348 | He Makes You Stronger

September 14, 2014
Sunday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #348: He Makes You Stronger


Dear Family,

When I was just eighteen, my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the colon. Up until that point, I’d thought of him as invincible and strong; he could beat me at most any sport and seemed to possess unlimited energy. Then, as I watched him nearly die from an incorrect dosage of chemotherapy, something changed about my perception of my dad. He wasn’t fragile … life is fragile, and no matter how strong or healthy he was, my dad could be brought down by a disease (or its cure). Well, his body, at least. He stayed in good spirits, having faith in God’s ability to heal him or take him home. He’s been cancer free for over 20 years.

Now it seems as if we’ll be facing cancer again. This time, my mom, who has been careful to be screened for possible cancer, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Gratefully, it is in the early phase, stage one, and pea-sized, so she has more time to consider possible options for treatment, but the gravity of the situation hasn’t fully set in yet for me.

At first, my mom made light of her diagnosis, joking with friends and family and making certain that none of us was too worried about her. In fact, with so many people at their church currently going through grave medical trials—four with lupus, for example—my mom was hesitant to even let people know about her own situation. In light of all the difficulties that others in her life are facing, she felt as if her needs shouldn’t even be mentioned. To ask for prayer at such a time of great need for others would seem almost selfish, she reasoned.

I wasn’t the only one who reminded her that because we are all a part of God’s family, it is our privilege and responsibility to “bear one another’s burdens.” A heavy backpack doesn’t get any lighter just by observing the heavy loads that others are carrying, even if those loads seem heavier than our own. God’s family is a community, and as such, it helps carry the heavy loads that weigh down the members individually. We are not created to be out of fellowship with other believers, and true fellowship involves the honest sharing of needs between each other and the humble acceptance of the loving help and prayers that flow within the bonds of fellowship.

Since first being diagnosed, my mom has had several additional tests and consultations with many knowledgeable medical professionals, providing her with the information she needs to help determine the best course of action to fight the disease. But she is increasingly aware of the need for prayer throughout the entire process. It is for this reason that I humbly ask for your prayers for my mom, especially for the following:

  • Healing—God is our Great Physician, and just as surely as He created us and formed us in our mother’s womb, He can surely put back together a body that is falling apart. God alone is the Miracle Worker, and we can ask Him anything, while expecting Him to answer.
  • Wisdom—Much wisdom is needed when the possible courses of action are so varied and the choices vast.
  • Character—My mom is most interested in learning and growing through this experience. As she told me, she wants to see how God is going to use this time of uncertainty to bring her closer to Himself as He gently shapes and molds her character.

Thank you for being a vital part of my family by caring for me and praying of those affected most by my incarceration. I am grateful.