I sat in the hospital waiting room reading my small travel Bible. The psalms were an oasis to my weary soul.
I remembered my sister’s shocking phone call, “Mom has breast cancer.” During the long wait for the surgeon, my mind kept going back to the one question I had been wrestling with since I got the news: “Can God really heal my mom’s cancer?”
I prayed for her surgery to go well, but to ask God to heal my mother’s cancer? It seemed too far-fetched for my analytical brain. I prayed the words but deep down, I did not believe them.
“What are you afraid of?” I heard God say.
“Maybe I will look foolish. Or, I will be disappointed if it doesn’t come true.”
When our prayers are small, we expect to see small acts from God.
The surgeon came into the waiting room to give us his report. “It’s the most horrific case I have ever seen,” he said. “The cancer had ulcerated through the skin.” My mom was in denial for a long time. Maybe it was fear or maybe it was cultural, but she did not go to the doctor until it was too late. Doctors couldn’t remove all of the tumor. A mass in the lymph nodes under her arm had wrapped itself around one of the major veins going to her heart. It was too risky to attempt to remove.
The surgeon informed us she had stage IV breast cancer. Most likely, she faced aggressive treatment with 30 days of radiation, then chemotherapy.
As I walked out of the hospital that day, I prayed, “Lord, help me with my unbelief. Help me to be bold in my prayers!” I was extremely concerned with how sick my mom might be during the treatments. So, I also prayed for God to surround her with His mercy.
Weeks later, we learned that the oncologist decided against radiation and chemotherapy. Instead, he prescribed a drug that would slow down the growth rate of the cancer. We were devastated. Surely it was a death sentence for my mom. My online research showed that the five-year survival rate for stage IV breast cancer was 22%. With the advanced stage and no aggressive treatments, I felt sure five years was too much to hope for.
Sometimes God has to show us the impossibility of a situation before He will reveal His sovereignty.
The initial follow-up reports were encouraging. In the absence of radiation or chemotherapy, the tumor in mom’s arm shrank. The oncologist’s decision not to give her these aggressive treatments turned out to be God’s great mercy as she was spared the adverse side effects.
A few years later, we learned the cancer was spreading to her lungs and bones. Again, I prayed for God’s mercy.
During the sixth year of her diagnosis, I received an unexpected phone call from a business acquaintance I had not seen in years. She asked me to consider serving as the treasurer on the local board of a national breast cancer foundation. After praying about it, I knew in my heart that this was a door that God opened because this acquaintance had no idea my mother had breast cancer. I also had a strong sense that God was telling me my mom’s time was getting short.
Two months later, mom finally found rest in the arms of her Savior, completely healed. Completely whole.
Doctors said she should have been in a lot of pain when the cancer spread to her bones. The astonishing thing is, until her final breath, the only thing she took for pain was over-the-counter medication. His mercy was profoundly evident.
Mom may not have received complete healing from cancer but her almost six-year survival was nothing short of a miracle. Grace and Mercy were her constant companions throughout her cancer story; and Grace and Mercy walked her Home.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
When we read Jeremiah 29:11 which talks about God having plans for us….not plans to harm us but to give us hope and a future, we automatically assume that means this side of heaven. God did give your beautiful mother a wonderful future in eternity in heaven and He was gracious and merciful to take away her suffering so that you would have that many more years with her. God does tell us to come BOLDLY before the throne of grace. Like you I ask, but often don’t believe. I join you in that being my prayer…Lord I believe; help my unbelief. God is always capable of the miraculous, but sometimes His miraculous doesn’t meet up with my definition of miraculous. Therein lies the mystery of God. We can bring our prayers boldly before the throne of God, but in the end God is God and I am not. He knows what is best for all of us. When the rubber meets the road, like in the case of your mom’s diagnosis, we are called to trust His sovereignty and His heart of love. Often He only reveals His sovereignty in the midst of impossibility. Thank you for sharing your story that illustrates this so well.
That’s profound to me ‘we automatically assume that means this side of heaven’. thanks for putting a new perspective on one of my favorite verses!
I was thinking the very same thing, Jessica. Thank you, Mei, for this. And all in all, Thank You, God! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Mei Au says
Amen! To Him be the glory!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
The older I get, the more of an “eternal perspective” I have adopted. Certainly in our lifetime, here on earth, God will give us good things, and blessings, and hope….His very definition is “Love” and He can’t deny Himself. But, the Bible also states that” in this world you will have trouble” (due to living in a sinful fallen world) so the ultimate hope and future may not be reached in this lifetime, but in the next.
Mei Au says
Thank you, Beth, for your wise words! => “In the end, He is God and I am not.” Yes! I have learned that He is sovereign but He is always good!
Michele Morin says
It’s amazing how God works, even within the context of heartbreak and deep disappointment, to reveal His mercy to His much-loved children. Thank you for this glimpse of your story and for bearing witness to the miracle of healing that happens at the end of a life.
Mei Au says
Thank you, Michele! So thankful for His boundless mercy and grace. I know the doctors did not expect her to live past a few years because the cancer was SO advanced.
Thank you for sharing your heart with us. You truly touched my heart this morning. Blessings and love to you always ❤️
Mei Au says
Thank you, Stephanie! Praying that you will boldly approach His throne of grace today.
Beth Williams says
God’s wonderful grace & mercy are profound. Even in heartbreak & sorrow God is there loving us wooing us back to Him. My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11. Yes God has plans to give us a hope and a future-a future with Him in Heaven. This world thinks of the here and now. If things don’t turn out the way we want then we quickly blame God. “Sometimes God has to show us the impossibility of a situation before He will reveal His sovereignty. ” That statement is ever so true. I was faced with the impossibility of dealing with my dad’s severe dementia-(hospitalized for 1 month). I boldly cried out to God for quick healing-ending in death. God had other plans. He healed my dad & gave him 13.5 more good months to enjoy life. He graciously took dad home to find that “pretty woman-(his wife)” in the picture.
Mei Au says
Thank you, Beth, for sharing your story about your dad. I truly believe that God refuses to be boxed in to a certain way or a certain response. If we knew that if we did these things or did things this way, then God will answer our prayers, we would just see God as a vending machine or a genie in a bottle. We would just check the box and move on to something else. Ultimately, He wants us to be in relationship with Him and trust Him, regardless of the outcome. In my prayers to Him about healing my mom, I learned so much about Him as Healer, physically and spiritually.
Mary Geisen says
Grace and mercy walked her home. God is so good even in the midst of devastating circumstances.
Thank you for sharing your journey of faith and the blessing of prayer. May we all know this deep faith and the love of God in all.
Mei Au says
Thank you, Mary! Amen!
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I sometimes doubt that God will answer my prayers. I used to have more faith. I’m not sure why I struggle so much now. I love your simple prayer for God’s mercy. Lord have mercy on us! We need your mercy so much.
Mei Au says
Thank you, Amber! Praying for boldness in your prayers and for God to explode your faith! He wrecked mine in this journey with my mom’s cancer.
Rebecca Jones says
I enjoyed this story, though I’m sorry for your mother’s suffering, fifteen years ago they told my mother from a mammogram that she had stage 4 cancer, she and I had studied healing, and her response was. ” No, I don’t. ” I walked in her room, and there was profound sadness overtaking me, it was the Holy Spirit, I laid hands on her and prayed. She ended up having a hysterectomy, because she was so run down, and I have no doubt that God healed her of the stage 4 cancer because she refused the report and chose to believe God, Isaiah 53. He uses medicine, surgery, but I have learned not to underestimate my prayers our our wonderful Lord. I pray His love casts out fear, and healing goes over women everywhere today as they believe and receive. Prayer requests, send me a pin on Pinterest or message me on FB.
Mei Au says
That is an amazing story about your mother, Rebecca! Yes, I totally believe now that God heals. I even experienced it recently when a friend laid hands and prayed over my wrist. I had pain for over 6 months every single day and was about to finally go to the doctor. Then this sweet friend from church prayed over it and the pain was gone the VERY next morning. Praise God!
Lynn D. Morrissey says
Mei Au . . . such a beautiful story of God’s grace and His ultimate healing. Cancer has been rampant in our family, so I very much empathize. May the Lord also continue to comfort you in the loss of your precious mother and continue to remind you of her courage and God’s grace. Her story very much reminds me of a dear friend whom I lost when she was but 49. More than the cancer, it seemed, she feared surgery and the treatment initially suggested. In the end, she had none of that. To her last day she was grateful and sharing the love of Jesus. God works in ways sometimes too mysterious to fathom and yet gives us glimpses of His purposes, and always the promise of His presence. Thank you for your courage in sharing this difficult journey w/ your mom.
Thank you for sharing your story today. My mother, too died from beast cancer that had metastasized into her bones. At one pt. her shoulder bone broke and was left hanging when she was pushing in her chair after eating her lunch. The cancer that attached itself to her was found out late as well. She, though would not allow anyone to attend her appts. with her, not me, her only daughter or any of her friends and often did not take her meds b/c she said she did not have money to pay for them. I was told 2 yrs. after her passing that the cancer was treatable and could have given her many more yrs. I believe if we are all honest at thought we have when we pray, that there are times we have an element of unbelief, though perhaps at that moment we don’t always know we are walking in it. God knows, we are human and as humans, we often try to figure everything all out and/or we want what we want when we want it. And, too, based on things that have happened to us in earlier years, things we have gone through and experienced, some not so good, what we learn about God, about His Word, Jesus and His gift of the Holy Spirit to us, our knowledge and belief of the Word become skewed and twisted making it difficult to believe God and what ALL He has done for us. We have learned, we have learned not to trust anyone and sometimes that includes God for some of us. Often, we may believe God doesn’t love us, doesn’t hear us, isn’t interested in us or the things that matter to us. Subconsciously, we are believing these lies and don’t know it. God wants us to trust and believe in Him. In telling the story about you mom, God answered you prayers, but, not in the way(s) you wanted which happen which often happens as we want things now and in our time and our way. When asking God for something, I am learning to ask for what I want, need and in the timing that I would like to see it come, but ultimately say to the Lord, I would love to receive an answer in the way I want, but Father, I know you have my best interest in your heart/mind so I yield to your way, your time, etc. If you do not answer my prayer in the way I wanted, Lord, I believe you heard my prayer and I am thankful that I can trust you and I believe you are at work now, bringing things together in answer in your time and in your way. It’s hard when we are not seeing any good movement, in the right direction, but it doesn’t mean we lack faith or are not believing in His Word, though either. God sometimes uses the things we are praying about to bring about a change in you or someone else or to grow us in a given area.
God is Good, even when don’t always see His Goodness or understand. One thing for sure, when it comes to healing, we will receive the healing for which we have prayed, for ourselves and those we love or care about. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Blessings to you Mei.
Mei, Oh my goodness I didn’t realize I wrote so much! Please forgive me!
Thank you Dawn …long but so how I feel! Esp when u our past has been shaken, faith can be too. Still i believe God is in my midst and those i love and lift to his throne. And he loves endlessly. Mei, Thank you I love your precious,story and quote about sovereign! I searched this topic out tonight..it found me.
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
Thank you for your beautiful sharing of a deeply personal story.
I think I would have to say that trusting God’s Sovereignty over all that I don’t understand has been a lifesaver in my own life trials through the years. There are many times I have prayed, Lord, keep my faith strong!
Sarah Geringer says
Thank you for sharing your beautiful, encouraging story of faith. I am so sorry for your loss, but I know God will use your story to lift many others up. Blessings to you!
Carolyn Queen says
Thank you Mei Lu. It is a beautiful testimony of God’s ultimate perfect plan. He thinks outside of the box I put Him in. I also doubt and have times when my faith is weak and I lack full trust in God. Especially when I pray for myself. I’ve been sick for 5 weeks now. Praying for healing but my faith is weak.
Your words have encouraged me today. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your story. I know God is with me. He will hold me and see me through. Thank you.
Nancy Ruegg says
Praise God his Grace and Mercy were your mother’s constant companions throughout her cancer story; and praise him, too, that Grace and Mercy walked her Home. Those closing thoughts of yours, Mei, brought tears to my eyes. What a precious promise to all of us whose hope is in him: his Grace and Mercy are our constant companions whatever we face; his Grace and Mercy will see us Home. Hallelujah! It’s also praiseworthy that you are able to focus on such beautiful truths in spite of the grief of loss. May you take great satisfaction from the positive impact of this story you’ve shared.
“Grace and Mercy were her constant companions throughout her cancer story; and Grace and Mercy walked her Home.” Thank you for this beautiful devotion. I lost my cousin to breast cancer 5 years ago. I know it’s not the same as losing your mom, but we were close and she was just 31 years old. I miss her terribly but thank God for this reminder that she is healed and whole and in His arms.
Becky Keife says
Mei, thank you for sharing your story with (in)courage today. I will never get over God — how He meets us in our greatest need and shows us His goodness and mercy in unexpected ways. I think of Jesus’ words that ring so true in a heart-aching story like yours: “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” Thank you for helping us all to take heart today. So glad to have you here.
Betty Draper says
A year ago they discovered I had blockage in my heart, turned out in three major arteries. Two they could by pass, the one in the back of my heart they could do nothing with. The doctors kept saying, now tell me why you waited so long to see about this”. I had been having symptoms for over a year but just thought it was anxiety. Seen my doctor again yesterday and she tells, me, Betty, you are so lucky to be here, she is not Christian by the way. I was one breathe away from having a massive heart attack before surgery. This was my reply to her and anyone else who speaks to this issue. God is building me a home in heaven and it is not completed yet because if it were He take me home. That thought brought me peace a year ago and continues to today. How often my perspective has been so short sighted but somewhere after a few struggles I begin to have an eternal perspective, it softens the blunt of struggles. I am sure up to the die I die there will be trouble because His word says so. So I can count on it but I can also count on that home in the sky. Blessings
Shaneeka Minniefield says
It is hard to tell the difference between anxiety and heart ailments. In heaven, everything is alright. All our problems are solved. What is impossible for man is possible for God. Praying for you, Sis. Chin up. Look to heaven, our real home. God’s got you.
Summer Rae says
Miss Mei Au,
Your words are a blessing. Thank you for openly and honestly sharing your heart and the words our Savior has given you to share with us. I pray you and your family have a blessed day.
This side of Heaven,
Thank you, Mei, for those encouraging words! I am so sorry for your loss. Like many, I’ve also lost 2 loved ones to cancer – my dad and my sister – and am currently dealing with my daughter’s illness that could take her life if God doesn’t see fit to heal her on this side of Heaven. Please help me to pray for His will, even if it’s not what I want. My biggest prayer, however, is that her heart is right with God in the event he decides to take her to be with Him.
Shaneeka Minniefield says
Mei, this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing this. It greatly encouraged me. Really.
Thank you for sharing this. I am so sorry for your loss and I know it wasn’t easy to share. Cancer, a word I soon learn to dislike. My father in law was diagnose with stomach cancer and less than three months later, he had surgery, never recovered from surgery and ultimately went home to be with the Lord two months later. It went so fast, we had barely any time to think about anything. And then six months later, my best friend/cousin of over 40 years died from a brain aneurysm. We just laid her to rest this past weekend. I miss her terribly as I sit here and think how I will go through my lifetime of not seeing her again. Grief is extremely harsh at times. I feel as if I am getting stronger and then it hits me like a ton of bricks and I find myself with the immense pain once again. I heard people have said, time will lessen the pain. Time is all I seem to have now. So cherish each and everyone we claim to love, for one day, I know the Lord will need them back. Praying with you and know that even when we don’t understand all of this, God’s plan is always greater than ours.
Jessica Diaz says
2 weeks ago, I got the news my mom has this very thing. I am in VA and she is in FL. It is heartbreaking. They thought it was a small tiny spot but when they did the MRI, they found more spots that they now need to test. It does not help God feels so far from me for other reasons. She is so strong in her faith. Thanks for this.