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Diagnosis: Cancer (True story)

A real 7-year cancer survivor gives 3 steps to beating cancer.

That nagging pain, that growing mark on your skin, that insidious lump that just appeared from nowhere, that small biopsy, that questionable lab report, that urgent call from the doctor’s office to come back immediately - all these can lead up to a diagnosis every one of us fears: cancer.

Please allow me to share my story for just a few minutes. It started as a nagging pain in the chest, but heart tests showed clear. Then two months later I found it: an egg-sized lump on my chest wall. What happened next? Three courses of action: the diagnosis of the trouble, the determination of the treatment, and the decision to take action.

To accurately diagnose the trouble the doctor first had to discover the cause by examining and aspirating the “cyst“. It appeared benign, but in a few days I got that dreadful phone call to see the doctor immediately. I already knew. That was the second step: acknowledging the fact that I did indeed have a rare, extremely aggressive cancer. Denial would have only served to worsen my condition. Then came the hardest part, realistically recognizing the prognosis. Without an equally aggressive treatment I would die. At this point I felt quite inadequate. I readily admitted that I was unable to heal myself. I needed outside help.

To determine the treatment we had to study the options. Surgery - that ghastly lump had to go. That was a no-brainer. After that, the oncologist and I would research further treatment. (At this point I could have chosen an easier way to treat myself rather than the tortures I was sure He would find for me. I could have just tried diet, exercise, rest, acupuncture, reflexology or some other treatment ineffective for cancer, but I knew better.) Doc entered all my conditions into the computer and a number of tried options were given. He then selected the ones he thought best and offered me the final choice. To make my choice I had to believe in both the group of doctors: a surgeon, an oncologist, and a radiation oncologist; and the treatments that had been proven most effective against my form of cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Then I had to decide to take action. I had surgery (no sweat). I had chemo. (I knew he would find a way to torture me.) I had radiation (not bad). The point here is that no matter how much I believed in the doctors and the treatments, none of them would help until I took action and actually did it. The end result: I’ve been cancer-free for almost 5 years. I am a cancer survivor.

One thing that helped me cope was my oncologist’s frankness. He explained both the possibilities and probabilities, both good and bad. So, in order to encourage you, please allow me to speak frankly about something far more serious than cancer: the troubled world we live in. The same three steps apply.

Diagnose the trouble. To discover the cause we examine the sight and do a biopsy. We see violence, war, crime, poverty, etc. The pathology report comes from the Bible. Rom. 3:10, 12, 23 say, “…There is none righteous, no, not one… There is none that doeth good, no, not one…For all have sinned…” The cause of the lump was cancer. The cause of our world’s problems is sin. Then, in the same way I acknowledged, “I have cancer,” you must acknowledge, “I have sin.” Like cancer, denial will only serve to worsen the problem. Next, we must face the prognosis. With both cancer and sin we can say, “Without treatment, I will die.” “For the wages of sin is death,” (Rom. 6:23). “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, (Heb 9:27). While cancer leads to physical death, sin leads to eternal death - a separation from God in darkness, pain, and torment - hell. The final admission is, “I am unable to help myself. I need outside help.” “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves (Eph. 2:8) “…According to His mercy He saved us…” (Tit. 3:5).

Determine the treatment. To do so we must research some options. How well does man do as a doctor? Let’s check out his credentials starting with good works. The Bible says our salvation is…not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:9). Not by works of righteousness which we have done… (Tit. 3:5). OK, how about psychology? “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, (I Cor. 3:19). Religion? “But we are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, (Isa. 64:6). One last try - a good environment. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food,” (Gen. 2:8-9). But… “unto Adam He said, because thou… hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life,” (Gen. 3:17). Adam had a perfect environment, but still he sinned. Therefore man‘s credentials fail. Good works, psychology, religion, and even perfect environment are all ineffective treatments.

Since man failed, we must seek another physician. Let’s do a background check on Jesus. Heb. 4:15-16 says, “For we have not an high priest (Jesus) that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light,” (John 14:6). “This man (Jesus), because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore, He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them,” (Heb. 7:24-25). “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” (Heb. 13:8). Pretty impressive credentials.

Next, let’s research for more effective treatment. Heb. 9:22 delineates it clearly, Without the shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness).” Do we go back to animal sacrifices? No, but consider. We have already established that Jesus was without sin. Heb. 9:12-14 say, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and goats… sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” (Heb. 10:10). “This man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God,” (Heb. 10:12). Notice that this sacrifice took place only once. The blood of Christ, offered once, is the only effective treatment for sin.

Let’s back-pedal a moment. No doctor, no matter what his reputation, can treat once he has died. Did you notice something about Jesus’ qualifications? What about the words “continueth ever“, “unchangeable“, “the same yesterday, and today, and forever“, and “ever liveth“? Unlike animal sacrifices this Sacrifice is still alive. How? Three days after Jesus was crucified and buried, He rose again! In Matt. 28:5-6 “the angel said unto the women, Fear not; for I know that ye seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said’.” These are the most powerful words in the entire Bible! This is the difference between Christ, the only true Great Physician, and any other religious leader. The most impressive degree ever!

Decide to take action. You may acquiesce. “The world is sinful. I am sinful. I am helpless. Man is an incapable doctor. Good works, psychology, religion, and good environment are ineffective treatments. The only capable, still-living physician is Jesus. The only effective treatment is the blood of Christ shed one time on the cross.” Good start, but you’re not finished yet. Remember, just believing that surgery, chemo, and radiation could cure me was not enough. I had to act on what I believed. The last half of Rom 6:23 continues, “… the gift of God is eternal life.” Eph. 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.How do you get a gift? You must reach out and take it, right? “Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him,” (Heb. 7:25). “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,” (Rom. 10:10). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Rom. 10:13). Take, come, confess, and call are all action verbs. You must act on what you believe.

Cancer is a formidable, physical enemy. It is possible to beat it by getting a correct diagnosis and early treatment. Sin is an absolute, eternal enemy. It is only possible to beat it by getting a correct diagnosis and effective treatment: claiming the blood of Christ on the cross, His burial, and His powerful resurrection; and claiming His punishment as your substitute. However, unlike cancer treatment, this treatment can never be too late. You can call on Jesus anytime, anywhere, no matter how bad the case. You wouldn’t allow a malignancy to grow unchecked, would you? Will you allow the malignancy of sin in your life to go unchecked?

©2011  Merilee S. Waddell

Diagnosis: Cancer WORD SEARCH


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