When I helped my husband through his battle with cancer in 2012-13 (see healedhealthyandwhole.com) it reminded us of the Old Testament story in 2 Chronicles 20 when the vast armies of the Moabites and Ammonites joined forces to defeat King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Israel. Shocked, outnumbered and overwhelmed, Jehoshaphat assembled the people of Judah at the temple, and beseeched the Lord for guidance. Through a prophet, God encouraged them with these now famous words: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” The Lord then gave them the specific military strategy about how to overcome. The very next day Israel defeated her enemies.
When we first got the news of this cancer, we were not only devastated, but terrified. It felt like a menacing, malevolent enemy was advancing to destroy us. (I say “us” because the Bible calls my husband and I “one flesh” and whatever we go through in life, we experience as a team.) Shocked and overwhelmed, my husband and I turned to the Lord for guidance. As we prayed, God gave us strategy about how to overcome, just as He had done with Jehoshaphat. Over a period of weeks, he guided us to specific doctors, treatments, nutrition regimes, and spiritual disciplines. I share with your here some of those strategies:
1. Prayer Therapy
The Spirit revealed to me that ongoing prayer was as important to my husband’s healing as his medical treatments– in fact, we were instructed to think of it “prayer therapy.” This included daily times of individual prayer and weekly times of prayer with others. We often hosted sessions in our home. I remember one afternoon, 20 friends joined us for four hours of intercession. We’d also hooked up a an 800 number so people could call in to pray with us from different parts of the country— and they did! Whenever my husband had his treatments, I also would intercede with a select group of friends one hour before each session asking God to make them exceedingly effective. You can get creative about how you do this for your situation, but just keep the prayers coming!
2. Private Moments with God
There have been times when God has awakened me at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning. I’ve learned to get up and enter into a time of prayer, knowing there is a special message He has for me that demands my undivided attention. Every time, He has revealed some challenge that lay ahead, some spiritual encouragement for the day, or urged me to pray about something very specific. I’ve included these insights into a chapter of my book called “30 Lessons from the Trenches” (healedhealthyandwhole.com) Many friends have told me that these have served them well as they’ve faced tough times of their own.
3. Fresh Strategies for Overcoming
If we are to overcome, every new trial will require fresh spiritual strategies—not the same ones used to fight a previous battle because this time, you are probably facing a different kind of giant. In the face of my husband’s cancer, I practiced the discipline of fasting more seriously than ever before. It helped me be more sensitive to God’s leading. The Scriptures also declare that demons are cast out and strongholds torn down through fasting and prayer. It worked for us because on January 12, 2013, my husband was declared cancer free and he’s been healed, healthy and whole ever since! (healedhealthyandwhole.com)
4. Weapons of Worship and Praise
The call to praising God is found throughout Scriptures because God is magnificent and worthy of our worship. But, in times of trouble, praise and worship are also mighty weapons used to defeat the enemy. In one of the most astounding historical accounts of military strategy, Jehoshaphat sent a choir ahead of his armies. Singing warriors was the strategy! As they went into battle, they praised the Lord in song for “the splendor of his holiness.” No human mind would devise such a plan– it was clearly divine– and it worked! As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the attacking armies and the enemies of Israel ended up slaughtering each other!
We know that God “inhabits the praise of his people” (Psalm 22:3) and that ”the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world; on the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We trusted that our weapons of praise and worship would help defeat the enemy—and they did!
5. Soul vs. Spirit
I used to be utterly perplexed by the verses in James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” When one is in agonizing pain, how on earth are we expected to be joyful? It sounded masochistic. God finally showed me that while our soul may be weighed down with anguish, our spirit can choose to focus on Him, soar like an eagle, truly experience the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and how “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) I would rather go through a trial strengthened in the Lord than depressed, despairing and afraid, which leads to only more darkness. Lift your eyes off your circumstances and onto our great God who is powerful and mighty!
6. God Is Our Healer
While we did everything we could medically, nutritionally and spiritually to overcome this cancer, we also knew that “unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127). So, we fixed our eyes on God to help guide our every step. At the end of the day, all healing comes from Him, however He chooses to do it, whether by divine intervention, praise and worship, or through doctors and treatments.
Whatever your journey looks like for you, I pray for the day when, like my husband and I, you can say, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5).
(If you do not know our story, you can read about it in our book “Healed, Healthy and Whole, How We Beat Cancer with Integrative Therapies and Essential Healing Strategies” www.healedhealthyandwhole.com.)