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Daily Devotionals

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This devotion reminds me of Eddie, the strength and courage he showed us through his cancer. He knew he belonged to God. Thank you God for Eddie and his witness.

Fighting Fear With Faith and Laughter

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Cancer isn’t funny.

But humor is healing.

As someone who has gone through breast cancer — mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstruction — and gratefully come out the other side (OK but a little lopsided), I’ve learned firsthand that laughter helps.

Big time.

From baldly going where I’d never gone before to losing 30 pounds in 30 days the chemo-diet way, humor has been an effective weapon in my fight against this disease that is no respecter of persons.

The cancer survivors I’ve talked to over the years say what helped them through their ordeal was faith and often humor. I agree completely. But this is not to say I laughed throughout my entire cancer experience. I certainly didn’t.

Yet, throughout most of my cancer ordeal, people kept marveling at my “good attitude” and wondered how I could stay so positive and upbeat during the experience.

The answer is God.

The other answer is they didn’t see me that lonely, terrifying night at 3 a.m. in the hospital following my second chemotherapy treatment, when I fearfully confronted the very real possibility that I might die.

Even though my husband, Michael, was asleep on a hospital cot right next to my bed, I didn’t want to wake him, because as much as he loves me, I knew he couldn’t prevent death from claiming me.

I’d never felt so alone. Or so scared.

Frantically, I grabbed my Bible from the nightstand and started paging through it as I inwardly cried out to God, help me, help me.

And He did, with the words of Psalm 18:6a, 16-17: “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help … He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me”.

Chemotherapy and death were my foes that were too strong for me, but God promised He would rescue me, and my terror subsided. As I continued to read His Word, the Psalms were echoing the cries of my heart to God: “I cry to you, LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge … Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name” (Psalm 142:5-7a).

In that moment, my fear was replaced by a wonderful sense of absolute peace. I knew with a complete, unshakable assurance that my Lord would rescue me.

I didn’t know how, only that He would.

Whether that meant healing me or taking me home to be with Him, I was no longer afraid, for I belonged to the Lord.

I am His, and nothing can change that.

Not cancer.

Not chemo.

Not death.

Yes, death could claim my cancer-ravaged and chemo-riddled body, but it could never touch my cancer-free soul. In Deuteronomy 31:6, the Lord promised He would never leave me or forsake me: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

He has never left me, and I know He never will. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

Lord, Your faithfulness endures forever. Your lovingkindness is without end. You teach me to laugh when joy is hidden. You turn my sorrow into gladness. Thank You for using my life to help others and to heal what was intended to harm. I praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

When someone is suffering, it’s hard to know what to say or do. How would you like another to respond when you are going through tough circumstances?

Is it hard for you to have a sense of humor toward what is painful? Ask God to be gentle as He shapes your understanding of His peace and grace alongside what He permits you to walk through. And share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.”

Job 36:15, “But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”

Jo Ann Steward


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