When Cancer Heals a Disagreement

Joy, one of my precious girls found out she has cancer, and was discharged from the recovery center to go home.

For the past few weeks, she’s sat alone in church and struggled to attend the services. For she once sat with friends, once laughed with them, and once appeared to belong. But of late, her “aloneness” shouted at me like a broken-scream from a lion with a fading roar.

Yes, to me, she was a wounded lion whose roar was crying, but she did always ask me to pray with her.

Then today after learning of her leaving, one of the other girls spoke up during prayer requests, saying how she regretted the open wound of their disagreement.

She said life was too short to let things fester, to not face them, to not forgive, to let them move us away from each other. She hated that the doctor’s report for Joy became a catalyst to remind her how Joy was indeed her friend, and how much she adored her.

She sought forgiveness and even apologized to the others in the room. It was as if the wounds of that incident affected many of the girls, not just a couple. Not that I knew this, but the nods confirmed it as she spoke.

This opened up the floor and another girl who knew nothing of the disagreement said, “Joy thought of you as a great friend. She hadn’t even told me about a problem. She spoke highly of you. She loves you.”

The tears falling from the one with the regret, and me, and the other girls revealed how wounds linger and bleed, how they fester and grow, and yet despite how ugly life can be, God can turn ashes into beauty and hope.

Then during worship, one of the girls handed me a note, a folded piece of paper which I stuck inside my Bible. It was a note from Joy, which I would read after I got my coffee and parked my car after service in a parking lot.

It read:

Mrs. Pam,

Just a short letter to say thank you. And I love you so very much. I’m leaving tomorrow on 2-10-17, to go home to my family.

I’m going to need all the support I can get. I’m trusting and believing that God is going to bless me through all this, and He’s the Healer of all healers and He will see me through this.

My life is right with God and I will continue to serve Him for the rest of my life. I’m going to miss you Mrs. Pam. I just can’t give up now, I’ve come too far from where I started from.

~~ Love you, Joy

Joy has been relentless in her walk at the center, pushing hard, and pressing in, and often her countenance told me she carried burdens heavier than her own shoulders. Burdens she needed to cast at the foot of the cross.

It’s as if she stood in a forest of trees surrounded by coyotes and wolves that were ready to attack, and she was facing her past and dealing with sobriety. She was vocal and humble, secure and also very broken, and searching for answers.

And of course her story went right along with our Bible study today, and we focused on the all-surpassing power of God. Yes,  when we find ourselves hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, or struck down, may we remember that we are not crushed, we are not in despair, nor abandoned, nor destroyed.

May we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Joy has cancer. Her body is sick. But no matter what, she’s trusting Christ and serving Him. Her life has impacted everyone at the center. She has changed us. She’s touched us with her songs. She’s loved us. And she’s shown us God in how she’s reacted in her walk with Him.

Yes, Joy! I love you! You are indeed a treasure to me! I plan to drive to your home town soon, to visit you! I need your smile. A song. And of course, a hug from you! We will indeed be friends for life!

2 Corinthians 4:7 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

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