Well it does look as if I have had a holiday but it is not quite the holiday that I would have wanted. In recent posts I have been writing about the adventures I have had on the journey towards fulfilling my calling.
I started with a post called Free will makes life frustrating where I reviewed some of the obstacles I have faced in years gone by. Yes my free will stopped me doing what was necessary to counter someone else’s free will choice. Then there was a post called Making a move where I went through some of the challenges I faced when I did make a move. After that came a post called Is it a calling or a battle? where I told the story of the first thing that happened when I put my head above the parapet when it came to standing up and accepting my calling. Then things went quiet for a while. Problem was that that I was quiet online because life was going crazy offline.
What did happen during my holiday?
I had a cancer scare. Like I said some holiday. I seem to have faced all kinds of obstacles. It has been as if something could be thrown at me to cause me to slow down or stubble then it has been.
This was a real scare. I had a polyp removed and tests proved that it contained cancerous cells. After that came the tests to check if had been contained or had spread. After that came the surgery to remove 6 named parts that to be honest at my age I can live without. It was done via keyhole so I only spent 55 hours in hospital.
They say that if you are going to have cancer then endometrial cancer is one of the best kinds to get. If caught early it is relatively easy to treat. Many women only need surgery. Then the 5 year survival rate for those who are newly diagnosed is 70%. When you think that that rate includes those who were already at stage 4 when diagnosed you can see why it is one of the better ones to get.
What this taught me?
I can remember years ago being told that the enemy can only attack us when we leave doors open. We do something we should not have done or do something that we shouldn’t and we end up with a vulnerable spot. There is a gap in the armour that normally protects us. When God’s enemy wants to stop us in our tracks the one thing that he does is look for our vulnerable areas.
So what had left me vulnerable to this attack. According to the medics one of the issues that made me vulnerable is the fact that I am heavier than I should be. Apparently being overweight had increased my risk of getting this form of cancer so I was 3 times as likely to get it than if I was at the weight the medics say I should be.
I also did some research in terms of what I could do to help myself. I knew about Paster Henry Wright and his Be in Health materials. I had gone to a teaching weekend he did about 10 years ago. I have his big white book but it is one of those books that is full of good ideas and content but is so badly organised that it is hard to get useful ideas from. However, his ideas have been taken onboard by others and put into a more digestable format. One of those people is a doctor from southern Africa called Michelle Strydom. She wrote a book called Healing begins with Sanctification of the Heart.
I read the chapter in her book about cancer where she explained how our thinking impacts how our body works. The basic premise of the ideas promoted by Pastor Wright and Dr Strydom is that if we change the way we think it is possible to reverse disease even incurable diseases.
By the way the changes we make to our thinking are things that are in line with God’s best for us. I mean things like giving up bitterness by forgiving people which is supposed to have a considerable impact on cancer. Or accepting that we are people who are worth loving which would have an impact on conditions that were the result of self-hatred.
Sounds strange a doctor using a book title that includes the word sanctification. It is one of those words that has sort of gone out of fashion in church. OK students preparing for ordination or doing bible based studies will have heard of it before. I borrowed this text from the bible study tools website
The Greek word translated “sanctification” (hagiasmos [aJgiasmov”]) means “holiness.” To sanctify, therefore, means “to make holy.” In one sense only God is holy ( Isa 6:3 ). God is separate, distinct, other. No human being or thing shares the holiness of God’s essential nature. There is one God. Yet Scripture speaks about holy things. Moreover, God calls human beings to be holy — as holy as he is holy ( Lev 11:44 ; Matt 5:48 ; 1 Peter 1:15-16 ). Another word for a holy person is “saint” (hagios [a&gio”]), meaning a sanctified one. The opposite of sanctified is “profane” ( Lev 10:10 ).
There are those in the church who encourage us to be Christlike and this includes the idea of sanctification so it has not been completely lost.
Oops those of us who have been around a while can sometimes forget the basics. Time to have a look at my past and see where there was any trace of bitterness. After all I had come through all sorts of issues and although I had done a lot of cleaning up afterwards there could be a few crumbs lying around.
What I did and what impact it had on me?
I sat still for a while and listened to the thoughts that bubbled up and yes some of them showed that I was still hurting from past events. I had tolerated them because they were the tail end of serious bitterness issues. I had not quite finished the clean up process. There were still some traces of bitterness and I realised that even those minor bits and pieces could leave me vulnerable to enemy attack.
Time to settle down and deal with that bitterness. It was not as if forgiveness was as hard as it might have been because these were the minor issues left over from a major push to overcome bitterness. I knew the process. It was simply a case of getting on with it.
Now I have no proof that dealing with bitterness has made sure that the surgery I agreed to was all that I would need in terms of treatment. However it gave me a sense of actually doing something to help myself. It was not simply being blown along by the winds of fate I was taking control of the situation. It helped me become a better and happier person. In other words, even if it had no impact on the cancer it improved my life.
What I do know is that I no longer have the same level of vulnerability that I once had. I have been around long enough to have learnt that there are many different ways that God’s enemy uses these vulnerabilities against us. The fewer areas of vulnerability that we have the less able he is able to cause us problems. That must be good news.