Facing Cancer – Life in Review – Thankful This Thanksgiving

A little over a month ago I received a phone call from my doctor that my blood tests indicated probable cancer. I had been feeling sick for about a month and went in for blood tests. They told me that the lab work indicated that I might have a rare form of an aggressive cancer that is most times fatal. My whole world stopped. Every thought for the future, all my dreams and aspirations suddenly vanished. Feelings of devastation, loneliness and desperation all washed over me. I thought, “I may not live to see my grandchildren grow up!” Thoughts of enjoying my children as adults, and growing old with Gracie would now suddenly be taken away from me. Every time I thought about it, it was all I could do to even manage to breathe.

Your whole perspective on life changes when you are told that you may not have much longer to live. Every moment became more precious to me. I scolded myself for all the things that I had put off in my life, meaning to do at a later time, telling myself if I had to do it again, I would not waste the opportunity to “carpe diem” – seize the day.

My physician made an appointment for me to see a specialist. I called the clinic nervously to make the appointment. When I was told it would be almost two weeks before the doctor could see me, I was livid. I was so disturbed by what my primary care physician had told me that I wanted to start treatment that day—I couldn’t wait two weeks. Told by the medical clinic that there were no openings until then, I got off the phone very upset.

I spent the next two weeks trying to figure out how I could squeeze 30 years of life into 6 months or a year – no matter how I sliced it, there was just not enough time. It wasn’t dying that I was afraid of, I was afraid that the time I might have left would not be enough to give and share the things that I wanted with my loved ones. I felt tremendous fear about what would happen to my family once I died. I found myself in despair, as comfort escaped me.  I was distressed that I might completely disappear from my family’s lives and experienced fear about their lives without me. I just had not given to them all that I had wanted to in life.

I spent fourteen days in a season of life review, taking the opportunity to prepare my mind for the end of my life. I prepared my mind that in the next six months I would close old conflicts, seek forgiveness, and try to fulfill my life’s goals. It seemed to be a daunting, overwhelming goal. I prepared myself for the warm embrace of my Good Shepherd.

The days passed slowly at a snail’s pace until the day of my appointment. I sat nervously in the doctor’s office, my heart about to implode. The doctor came in explained the results of my previous tests, and scheduled surgery for a biopsy.

As he sat and discussed my case with me, he indicated that there might be a slight chance for positive test results and prescribed two weeks of medication for me. I would see him again on Nov ember 19. I had to face three more weeks without knowing, but I held on to what I now believed was a glimmer of hope that I would be ok. The inch of chance that he gave me became a mile of hope in my spirit.

Now I have prayed some earnest prayers in my life, but I can honestly say that I have never felt closer to God than I did for the next two weeks. As I took the powerful medication, it made me feel ill, and my stomach gnawed at my insides. I prayed that no matter what God had decided for my life, I would embrace it.  I just told Him what I wanted that decision to be. I wanted to live. I even prayed please. I promised Him that if he prolonged my life I would step up plans and began to accomplish His plans for my life and not dilly-dally about wasting precious moments meant for my family and my Lord.  After two weeks of meds and a week before my return visit and scheduled biopsy, I went in for more tests. I was told I would get the results in six days.

Monday, November 19, at 2:15 p.m. came faster than expected. As I sat on the bed in the examining room waiting on the doctor, the Lord spoke to my heart and let me know that nothing but a breath, a moment, a comma separated my life from life everlasting.

Life, soul, God, past, present, future, death, eternity

Not insuperable barriers, not semicolons, just commas.

He walked in, smiled, and told me that I did not have cancer after all, and that everything was good. Even after he told me I had to ask again, “so I don’t have cancer?”  He told me “absolutely not”.

So this Thanksgiving I am especially thankful, probably more so than on any other Turkey Day that I can recall. I have been granted the chance to spend many more with my family and friends and I plan to take an assessment before every Thanksgiving of my life to ensure that I am on the right track, and fulfilling God’s plan for my life. I feel like God has brought me back to life. My cancer scare experience has shown me the importance of relationships in my life and helped me see what really matters. It has been a wondrous opportunity that has allowed God to show me some things I have missed in my life, and the opportunity to get on track.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future with hope.

Like I have felt this last month, do you ever feel so tired, worn out, broken, stressed and discouraged that you feel like you can’t even make it through the day? Do you ever fear facing tomorrow, and feel like you are completely spent, totally done?

Sometimes in life it seems that the only experiences that we are having are all bad ones. There are times that we fear of what tomorrow will bring, and our life is a disaster, and we are living in crisis. Do you ever feel that life has drained all the energy from you and you find yourself wiped out from the stress that you are dealing with?

Jeremiah felt that way when he cried out in

Lamentations 3:49-51 The tears stream from my eyes, an artesian well of tears, until You, God, look down from on high. You look and see my tears. You listened when I called out, ‘Don’t shut your ears! Get me out of here! Save me! You came close when I called out. You said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’ “You took my side, Master – You brought me back to life!

Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

This Thanksgiving – Let us be Thankful  

Many times as we are faced with difficulties with our marriage, family, and jobs, it is hard in the flesh to have a feeling of thankfulness. Many times in life we get discouraged and cannot see or feel thankfulness. But be of good cheer, we have a loving God that is working on our behalf and there are things in our lives that we sometimes take for granted that deserve our thanks. Things such as;

  • To those of us that are married, let all be thankful for all the football games/chick flicks we have to endure, because that means the Lord has blessed us with someone to share our lives with.
  • Be thankful for having taxes taken out of your paycheck because it means that you have a job.
  • Be thankful for having the mess to clean after a party, because it means that we have been surrounded by friends.
  • Be thankful for having clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
  • Be thankful for different political views than yours, and for those who complain about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
  • Be thankful when you have to park at the far end of the parking lot because it means that you are healthy enough to walk and God has blessed you with a mode of transportation.
  • Be thankful when you have a large heating bill, because it means that you are warm.
  • Be thankful when you hear someone sing off-key in church, because it means that you can hear, and that they have a voice to sing with joy to the Lord.
  • Be thankful for birthdays, because it means another year you have been alive.
  • Be thankful when you have to wash a load of laundry because it means you have clothes to wear.
  • Be thankful when you are weary or tired the end of the day, because it means you are capable of working hard.
  • Be thankful for anniversaries, because it means another year you are sharing love in your life.
  • Be thankful when for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that you are alive.
  • Be thankful when that person you know is always bugging you for help, because that means you have friends to share your life with.
  • Be thankful when you have to change a diaper or go to a Parent/Teacher meeting, because it means God has blessed your life with the gift of a child.
  • Be thankful when you are asked to give in a special offering for a cause, because it means the Body of Christ is helping those in need.
  • Be thankful when it comes time to pay your rent or mortgage, because it means you have a roof over your head to live in.
  • Most of all we need to be thankful for a merciful God, who became flesh and dwelt among us, and in love, offered Himself up as a living sacrifice for our sins that we might be saved and inherit eternal life.
  • We need to thank our Lord for the very air we breathe, for Him being our Daily Bread, for being the Savior of our soul, and for being the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He is the Lord our God, from who all blessings flow.
  • God works in all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). We need to be able to thank God in every circumstance, good or bad. He is in control and He watches over us as we endure both good and bad times. But always His end result is to bless us. We believe in God, and a risen Savior, we can and should thank him for all that happens to us.
  • Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow. Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.

Because of what we have in Christ, we as believers have a reason to rejoice even in the face of many tests and trials we face in life. Having a joyful spirit is not always easy.  We need to trust our focus and faith in the Lord—His person, plan, principles, promises, and purposes to us as set forth in Scripture. This doesn’t mean life won’t hurt, but even in the midst of our pain, we can rejoice because we know that God is at work and in control on our behalf.

We have a lot to be thankful for indeed. So if the only prayer you can say is thank you, it will be enough.

I am especially thankful for my grandchildren Lilah, Mia, and Greyson Miles – My grandson’s picture is below.

My Grandson Greyson Miles

Categories: Comfort, Dreams, future, God, Jesus, Prayer, Renewed Strength, Thankful, Troubles

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32 replies

  1. What a beautiful heartfelt piece of your your soul you have reflected here in your writing.

    I am thankful and I want to thank God for sparing you and for giving you another chance to live life to the full and to always have a grateful attitude regardless of your circumstances.

    Very inspiring and much to learn from these words you write today.

    God bless you


  2. Wonderful!!! Thanks be to God!! Thank you for sharing this part of your journey…and I am glad you are well!!

  3. Praise The Lord Brother Darrell for I prayed without knowing what trouble you were in, as I had not received a reply for my request for collaboration . It is amazing how He leads in green pastures and beside the stii waters, and yet sometimes He leads through the valley of the shadow of death and that is when our faith is proven, stretched and we realize that He has been there all the time and nothing, nothing can happen to us without His permission, and if we trust Him, He will see us through in His love – for all things work together for good to you who love The Lord.

    This moving testimony should be spread far and abroad to the glory of God, as there are many today in many countries who are facing the struggles you faced and many will face them in the future. I would like to help spread your testimony further by posting it on ChristianBlessings if you approve. Will you?

    I pray you will have many, many, more Thanksgivings for God, family and yourself – your testimony how awesome it can be – you in His hands!

    • I didn’t see a request for collaboration, I must have missed it -I apologize. You are ALWAYS welcome to share my posts. I consider it an honor that you do. I too hope you have many blessed Thanksgivings to share with your loved ones. I appreciate your ministry through your blog and am very thankful for the many, many lives that your words touch…Blessings Darrell

      • Thank you Brother Darrell for your permission to post your blogs on ChristianBlessings and for everyone you will be advised. I shall waste no time to post your Thanksgiving testimony perchance there is someone out there who needs your encouragement on this Thanksgiving day and who is struggling to keep faith.

      • 🙂 Thanks…May God’s mercy and grace bless you and your ministry…Darrell

  4. Perfect testimony for this season. Praise God.

  5. Glad of your continuing good news.

  6. Darrell: What a great story and even greater gratitude list suggestion. we send best wishes. We miss you.

    • Thank you Daniel..I too enjoy reading your thoughts. I relate to you as I read what you wrote in your Truth Letters, and I quote – Such moments strengthen my resolve and my attachment to the inner way. They keep me going when the hard times come and remind me that the source of peace is not within my control. You’ll read accounts of seekers who have passed through phases in their lives when “the well went dry.” They could no longer feel any connection with a higher or deeper reality. Their appeals for help went unanswered. The voice of wisdom was silenced. I have endured such trials. Thank you for sharing your heart for me… Blessings Darrell

  7. Reblogged this on ChristianBlessings and commented:
    Here is a truly encouraging testimony. God works in wondrous ways. You must read this blog, be encouraged and share it with your family at home and in church, your friends and your associates. Be a blessing as you have been blessed

  8. Thank-FULL for your being here, today and always! CELEBRATE!!!! XOXO~

  9. Praise God!!

  10. Your beautiful message left a lump in my throat…your words so touching (as always). Thank you Lord for the gift of writing you have given Darrell. May Our Lord continue to bless you, Gracie and your entire family. You have all been given a beautiful gift….each other.

  11. Praise our LORD JESUS that you are healthy Darrell! i felt your desperation while reading your message. And i just love the reasons you gave for being thankfull. i don’t always think that way. Beautiful picture of your grandson Greyson. Precious gift from GOD. Be well and be blessed brother.

  12. God clearly still has serious work for you to do Darrell. Now go out and do it! Continue to identify yourself with Jesus Christ and perfect the salvation that has been deposited in you through the Holy Spirit.

    Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

    1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

  13. A great testimony which reminds us that all we have is “now”.
    The words found written in Jim Elliot’s journal apply hjere . . .
    “So live, that when you come to die, you have nothing left to do, but die”

  14. I’m a bit ..behind the times here, this was last November … I’ll catch up :). Firstly, may God continue to bless you and keep you and your family all safe and in His care. As well, while the experience is not something I’d choose on my worst enemy, there is that old cliche’…. a blessing in disguise. The experience clearly changed the way you think, act, and plan. You life can only be the better for it, For many of us, we try our best to genuine ‘feel’ thankful for each moment, we genuine try desperately not to take our time, our family, or blessings for granted. I believe however only those people who have had such a scare, have experienced so intimately near death experiences – they all have a higher wisdom that the rest of us can only hope to achieve. God Bless.


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