me a wonderful physical doctor. But I rejoice even more that He has revealed Himself powerfully through His Word, and the teaching of His faithful servants. Now I can consult a doctor every day by opening the Bible and drinking in of the Word. The joy and assurance that it brings is like a tonic. A merry heart does good like a medicine Proverbs 17: 22.
So if you desire to prosper and be in health I counsel you Consult your heavenly Doctor!