Author: Laura Sumpter
I pushed the off button and tossed the phone onto my bed. As I did tears began pouring down my face. “Not again,” my head screamed. “Not again! Dear God, I can’t…” my thoughts stopped short as quiet tears turned to sobs.
I thought through the words I had just heard. For the second time in three years, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Three years of hope that she was free of this dreaded disease, free of worry for her future health, and free of the lies that Satan put in my heart was instantly deferred. The unwelcome news caused me to question my own faith in ‘Jehovah Rapha’, The LORD your healer.
Dr appointments, phone calls, schedules, and surgeries flooded my brain as I sat there. The last time this happened, my family was on the heels of tragically and unexpectedly losing my dad. My own health had been suffering, my kids were three years younger. It had been hard. But God had sustained, strengthened, and encouraged.
“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear…” Psalm 10:17
God had walked my family through a heavy and hard place. My heart had been broken and put back together, and now I felt as if all the emotions of fear, anxiety, fatigue, and frustration threatened to wash over me, again. But as I sat there anticipating their hit, they never came. This time it was different. Over the next few days as I slowly processed the news, I was horribly sad. I admit I was even mad, because we assumed mom had been healed and we would never hear that diagnosis again. But God quietly whispered to me during those days, “Remember the last time. Remember what you learned. Remember what I did. Remember your praise. Remember the peace.”
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord…” Psalm 77:11
Slowly, carefully I remembered my own hurts that had been healed. I had been prideful in assuming cancer would never touch our family. I had told myself that God would never allow that to happen to us. I had been apathetic to people who were in that place. But then, my family became part of the statistics. For nearly a year, I had sat in a chemo ward with my mom. At that time, we didn’t know if she would be all right. Tests were still coming back, surgeries were still to come, and endless checks and rechecks. I looked around and realized that cancer is no respecter of age, ethnicity, or gender. It effects the youngest and oldest. It is ugly, and it hurts.
I learned that this was the truth of what faith and hope look like. Hope lies in trusting that God will take your broken heart and put in back together. He will go to whatever lengths is takes to heal the places inside of you that are broken, beat up, or bruised. He wants us to be whole, and He wants us to thrive.
“He heals the brokenhearted and he binds up their wounds.”Psalm 147:3
This verse was the promise I claimed during those long days and months. God, the creator of all, brings healing to brokenness. He takes the shattered and gently, piece by piece lovingly puts it back together. Time in His word, prayer, and fellowship are all little ways He uses to heal our broken places.
But my favorite part of this verse is the next part. “He binds up their wounds”.
Binding is thoughtful and it takes time. Binding involves checking on the wound regularly, changing the dressing, providing comfort as needed. It means tending to it until the band-aid can be taken off, where only a beautiful scar remains.
God does this for us. He slowly and thoughtfully takes our broken, wounded places and he tends to them. He whispers words of comfort and encouragement.
He brings peace when there is anxiety.
He brings joy when there is sadness.
He brings love when there is anger.
He doesn’t stop until it is completely healed, and His work is complete.
Yes, there is still a scar– and my mom’s second time with cancer didn’t come out the same as the first. Her scar is bigger, her heart more tender, her faith deeper.
But so is mine. God reached down to me during a time of horrible hurt and He healed my heart. He taught me to trust Him and believe His promises are true at a deeper level. He is the source of hope and healing in any situation.
“Be still and know, I am God”Psalm 46:10
Laura Sumpter is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She has been a teacher for over 20 years and she loves teaching children and women of all ages how to practically apply Scripture. She counts her husband and three children as the greatest blessings of her life. When she is not writing or teaching you can find her at the beach, in her garden, decorating her home, or playing with her family. Laura lives each day believing that God is faithful, no matter the circumstance. She desires to express the deep and satisfying hope that only Jesus can bring. You can find the lessons God is teaching her at her blog for-this-reason.org or on Instagram.