I still remember the first time I heard the dreaded “C” word and how it quickly changed my life.
My father was a healthy, 70-year-old man who enjoyed working hard. He loved traveling with my mom, working in his garden, and spending time in the mountains of North Carolina. He was always available to help a friend and had just completed his third roofing project that year.
But something wasn’t right. He began to have a constant pain in his knees. He chalked it up to all the roofing projects and the time spent on his knees so, as usual, he put off seeing a doctor.
The pain was unrelenting. Finally, he gave in and agreed to have it checked out. And so, the year-long journey began. He had numerous tests, various doctor visits and attempted fixes, but still no concrete answer for the source of his pain.
My father’s overall health began to decline, so my husband and I encouraged my parents to come live with us and see a specialist at Duke University Hospital. We desperately needed an answer, so they agreed.
It was December, and Christmas was right around the corner. Most of my friends were busily decorating their trees, working on gifts for friends and family and preparing for programs at their churches. I, on the other hand, was busy getting my parents settled in and helping drive them to doctor appointments and various testing.
The test results showed that the bone in my father’s legs had become very thin, like a spider web. His team of doctors moved quickly to schedule surgery so a steel rod could be inserted in his left leg as reinforcement and to help prevent future breakage. As well, a biopsy was to be taken during surgery, which would hopefully provide a long-awaited answer.
The surgery went well, and we received the biopsy results.
“The biopsy shows you have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and it is in the bone and bone marrow.” Not necessarily the answer we had been hoping or praying for, but there was no more guessing.
I love the words to the old hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul.” The writer, Horatio G. Spafford, understood what it meant to have peace, a peace that passes understanding. He penned the hymn after the tragic death of his four daughters at sea. His wife survived and “with a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul“ (www.sharefaith.com).
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrow like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. (verse 1)
This life is full of trials and sorrows. As I entrust my worries to God, He promises that I will have unexplained peace; peace that goes beyond anything I can explain. I have hope. He has overcome this world.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (verse 3)
God loves me and desires a right relationship with me. I am pardoned = Jesus paid the price for my sin. I have decided to follow Jesus. Praise God I have life! Eternal life.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
But Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; (verse 5)
Life is short. Who knows what tomorrow holds? I have peace knowing God does. He has numbered my days. I should live each day boldly sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and longing for my eternal home. That is my goal!
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).
“You (God) have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer” (Job 14:5).
“For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die” (Philippians 1:20).
It’s been eight years, and my father is still fighting cancer. He is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. I have peace because I know it is well with his soul.
Do you have peace? Is it well with your soul?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).