Last week, I got a front row seat to a real-life example. I spent two days with a dear friend at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Janet has been battling myelofibrosis, a rare form of leukemia, for about 7 years. Of course there have been days of discouragement. Days when her trust in God faltered. Days when she wanted to give up. But those days have been the exception. Overall, Janet has clung tight to God and praised Him every step of the way.
Janet has participated in a number of clinical trials. She’s endured regular chemo. She’s been in and out of the hospital, increasingly so the last couple of years. And the last month or so the doctors have also been treating her for a fungal infection in her lungs.
This aggressive treatment has required almost daily trips to the hospital for intravenous medications. Many of Janet’s friends have pitched in to help her husband with the hospital trips, which often take all day. I took Janet to MD Anderson last Wednesday and Thursday. I wanted to help and encourage her, but she blessed me instead.
Witnessing Janet’s journey has encouraged me spiritually. I have seen her faith grow stronger and stronger especially the last six months. She leans on God every moment. She knows that God is with her in the hardest times (Isaiah 43:2). She gives Him praise for everything, big and small. She never hesitates to talk about Jesus with the medical personnel, hospital employees, and other patients. Her trust in God and her love for Jesus naturally flow from the intimate relationship she’s developed with her Savior – a relationship that’s been forged, refined, and strengthened through the crucible of this terrible illness.
On Thursday of last week I walked with her down the hallway to the bathroom, as she pushed the IV pole ahead of her. I stood outside the bathroom door, there just in case she needed anything. When I heard her voice I asked if she was okay. Her reply: “Yes. I’m just talking to Jesus.” That’s how natural it is for her now. Prayer, praise, telling others simply naturally flow from her constantly.
Yesterday on Facebook, Janet shared her most recent health status. I want you to hear this in her own words:
Today was the last day (day 13) of the first round of treatment for the anti-fungal medicines, which necessitated my coming to the hospital every day. Lee and I met with Dr. M this morning to get the CT results and the plans for future treatment.
The doctor showed us the CT scan from 13 days ago and then the one they took yesterday. The spots in my right lung are significantly better and the spots in my left lung are gone. Dr. M said he had no expectation that these medicines would make this big of a difference this quickly.
I told him lots of people have been praying for this situation. He said, “I believe this medicine is helping, but please tell your friends and family to keep praying.”
It was so exciting to see his face as he acknowledged the power of prayer. Praise be to God that in 13 days of praying my situation has radically improved. God is all-powerful and this doctor had to recognize His power. Thank you and glory to God for your prayers.
I have no doubt Janet would still be praising God, even if the situation had not improved. She would still be testifying about the power of God to the doctors. She’d still be asking the nurses how she could pray for them. She’d still be singing praise songs with the lab techs – I got to do this with her last Wednesday!
God works our faith in the hard times. But in the hard times He also proves our faith works. And Janet’s faith is working. And God is proving it to everyone that crosses her path.
How has your faith been tested and proven in the hard times?