Update :: by Grant Phillips

On October 17, 2015 I posted a note that due to my wife’s illness I would not be posting any articles for a while and asked for your prayers. Your prayers have been heard and are deeply appreciated. We both thank you from the bottom of our hearts and ask that you continue to keep her in your prayers. They are still coveted.

August of last year my wife and I were informed that she had cancer. We moved into Hope Lodge in September and her treatments of chemotherapy and radiation began.

November was a trying month. When the doctors discovered that her blood counts fell to zero, I had to get her to the UK emergency room and she spent the next twelve days in the Markey Cancer Center hospital. I moved us out of Hope Lodge this same month and we were allowed to go home on the 16th.

Home Health started once arriving home and ended in January of this year. During this time the doctors told us that the radiation would continue working for about six months, so the effects from radiation should be gone by the first of May.

From a CT scan in January we found out that one tumor was gone and the other had diminished by one half. When she receives her PET scan in April, we are praying that the remaining tumor is even smaller or completely gone.

This is just a very quick recap. I’ll just say that I’ve been with her constantly and she has endured tremendous suffering. I heard someone say that sometimes they (doctors, medical treatments, etc.) just about have to kill you to get you well. Not everyone with cancer goes through the same experience though. For some it is easier, and for some it is even harder. The one thought that stayed with us continuously was how anyone could go through this without the Lord to lean on.

During most of this time we stayed at Hope Lodge in Lexington, KY because the doctors wanted us close in case of an emergency. In Debbie’s case the emergency came, as I have already mentioned, when her blood counts dropped to zero. Anyway, we gained several new friendships from others who were also receiving cancer treatments. Sadly, two of those dear friends have since passed away.

Another thing that jumped out at us while at Hope Lodge is that most were very receptive when talking to them about Jesus. They were eager to listen. Friendships were formed quickly with people from all walks of life. The common denominator was suffering and death, which reminded me of the Church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11). When looking down through the pages of history and even in our day, the Gospel is more desired when people are suffering and dying. They want to hear about Jesus, because He offers Good News that overrides the pain. He offers real hope, for this world and the next.

The Lord said He would cause “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).” We who know Him can say along with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)

So many times things happen to us in our lives that we cannot understand. A few things we should understand though, especially Christians, are that we are all going to die, unless the Rapture occurs first. God did not bring ‘bad’ upon the world; we did through the original sin. He came, died and rose again for any who will put their trust in Him so we can have eternal life with Him. And lastly, He is always in control.

Why do some go home (Heaven) seemingly early, while others remain? I don’t know. I think of Phil, Doug, Roger, Wade, John, Betty, and so many others who had so much more to give but the Lord took them home. We have seen suffering on a grand scale, as many of you have also, but the ones who belong to Jesus will be comforted.

One person said to Debbie, “Why you?” She responded by saying, “Why not? I’m no better than anyone else.”

Sometimes people say, “Why? Why you? Why would God allow this?” Maybe it is to help us grow in Him through trust. Maybe it is to help us find real peace. Maybe it is to avoid greater suffering that only God is aware that could be ours. Maybe it is to be a witness of how we depend on Christ through a difficult time. Maybe it is so we can know first-hand the sufferings of others. I don’t know.

Isn’t it amazing that we often take credit for the good things in our life, but when something bad happens, it’s God’s fault? Again, God didn’t create this mess, we did. However, He has done everything in His power to provide us a way to get through it and have real life with Him in Heaven.

I reiterate the real question on Debbie’s mind and also mine is, “How do those who don’t know Jesus get through the hard times in life without His presence? The thing that kept us going, and still keeps us going because it isn’t over yet, is the presence of God and His unbreakable Word that we can rely on.

When Debbie and I are suffering from Satan’s blows, there’s nothing like the Word of God and prayer for strength and comfort. Many, many of you know exactly what I am talking about. You have suffered, and maybe you still are. Maybe you have lost a loved one. But as a Christian we have somewhere to turn. We have hope, and our greatest hope is in a life more real than we can comprehend while on this earth. I always think of what the Apostle Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1Corinthians 15:19)

Those without Christ are “most to be pitied.” They have nothing. Nothing but a future more horrible than anything this old world can throw at them. No one to lean on. No one to trust. They only have what little they can hold on to in this present life; i.e. nothing.

I am back to the point now where I am starting to write articles again, and Debbie is looking forward to being at that level of health where she can return to work cancer free. Again, please keep us in your prayers.

I’ll close by answering the question, “Has any good come from this for Debbie and me?” Despite all the suffering we have witnessed and personally experienced, the answer is most definitely “Yes!” It has brought us closer together as husband and wife, and even more importantly, it has brought us closer in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.


Grant Phillips