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Healing Love – my story

“You’ve got cancer” was not the result I wanted to hear following the discovery of a swollen gland under my arm. I knew it could be a possibility, since I had already had one encounter with melanoma a couple of years earlier. I was pregnant at the time, leaving my options very limited… but I had one strong tower to lean on – my faith in Jesus Christ and His healing power.

  • “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[1]

  • “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”[2]

  • “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”[3]

  • Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.[4]

  • “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken down and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”[5]

2001 was a most unusual year in my life, and one that the Lord used to draw me into a far deeper walk with Him – it has changed me forever…

I began the year full of excitement… I was just a few weeks pregnant, and we were expecting our first baby on September 21st – the same day as my brother and his wife were expecting their second child. We were thoroughly enjoying sharing the journey of our pregnancies together. My pregnancy so far had been wonderful, with no sign of morning sickness – just an enormous appetite! However, in February, when I was 10½ weeks pregnant, we found out that the baby had died, and I had to go to hospital to have a curette. That was one of the loneliest nights of my life.

The following few weeks were also very hard, as I remained un-pregnant, and my sister-in-law continued to grow and feel the first kicks. I cried out to the Lord, and spent time waiting on Him. During those weeks, I began to get a very strong sense that something big was on its way, but had no idea what, or how to pray for it. I asked my Bible study group to pray for me, but since I had no idea what I needed prayer for, I just asked for them to pray in tongues for me, because the Holy Spirit knows what is to come, and also knows how to pray for us.

Four months later, in June, I found out that I was pregnant again. The baby was due on February 25th, 2002. We were so excited that I was pregnant again. I was very well through this one also, and we were full of anticipation. We made it past the 12 weeks in fine form, and the 13-week ultrasound showed that all was well – our little baby was doing fine!

Just before that, I went on a retreat with the worship and creative arts team from church, when I felt God calling me to fast for 40 days. Since I was pregnant, I was unable to fast from food for any time, so instead, I turned the TV off and spent a lot of extra time reading the Bible – I fasted on the words of the Lord. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[6] I had a strong feeling that I was about to go into a much deeper walk with God, but didn’t know exactly what that meant! That weekend, unknown to me, God also called my husband, who was at home, into a deeper and more intimate prayer life – God is so good!

In the weeks before the retreat, my husband’s mum had been having some discomfort in her oesophagus, and had been having some tests to find out what was causing the pain. The week after the retreat, we learnt that she had cancer in her oesophagus and stomach and it had spread onto her liver. My husband’s parents were told that there was only a slight chance of recovery, even with chemotherapy, so instead they organised to go overseas for some treatment, and left in August for three months.

In September, at 16 weeks pregnant, I was doing a routine gland check, and found a lump under my left arm. Two years earlier, I had a melanoma mole removed from my back, and then a further operation to remove a large section of skin from around the mole site. After the operation, the doctor taught me how to check the lymph glands, as an easy self-check following the cancer. When you are pregnant, it feels like everything in your body changes, and new lumps and bumps begin growing as part of any normal pregnancy! So I thought the swollen gland could be to do with my pregnancy, but went to my doctor to check anyway. A fine needle biopsy showed that it was a return of the melanoma.

 

CONQUERING CANCER

God is always in control, and knows exactly what is about to happen – nothing takes Him by surprise. He had already called me to fast, so by this time, I had turned off the TV, and was spending a lot more time reading my Bible.

We are also fortunate enough to have a doctor who is a Christian. He pastors a little church and believes strongly in the healing power of Jesus. Immediately, from the discovery of the swollen gland, he spoke words of life and promise into me. He encouraged me to go to the eldership of my church to receive prayer, which I did immediately. Within a week, I also went to two healing services where I had powerful encounters with God. One was at my home church where I was prayed for by a pastor, who himself had been healed from cancer. The other was at my doctor’s church, where a lady who had been healed from breast cancer laid hands on me and gave me what she had received – healing from cancer. I was also powerfully ministered to by a number of other people that God brought across my path, a few of whom He had also healed of cancer. Over the next few weeks, I was also held in prayer by many people.

When I first received the diagnosis, I was shocked and upset, but I still knew that God was in control. I battled with the whole idea for a few days. On that first Sunday in church, I cried out to God with great passion. That night was a restless night, as my mind was very active going over all the scenarios, and worrying and praying. When I finally gave up the idea of trying to get any more sleep, I turned on my light and opened my Bible. The first words I read were: “Do not worry about your life! …Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? …Your Heavenly Father knows what you need. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…”[7] With that assurance from God, I was able to hand the situation over to Him, and I have had an incredible peace about the situation ever since that time.

I continued to really press into God. I spent even more time reading His word and I claimed the healing power of His hand on my life. I especially focused my reading on Jesus in the Gospels. I came to realise that when Jesus lived on Earth, He preached the gospel, and healed many people. I really understood that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”[8] All that He did while He was on Earth and His heart for people, as manifest while He was here, has never changed – it is still the same. “Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”[9] “A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”[10] Reading through the Gospels, there are SO MANY times where Jesus healed the sick. I had not really noticed how often Jesus healed people until I was sick and was looking to Him for assurance and healing – my life depended on it. My desperation allowed the Lord to show me another side of Himself. I realised that if God was real, and if my faith counted for anything, then this was the time for God to prove Himself to me, and for my faith to stand the test – if everything I believed was true, then I had to trust that. Whatever the outcome, I knew that God was in charge and He would be glorified.

After my diagnosis, God organised everything perfectly. I soon had an operation to remove all the glands from my left armpit. Just a few days before I had the operation, the September 11 bombing in New York occurred. Many people around me were absolutely devastated. It was very different for me, because I’d already had the TV turned off for a few weeks in obedience to the Lord’s call to fast and pray. I felt like I was in a cocoon – while it was shocking to everyone around me, the event didn’t really impact on me at all. The Lord had me in a place where I kept my mind on Him, and He kept me in perfect peace.[11] On the morning of the operation, while I was waiting to go into surgery, I realised that it was exactly 40 days since the retreat when God had called me to fast – WOW! – God really is in charge!

When the pathology on the glands came back, it was found that, while five glands were enlarged, only one gland had cancer. God is so good! Since I was pregnant, there were no other tests or treatment that we could do, so I had to wait until after my baby was born (this should have been in five months time) to get medical confirmation of the fact that I was healed. Of course, all x-rays and blood tests came back fine, which I thank God for. Even though all the glands were removed from my left armpit, I have had no sign of lymphedema, which is common following this sort of surgery.

I spent just one night in hospital, during which I was able to minister to and pray for the other ladies who I shared the (very noisy!) room with. The next day I was well enough to go home. The doctor organised the home nurses to come out every day or two to check on my progress after I went home.

Two weeks after the operation, it was my sister’s wedding. Following the surgery, I had a bulky drainage bag attached under my arm by a tube, and it was my prayer and goal to have that removed before the wedding (it just wouldn’t have gone well with my dress!!!) For two weeks, the bag was continually filling up with quite a lot of fluid. I think it was supposed to reduce as time went on, but it didn’t. When the bag was no longer filling up, it could come off. Naturally speaking, it looked like the bag was destined to attend the wedding with me. The nurses expressed their doubt about my goal as the time drew near, but I remained adamant that I would go without the bag! On the day before the wedding, the tube to the bag got blocked, and the bag HAD to come off! The nurse took it out and a ‘whoosh’ of fluid followed, at which she commented, “I’ve never seen that before!” and that was the end of the bag!!!!! God is good!

Three months after the operation, just before Christmas, our baby, Kristen, was born at 30 weeks (10 weeks early). She was fine, and six weeks later, after doing a bit of growing at hospital, she came home! She is the most amazing girl – which I put down to all the prayer we received when she was in me, and the goodness and grace of God!

Just two days after our daughter was born, my mother-in-law died of her cancer. This was a shock to us. She also loved the Lord, and during her journey with cancer, had spent much time praying and reading the Bible. She had the opportunity during those last few months to settle and reconcile many areas of her life. It is sad she had to go, but we have had a great peace about it, even though we miss her dearly. Isaiah said, “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”[12] Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”[13] For her, the first part of this statement applies – she lives, even though she has died, and I know we will see her again. For those of us who remain alive, the second half of Jesus’ statement could apply – do you believe this?

Three years later, I had a PET scan to check that everything was still clear. The scan revealed some activity in the glands in the other armpit. The doctor who had done the surgery and was monitoring me saw the results and was alarmed. He immediately sent me off for further tests. I assured him, saying, “It’s all good – God’s in charge! It will be fine.” This time I stood on my testimony of healing from cancer, because Jesus said, “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”[14] I have healing from cancer, and so, as I thank the Lord for my healing, more is added, so that I have an abundance of healing! I do not have cancer… and even the little I had was taken away! Of course, all the results of these tests came back saying that there was no cancer!

It has been almost five years since I had cancer, and my beautiful little girl and I are living testimonies of life after cancer. I am more than a cancer survivor – I am a cancer conqueror! For my life, I thank the Lord, the Christians around me who prayed, believed with me and encouraged me, and some brilliant doctors. Now I know that my life is not my own – it has been purchased by the stripes and blood of Jesus. What was meant to kill me has brought me a far more abundant life!

For me, cancer was the best thing that has happened, because it caused me to come to a place where I KNOW the Lord so much more and I know that He IS the Lord who heals. Before I had cancer, life was going along very nicely, and I loved the Lord. But since I had cancer, I have a hunger for His word and a zeal for Him that I had rarely known before. I came to know that the source of my life is His words, and the journey of living life for Him solely is the most exciting!

I now know the truth of Jesus’ statement: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.[15] The words that come from God’s mouth are our life. The Father told us, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him![16] For each person, obedience to the command, “Listen to Him!” is absolutely essential. Jesus is our life, for Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Bread of Life, and the Resurrection and the Life. When we listen to His words and put them into practice, we are building our house on the rock.[17]

 

HEALING LOVE

When I had cancer, I found that it can be a very lonely, confusing and frightening thing to face, because it seems everyone knows someone who has died from it – there is a real stigma attached to it. But Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.[18] When I was diagnosed, I was desperate to talk to people who had come through and were living life to the fullest after winning the battle against cancer, and God was faithful in filling that need in my life during that time. From my experience with cancer and from talking about it with people, I have a passion to share my story with others who currently have cancer, to encourage them and pray with them. We have seen many people powerfully touched by God, comforted and saved, and some have also been healed.

If you have cancer or any other form of sickness, use it as an opportunity to seek the Lord. Take your Bible to read during the long waits to see the doctors or when going for treatments, etc! Feast on the words of Jesus! (even if you don’t feel like eating any other food!) Take time to listen to Him as you rest. Buy a Bible on CD and listen to the Gospels over and over, or get someone to read to you. JESUS AND HIS WORDS ARE YOUR LIFE!

I have also included at the end a list of scriptures that I have found on healing. I found many of them while I had cancer. I read them over and over during that time and still read them now.

Allow the Lord to reassure you that He is in control. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you during this time. He may also show you any areas of your life that aren’t right with God. When He convicts you, don’t feel condemned, just repent and ask forgiveness. Jesus died for us, because we were all apart from God. When we open our lives to Him, turn from our own ways and ask for His forgiveness, He is SO PLEASED to accept us. Allow Him to call you into a deeper place with Him.

I often tell people that cancer was like gold in my life, because it was the ‘kick up the backside’ that I needed to get me out of my comfy Christian life, and into the things that the Lord really wanted for me! I would not trade it for anything. It can be the same for you! See this time as a rare opportunity, no matter what you are going through. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”[19]

 

Have you been healed of cancer?

I urge other Christians who have been healed of cancer to pray with people who currently have cancer and give their gift of healing away. This is a gift that needs to be shared. Encourage those who have cancer and pray a very simple prayer with them – “I give you what I have received: In the Name of Jesus, be healed.” Jesus said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.[20] When Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray, Peter saw the crippled beggar, and said, “’Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”[21] We have received healing from cancer, and we have that to give… and you never know what God can do with a few people who take Him at His word!

Also, as cancer survivors, there is a real benefit. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”[22] “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”[23] We have healing from cancer, and by giving it away, more will be given to us – we will keep our healing, and have an abundance of health. If we deny that we have been healed, or hide it, even the healing we have can get taken away.[24] So by giving it away, this is like our insurance policy on our healing!

We are living testimonies of the faithfulness of God in the healing of cancers – we have been given that gift. We are open to being used by God to bring people to know and seek Jesus as the source of their life, to give hope and encouragement to people, and to give away this fantastic gift of life and healing that we have received. Whatever God wants to do with that in the lives of each individual we pray with is entirely up to Him. I do want to qualify this by saying that I am expecting Him to turn up and confirm His word powerfully, and it is up to Him how, when and where He chooses to do that. We are not a counselling service and we are not giving any medical advice, other than to tell the person to continue to follow what their doctors are advising. We will also continue to hold the people we pray with up to God in prayer.

 

GOD IS LOVE

God has also shown me the truth of some of the scriptures about love and about Jesus. When facing cancer, people often battle with fear, but it is written: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”[25] “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love,”[26] because “…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him…”[27]

The battle cry of the Israelites in 2 Chronicles 20:21 was, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” As they marched to the battle, Israel sang and praised, and the Lord set ambushes against their enemies, so that when their army arrived to fight, all of their opponents (a vast army) were already dead! All that was left for the Israelites to do was to carry off all the plunder, a task that took three days, as there was so much!

Facing cancer with a new and deeper understanding that God IS love, and knowing the truth of the love of God despite the circumstances we face, is absolutely liberating, because the truth sets us free. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”[28] Give Him praise and thanks in this time, and know that He goes ahead of us to fight the battle. We also have the assurance of Jesus, who said,

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”[29]

 

LISTEN TO JESUS

When the Lord revealed Himself to the Israelites as “I am the LORD who heals you,” it came with a condition: He said, If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”[30] The Israelites’ healing was dependant upon listening to His voice and being obedient to Him.

To us living under the New Covenant, we do not need to obey anything of the Law of Moses. Paul wrote: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”[31] However, we do need to obey the voice of the LORD who heals us. the Father spoke to the three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration in an audible voice, saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”[32] We must listen to Jesus and put His words into practice in our lives.

The Lord called me to fast, which meant I fasted on the words of the Bible. This was a key to my healing, as I was reading the Gospels, which contained the life of the words of Jesus. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.[33] Our life is in His words – the words spoken out of the Lord’s mouth. Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”[34] The wise man is wise not because he loves Jesus or believes in Him, but because he hears Jesus’ words and puts them into practice. The foolish man may even be a believer, but because he hears the words and does not put them into practice, his house is built on sand and will fall. The rock in this case is the practice of Jesus’ words.

When we listen to and practice the words of Jesus, we are obeying the voice of the Lord who heals us, and our house is built on the rock – no matter what we face, our house will not fall. That is Jesus’ promise.

Listen to Jesus, fill yourself with His life-giving words and rest in the assurance of God’s love. Thank Him for every little sign of healing and health in your body, “for everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.” Take every opportunity to pray for those who need healing. (Jesus healed all, so you don’t even have to wait just for cancer patients to come along!) “Freely you have received, freely give!”

I can be contacted at hs [at] holyspiritsworkshop [dot] com

Please feel free to pass this on to others.

 

With love in Christ,

Rosemary Anner


 

[1] Matthew 4:4

[2] Matthew 17:5

[3] Matthew 10:8

[4] Acts 3:6-7

[5] Luke 6:38

[6] Matthew 4:4

[7] Matthew 6:25–34

[8] Hebrews 13:8

[9] Matthew 4:23

[10] Matthew 8:3-4

[11] Isaiah 26:3

[12] Isaiah 57:1-2

[13] John 11:25-26

[14] Matthew 25:29

[15] Matthew 4:4

[16] Matthew 17:5

[17] Matthew 7:24

[18] John 10:10

[19] Romans 8:28-32

[20] Matthew 10:8

[21] Acts 3:6-7

[22] Luke 6:38

[23] Matthew 25:29. Also Matthew 13:12, Mark 4:25, Luke 8:18, 19:26

[24] Matthew 25:28

[25] 2 Timothy 1:7

[26] 1 John 4:18

[27] 1 John 4:16

[28] 1 Chronicles 16:34

[29] John 11:25-26

[30] Exodus 15:26

[31] Romans 3:21-24

[32] Matthew 17:5

[33] Matthew 4:4

[34] Matthew 7:24-27

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