Dear Cancer, It’s Not Over, Till It’s Over

Growing up in Texas, I’ve heard the saying, “It’s not over ’till it’s over.” I never knew how important this idea would be to me and others until I was diagnosed with stage 4. Quoting and personalizing scripture has proven so powerful in my life; this isn’t scripture. However, the principle behind the saying of my childhood rings familiar in many scriptures, especially some of my favorites. Consider that fateful Friday: a tortured Savior dying on a cross, then lovingly prepped for burial and laid to rest. Friday was dark and hopeless for the disciples; it doesn’t get more “over” than dead. The disciples didn’t know that it wasn’t over. God had other plans, and Sunday was coming with a resurrection.

He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

Luke 24:6-7

He Cares

Did you know that “Jesus wept ” over the death of his friend Lazarus, even though he knew that Lazarus would come back to life? Jesus wept because he felt human emotions of grief and loss and sat with it. God has the greatest capacity to deal with every level of grief we have. People can only handle so much. God knows what’s in our future but cares about what happens and how we feel right now between points A and B. He is always here in the moment and gives us courage and companionship as we sit with uncomfortable facts and news.

Jesus wept.

John 11:35

Prognosis, Odds, Facts, and Hope

A prognosis is a likely prediction from a doctor based on facts and statistics. I’m a practical lady and won’t ignore overarching facts. While still believing and fighting to live, I planned my funeral. I underestimated what that would do to me during a stage 4 cancer battle. It took me several days to write it out while dealing with a sorrowful and depressive funk, but God walked with me in my pain. He gave me practical techniques to get out of it. Years ago, the highly contagious, incurable Ebola outbreak in Africa quickly and brutally killed thousands. I remember when the missionary doctor Kent Brantly contracted it. Those are thoughts that torment us in the night. Dr. Brantly experienced that too. “When I became ill, I started to experience what my patients had suffered under my care.” He had to fight those images and thoughts to keep his hope alive. His secret was to focus on God, which resulted in comfort and peace.

“It was the words of scripture set to music that brought me the greatest comfort in the darkest times of my illness,”

Kent Brantly

We Have Hope

We don’t know God’s plans and ways. Some questions won’t have answers on this side of eternity. We must consider facts and statistics, but they are not 100% predictors of our future. God cares about the pain and compassionately walks us through it, even if he has a “Sunday” planned for us. Survival isn’t guaranteed; it’s practical to get right with him; it’s the best decision you’ll ever make, but don’t give up on life when you’re still breathing. Find those who have beat the odds, and hold those stories to your heart. Let them inspire you, discover their methods, and don’t give up hope. As long as we have breath and life, we have hope because it’s not over until it’s over.

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