Cancer. Chemotherapy. Cure. These three small words held such weight not only on our shoulders but in our souls as well.
When our oldest child was but a toddler, my husband received a diagnosis of a very rare form of cancer. That six-letter word carried such a punch that our picture-perfect life in our glass house was shattered. The prognosis was poor, and doctors warned us to “get your affairs in order.
Still, we prayed and determined that despite the doctor’s report, we were not settling for anything less than God’s report. We fully believed God could heal him.
With respect to cancer, doctors rarely talk of “cure.” They readily speak of remission…but rarely will they consider a patient is cured.
Major surgery was scheduled followed by months of grueling chemotherapy treatments and tortuous side effects. Following the cessation of his treatments, we held our breath as we waited for the results from medical tests to assess the condition of the cancer. Despite the odds which were not in our favor, the doctor himself was surprised to report “no evidence of disease.”
We exhaled with relief before asking what we really wanted to know: “Does this mean he is cured?”
Such assurances were not forthcoming, despite there being no any evidence of disease. Every follow-up doctor’s appointment, lab work, and scan again caused us to hold our breath for fear of what we might be told; we never again wanted to be taken off guard.
When I think of the story of Jesus healing the leper in Matthew 8:1-4, it’s not difficult to put myself in the leper’s situation. He approached Jesus and almost in a matter of fact manner stated, “If you feel like it Jesus, you can heal me.”
I wonder why he approached Jesus in this way? I don’t know how I would have behaved, but when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we searched high and low for the best doctors with the most experience, and after hearing his prognosis, grasped for help. Some doctors cast him aside, feeling there was nothing they could do to help. Everyone else had cast the leper aside, perhaps he feared Jesus would as well.
It spoke volumes when Jesus responded simply, “I want to.”
God still desires to heal today. 3 John 1:2 reminds us that God desires for us to be healthy: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health; I know that it is well with your soul.”
In the Leper’s case, Jesus instantly healed by a simple touch. What Jesus said next is crucial for us. He told the leper to go to the priest to be examined, and then the healed man was to give a public testimony of his cure.
I suspect Jesus did this for a couple of reasons. If there was any lingering doubt in the leper’s mind, Jesus knew the priest would declare him to be cured. Faith comes by hearing, and by hearing himself declared healed, it would bolster his faith. Then he was to publicly tell about his healing as a testimony of what Jesus had done for him to bolster others’ faith.
I have to wonder if it was difficult for the leper to come to terms with what Jesus had done for him?
He had been accustomed to being a leper and then was instantaneously given a new identity of a clean man. I wonder if that took a while to settle within him. It did for us after my husband was declared to “have no evidence of disease.”
I wonder if it was difficult for him to share with others? “What if the leprosy returned? What if they didn’t believe him?”
We struggled as well: the doctors didn’t declare my husband cured, despite the lack of evidence of disease, so we had a choice to make. We could choose to hang on to doubt or choose to believe that God had performed a miracle and then share our testimony with others to encourage their faith.
We chose to believe God and shared it with all who would listen. Mostly we wanted to encourage others. God does not play favorites. If He healed my husband, He would do it for others too.
When God does something life-changing in our lives, He does so not only for our benefit but for His glory. We owe it to Him and to others to testify to His goodness.
That’s how we defeat the enemy of our souls. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11).
When God steps in and intervenes in your life, will you testify about it to others?
I’d love to hear about God’s goodness in your life in the comments below.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.