The very word seems to grip us in our hearts and snatch our breath away.
I know that’s what happened when my younger sister informed me that our other sister (and her twin) was diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s hard to describe the feeling, it’s like your entire world momentarily stops as you process the information. And you’re not really sure how to react… or how to respond… or what to say.
And that’s just the reaction from the diagnosis of a loved one. I can’t even imagine all the thoughts that come to the person being diagnosed. All the terrifying thoughts that come racing in for the attack.
As cancer was attacking her body, fear was attacking my mind. After I went through that initial natural response of receiving devastating news, I then had to renew my mind. I knew there was nothing impossible for God, and that He was completely able to heal my sister.
It’s very easy to sing songs about how great and mighty our God is, but is it still easy to believe that He is powerful, and able to do anything when you’ve just been given a potential death sentence?
I knew what I had to do as her sister and support system – I had to make a decision to stand resolutely on God’s promises that I found in His Word concerning her health. I wanted to be that Faith Cheerleader, always responding with the Word of God as encouragement. I also knew that I needed to find scriptures to hold on to, to carry as my banner of faith, as I fervently prayed for my sister’s healing.
I previously blogged about the importance of words and speaking life, so I never said she had cancer, only that she was diagnosed with it. That slight change in words made all the difference in the world – it was a fact that she was diagnosed, but the truth was she was already healed by the blood of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5).
Jesus followed this same principle in the story of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). When Jesus first received word that Lazarus was sick (diagnosis), his immediate response was that it wouldn’t end in death, but that God would get the glory, and Jesus would be glorified.
THIS was my scripture! THIS is what I held onto through her treatment. She was not going to die, regardless of what the doctor said, regardless of the prognosis, I would not let go of my faith declaration that her sickness would not end in death, but that glory would come from it.
I looked up Glory, since it was used twice in this scripture, to describe both God and His son Jesus – glory means to exalt or offer adoration. Jesus’ response was that God would be exalted and be worthy of praise and adoration, because He KNEW that His Father would heal Lazarus, and that sickness had no power over Him.
Jesus continued to follow the principle of speaking life. In verse 11, he mentioned that Lazarus was asleep, and He was going to wake him. He already knew Lazarus was dead in the natural sense, but chose to speak life over him (facts vs truth). What we see in the natural, isn’t always the truth in the spiritual, so it’s important to stand in faith and speak those things that we don’t see… YET.
The next powerful point I want to highlight in this story is Jesus’ prayer in verses 41-42. Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven, thanking God for hearing Him, and acknowledged that God always hears Him when He prayed. This prayer just blows my mind every time I read it.
Jesus knew God would hear Him. His prayer was spoken in complete confidence that it would be answered. God HEARS us. We don’t have to pray hoping somehow our prayers make their way up to Him. He hears every word we utter to Him. No matter how big. No matter how small. Our prayers are heard. And answered.
The entire purpose of Jesus raising Lazarus from death was so that people would believe in Jesus as a result of this amazing act of power, and glorify God in response. This was a pre-ordained miracle, and everyone who heard about it knew that Lazarus was raised from his grave by divine intervention. God did indeed get the glory from this miracle, and still does as I share this story over 2000+ years later.
Today my sister is thriving. Lazarus had to physically die in order to be miraculously brought back to life, so people would believe in Jesus. I’m not glossing over the fact that her treatment was very difficult for her physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I’m thankful that she’s a survivor and she’s more than a conqueror; I will continue to give God ALL the glory for keeping her through the entire process and healing her body.
Have you wondered if there is a purpose in your (or a loved one’s) diagnosis?
Read Mark 5:34, Mark 5:36, Mark 9:22-24, Luke 8:50, and Luke 17:19. As you read each passage, meditate and think about what Jesus saying about His power and promises to you about your or a loved one’s diagnosis.
Knowing that God hears you, and knowing what Jesus has spoken about sickness, are there any changes you can make to your prayers and what you are believing for?
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…