Tag Archives: Scripture

the lie called cancer

God? Or Doctors?

(a three-minute read)

Here are some thoughts based on material from my upcoming memoir, The Lie Called Cancer (A Divine Comedy) being released in October. Yes, it’s a comedy. Sign up here to learn more.

[I promise that all email communication from this website will be covid-free. I always wash my hands before clicking <send>.]

Last year at this time I was being treated for cancer; I was just about to enter my fourth round of chemotherapy. A group of faithful friends gathered regularly in prayer for me. They certainly encouraged me, and I’m convinced their prayers helped tip the balance toward my complete recovery.

My prayer request this week in 2019 was to focus on God’s promises, not on the physical discomfort and weariness in my body. Those were transitory. ‘This too shall pass’, and all that. Despite these truths, and the comfort they brought, my life was in crisis.

Crisis provokes one of two responses in the human heart, faith or fear. My choice? I can either turn to the God I know and lean on Him in faith, or I can turn away from Him and blame him for my problems. Faith or fear, my only options. There is no ‘wait and see,’ because even the grossest procrastination dumps me into one or the other in the end.

I knew the trial of cancer treatment would be spiritual as well as physical. So I appeared to face a stark challenge. Do I approach healing spiritually, supernaturally and trust God? Or do I attack it physically and trust the doctors? Was it possible to do both? It was a much more complicated question for me than you might think. But the answer was simple.

I stupidly thought that these paths were mutually exclusive; one path leading to greater faith, the other dead-ending in despair. My foolishness was undone by a friend.

Until it closed due to covid concerns, I would spend my Tuesday afternoons as a volunteer (and later, as a client) at the Healing Rooms of SW London. This particular week I was on a ministry team with Catherine Q. After the ministry time ended she shared with me a scripture that was given to her specifically about healing.

‘Someone shared this with me when I was very ill. It can speak about the healing power of communion – how remembering Christ’s sacrifice can bring physical healing, not just forgiveness of sins,’ she said.

‘For we who are in this tent (figuratively, the mortal body) groan, being burdened, not because we wish to be unclothed, but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal might be swallowed up by life.’ 1 (insert mine)

That life that swallows us? It’s Father God’s love through the sacrifice of His Son. What I receive at the communion table swallows me up within His greater life. I go there with nothing; I leave with everything. What is mortal (the dead parts in me) is swallowed up by life and made whole again!

This section of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church talks about living a faith-filled life. This seemed particularly apt as I underwent treatment for a condition the physicians said had a 50-50 chance of killing me within ten years. I read this passage often in the ensuing weeks. It’s worth quoting more fully here, (in The Message translation) so you know the faith I was trying to cement into my heart to offset the fear running laps in my head:

‘So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.’ 2

I’m instructed to walk by faith, not by sight, to rely on the invisible more than the visible.3 I see myself blindfolded, groping forward cautiously. Forget what I can see with my eyes, what does my heart see? Moreover, what does it mean?

It means making decisions based on faith, even while I’m surrounded with the facts of the case, coming at me like a pack of yapping dogs. It means trusting God, and His promises first, while simultaneously listening to doctors.

Walking by faith, and not by sight. I’d be doing a lot of that in the following months.

To receive more information about The Lie Called Cancer in the coming weeks, click here.

1. 2 Corinthians 5:4
2. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
3. 2 Corinthians 4:18 ‘while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’

Intrepid Reporter

An Obituary

(a two minute read)

2020 Journalism: It’s not what I was taught at university. My old craft is dead; I pray for its resurrection. This is no longer a reporting of facts. Rather its regurgitating a narrative already written in the editorial meeting.

1970s: ‘All The News That’s Fit to Print’
1980s: ‘Dirty Laundry’
1990s: ‘The News is What We Say It Is’
2000s: ‘We Report, You Decide’
2010s: ‘When News Breaks, We Fix It’
2020s: ‘All The News That Fits Our Narrative’

2020 Journalism: Writers use a paint roller instead of a scalpel. They cover over the truth with a uniform ideological coating instead of revealing it bit by bit for logical consumption.

2020 Journalism: Writers use a shotgun and make excessive noise while shredding facts to create holes to peer through at whatever truth just died behind the target.

2020 Journalism: A walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is put on endless loop in an echo chamber. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing and confusing everything. (apologies to W. Shakespeare)

2020 Journalism: Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame writ large by people hired for being blessed with great hair and teeth.

2020 Journalism: In name only.

So – Where is the hope?

Any hope we have lies in the truth. Not ‘my truth’ or ‘your truth’ or ‘truth that is “okay for you.”’

Turn off the internet, the TV; put down the newspaper, the magazine. Stop listening to and sharing rumor and gossip. Do all this and sit in the silence. Then ask God to bring you the truth. He will.

So where is the wise philosopher who understands? Where is the expert scholar who comprehends? And where is the skilled debater of our time who could win a debate with God? Hasn’t God demonstrated that the wisdom of this world system is utter foolishness?

For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of Himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross in order to save those who believe it.
– 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 (TPT)

The Word Made Flesh

(a two minute read)

The Holy Spirit shook me awake one night to teach me about something in the fourth chapter of Proverbs. It reads:

20 My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their body.

Here’s what He said about it: God’s word is powerful and sovereign. His word was powerful enough to create the heavens and the earth and everything in them, including you and me. He didn’t form the universe with His hands, but with His words.1

His word is authoritative and always accomplishes what He declares it will do.2

What He says, goes. One might say that God always gets the final word.3

That all-powerful and creative Word of God was made flesh in Jesus Christ.4 The Word was made flesh in Jesus, and by God’s Holy Spirit, the Word is also made flesh in us.5 What God the Father spoke, His Word, came alive in Christ and walked the earth to save you and me from our folly.6

When a Christian claims (and appropriately uses) the spiritual authority God gave us, what we see is the action of someone who is steeped in the Word, steeped in Jesus.

When she prays or teaches or makes a declaration and quotes Scripture it’s clear she knows the Word. She knows Jesus.

You’ll know that the Word is written on her heart. You’ll know that it directs and guides what she knows, says and believes. It means that an intimate relationship with Jesus is present, directing and guiding everything she knows, says and believes.

Jesus is the Word. The more we know the Word and live the Word, the more we personify Jesus and live His life through our own. This is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1. Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26
2. Isaiah 55:11
3. Revelation 22:13
4. John 1:14
5. John 14:15
6: Mark 10:45