Over the past few weeks I've experienced having a melanoma diagnosed. It had developed from a mole on my back, and may or may not have been sun related. It would be decades since I had that area of my torso in direct sunlight, but melanomas can occur from sun exposure, or a single case of sunburn years before. Moles too can spontaneously change. As a result, I had a biopsy, surgical excision of an area of tissue on my upper back and removal of a lymph node in my armpit. Thankfully the results were excellent- the surrounding tissue and lymph node were cancer free. I can proceed with life as usual.
This is the second time in my life that I've experienced cancer. The first was endometrial cancer in 2000, which required more radical surgery- removal of my uterus, ovaries, appendix and associated lymph nodes. Again, the cancer had not spread to the nodes and the prognosis was good. My children were much younger then and I was so thankful to be given the opportunity to see them grow.
As I look back on some of the major challenges that I've faced in my adult life, which incidentally coincides with most of my Christian life, having been born again at 22, I give thanks to God that He has been with me all the way through them. I also think that in my case, God has allowed some of these experiences to be not as severe as they might have been.
I've had two episodes of cancer, neither of which required chemotherapy and both of which have had an excellent outlook following surgery. I've had two other acute illnesses requiring hospital treatment and both times bounced back to good health in a short time. My husband and I have faced the challenges of parenting a son with a significant disability and seen him succeed in many areas. We are so proud of both our boys. Our marriage has been through some very testing times, yet we have by the grace of God come through them to have a happy and loving relationship.
I realise now more than ever that being a Christian does not guarantee an easy walk through life, far from it. We still live in a fallen, sinful world with Satan attacking and tempting wherever he can. What belonging to Christ does guarantee is that even in the hard times God is leading and guiding us through, allowing us to move through them in order that our relationship with Him becomes deeper, our dependency upon Him stronger. What Satan means for harm, God uses for good. He uses bad experiences to grow us and to witness to others.
Prayer is our lifeline. The Bible is our map. The Holy Spirit is our guide. God- Father, Son and Spirit is our beginning, our journey and our destination. One day we will be with Him in Heaven, praising Him eternally, with no more tears or sorrow or pain.
I have so much to be thankful for. Thank You, Jesus.
Don't you know? Haven't you heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God;
he created all the world.
He never grows tired or weary.
No one understands his thoughts.
He strengthens those who are weak and tired.
Even those who are young grow weak;
young people can fall exhausted.
But those who trust in the Lord for help
will find their strength renewed.
They will rise on wings like eagles;
they will run and not get weary;
they will walk and not grow weak. (Isaiah 40:28-31)