As many of you know, my wife, Hope, is battling cancer for her third time. Life is hard. And sometimes, very hard. But God is still greater than any trial any of us will ever face. And if you trust Him, and if you understand some things about trials, you will emerge victoriously.
That’s why I want to share with you three things I’ve learned about how to successfully walk through trials.
Here is the first way to triumph in trials:
Just because one prayer didn’t get “answered” doesn’t mean there aren’t MANY more miracles to be had! But if you don’t pray you won’t experience any of them! James says,
“You have not because you ask not.” James 4:2
Jesus knew we would get discouraged when prayers seem to go unanswered. That’s why Luke 18:2 says,
“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”
So, what should you do when a prayer goes unanswered? P.U.S.H.
Now, you might feel that I don’t understand your situation, or that I’m being insensitive, or that it’s too late. But I am writing this to you while Hope and I are at her chemo infusion – yet I am still praying and believing.
The apostle Paul should have felt abandoned by God and depressed as he sat in jail, and brutally beaten, simply for doing the will of God. But instead, he wrote a letter to the Philippian church about having joy!
David wrote some of his best Psalms while being chased by his enemies. This is how you get breakthroughs! Never give up! (To hear a message about never giving up, click HERE)
Here are a couple of examples of answered prayer during this trial already: (To read many other amazing testimonies click HERE)
There are a couple of guys in our church, Mike and Mark, who prayed for my wife to be healed, along with many others, but did not see the cancer disappear. They could have decided to lay low and not take risks like that again. I mean, they prayed for the pastor’s wife to be healed from cancer and now she is on round two of sixteen rounds of chemo! That’s bad press which should keep them from praying for anyone else. But that isn’t their M.O.! Here is a testimony of a guy they prayed for just a few days later:
Man’s leg grows out, knee and toes healed
“Mike and I walked up to a man in the parking lot today. He was stretching and he was clearly uncomfortable in his body. We asked him how he was doing and got chatting and then asked if he had pain in his knee. He told us he had a crazy accident – he fell off scaffolding and had reconstructive surgery that cost $110,000. He was experiencing pain in his knee. I asked him what the pain level was from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme pain). He said it was a 3. We prayed a simple prayer in JESUS name and then asked him to check it. He said it felt better and that the pain was now at a 1. We celebrated God’s touch and asked if we could pray again for complete healing. I asked if he had discomfort in his right hip and he said he did, so we prayed there too. After that Mike asked him if his legs were different lengths after the surgery and he said they were. We told him we had seen legs grow out and that God wanted to grow his leg out and bring his body back into alignment (the way He designed him to be). We knelt, took his shoes off, and lined his legs up — sure enough one leg was clearly longer than the other. We prayed and his leg grew out. What we didn’t know is that his toes had been locked since February (no movement at all, with numbness in his ankle and calf) and immediately they came unstuck (feeling and movement restored). This is when he lost it. He started jumping up and down and did a plyometric jump up on the bench and then up on the table. At this point his girlfriend walked over and he began to tell her what God had done. She confirmed that he hadn’t moved his toes on his right foot since the beginning of the year. He was overwhelmed by God’s love. He kept giving us these huge man hugs and couldn’t believe the change in his condition. What a privilege to partner with God to see the hurting healed!”
Here is another beautiful testimony which shows us the goodness of God during trials:
Last week Hope posted, “How Can I Help? 11 Ways to Help Someone Going Through A Health or Other Crisis”. (To read this post go to https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hopeettore and scroll down to October 3rd entry)
In this post she suggested that donating monies for medical bills, for travel to and from numerous doctor visits, for groceries, and for the increased need to eat out/get take-out due to Hope not being able to cook, etc. would be a very practical way to support those going through difficult times. And our family has been deeply touched by the way people have been responding to that post, including giving us money, gift cards, groceries, and even donating their sick leave!
But about a week ago, as the reality of going through five months of radical chemo treatment (again), then surgery, and radiation, was beginning to set in, Hope mentioned how she wished she had a flower garden she’s been wanting since we moved into our home nine years ago where she could sit, pray, read, and meditate. But every time we’ve had the extra money to do it, it goes to something else. I’m sure you can relate! So, our front yard is just an ugly, brown, weed-covered, gopher infested wonderland. Therefore, I went into my bedroom, got on my knees, and asked God for the money to do it. (A few years ago, I asked a landscape architect friend of ours what it would cost, so I prayed for that exact amount.) Two days later, Hope’s mom came home from church with a check made out to Hope for the exact amount I asked for! The person who gave it said that God specifically told her to give that amount to Hope. So, I am in the process of designing and building her garden.
Some might ask why God answered that prayer and not the other, more important prayer. I don’t know. But I’m not going to stop praying, and that’s the point of this post.
Note: Some might think it was inappropriate for me to ask for money for Hope’s garden, especially when people have been donating money to help us with practical needs. I understand that. But I also understand that God is good and does things way beyond our wildest imaginations, biggest prayers, and best sensibilities. (Think Ephesians 3:20). I also understand that if God didn’t like the prayer, He could have kept it. But because God loves Hope, and because I didn’t stop praying and believing, that is where Jesus and Hope will be meeting as she goes through this valley.
He loves you too. Don’t stop praying.
P.S. For those of you who would like to keep updated on how Hope is doing you can visit her blog at: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hopeettore