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This Page is dedicated to Paw Paw Bridges who lost his battle with cancer on October 7, 1972.

I pray that one day we will find a cure for this disease.


Battling cancer is a serious struggle, but one that you never have to face alone. God is with you in the midst of your pain and will help you get through it.

Here are some ways you can connect with God while battling cancer:

* Give yourself time to adjust to the shock of your diagnosis. Pray for God to give you grace to stay calm.

* Know that disease is part of our fallen world, but that God can redeem your experience of illness. Incarnated as Jesus, God experienced many different types of human suffering, so He fully understands the pain you're going through. He has promised always to be with you no matter what circumstances you encounter, and He can bring healing as well, in situations He chooses to heal to accomplish His purposes.

* Forgive yourself and others for what happened that may have caused your cancer. You can't change the past, but you can go into the future with freedom if you forgive.

* Don't automatically expect to experience the worst - lots of pain, then death. Only God knows what will happen, despite a doctor's prognosis. Hope is real.

* Research oncologists in your area and ask God to lead you to the doctor that's best for you.

* Accept your feelings. Don't feel guilty about experiencing negative emotions such as anger or anxiety. It's natural to experience these feelings; God understands and will still love you even when you're feeling negative emotions. Know that there are no magic formulas for making you feel better. Healing often takes time.

* Ask God to care for you and trust that He will respond with love in every way.

* Ask the Holy Spirit to make the words of the Bible come alive for you so you can hear what God wants to say to you through Scripture about your illness.

* Seek out the support of friends and family members.

* Understand that sometimes only God can meet certain needs. Don't blame other people who aren't emotionally equipped to help you as much as you would like. Realize that God will fill in the gaps.

* Make the most of your time, living life to the fullest. You will have some - and perhaps many - limitations while you're sick, but whatever you can still do, continue to do. God has more for you to experience on earth for as long as He allows you to remain here. Pursuing new experiences will reduce your pain.

* Don't feel guilty about not being as productive as you like. Realize that you won't be able to accomplish as much as you did when you were healthy, and lower your expectations accordingly. Concentrate just on what matters most.

* Don't worry about changes in your appearance, such as losing hair due to chemotherapy treatments. Look at physical changes as battle scars that show you are a brave veteran of life.

* Participate as much as possible in your treatment plan, such as by changing your diet or making time for humor in your day.

* Pray frequently to keep your communication line with God open.

* Ask God for healing, but leave the decision up to God, trusting that He will do what's best according to His purposes.

* If your illness has revealed personal weaknesses you hadn't previously been aware of, view them as invitations to grow and ask for God's help to do so.

* Ask God to help your friends and family perform responsibilities they must take over from you while you are sick.

* Rather than grasping for happiness, strive to find joy - that deep inner confidence that isn't dependent on circumstances.

* When you aren't aware of God's presence with you, recall times when you have sensed His presence.

* Listen to the messages your body sends you as it reacts to food, medications, the need for sleep, etc.

* Know that your pain is temporary and that there will be no pain in heaven.

* Ask God for patience to wait during times when waiting is required.

* Ask God for courage.

* Even though you likely don't feel like praising God, decide to praise Him anyway for who He is simply because He is worthy of praise. Doing so will help you break through your fears and help you focus on God's unfailing attributes.

* Decide to be a fighter, and commit to battling cancer with all your resolve.

* Realize that God is your only ultimate means of support, and stop trying to derive support from things apart from Him. Eliminate anything in your life that obstructs your relationship with God.

* Seek out beauty in nature. It will help you focus on something more positive then your pain.

* Let go of your fear of the future. Ask God to help you face it with hopeful expectancy.

* Don't be afraid to die; heaven is a wonderful place. But don't consider suicide, because only God knows the right time for you to leave earth and doing so before your time will hurt God, yourself and others.

* If your cancer has gone into remission, realize that it will still take a while for you to fully heal, physically, mentally and emotionally. Take the time you need.

* Thank God for the lessons you have learned through your experience with cancer, and ask Him how He would like you to bless others with what you have learned.

Cancer survivor Rusty Freeman is pastor of Johnstown Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, Ohio.

Adapted from Journey into Day: Meditations for New Cancer Patients, copyright 2000 by Rusty Freeman. Published by Judson Press, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1-800-4-JUDSON.

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