Back On The Roller Coaster

When asked why they love to write, some people say, “Because it relieves stress”, “Because it makes me feel good” or “Because it is what I was meant to do”. In my case, I write for all of those reasons.

Today however, I write because of grief. I was at a Weight Watchers meeting this morning when I got a call from my daughter. She called to say that Grandpa had just called saying that Grandma had cancer.

roller coaster

My heart automatically skipped a beat. Did I hear her correctly? Grandma has cancer?

My roller coaster ride with cancer started many years ago with my brother Steve.

We had always been close but when I got married a state separated us. I live in Minnesota and Steve in Iowa.

Even though it seemed like we weren’t as close, we really were. One day when I was taking some kids to church camp, my brother called me on the phone to tell me he had cancer.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at that time. That is a phone call you just don’t forget. We started a roller coaster of living with my brother’s illness because cancer is something you just don’t do alone.

The roller coaster ride ended last December 21st when my brother Steve died. Again, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I got the call.

cancer How can a simple word strike so much fear into a person’s heart?

I am still not over my brother’s death, it was just last December.

How do you move on from such a thing?

When my daughter called me today, the same fear that I felt for years for my brother was back. How do I free myself from this awful disease that seems to be relentlessly pursuing me?

When I talked to Grandma today she seemed to be alright talking about the diagnosis. “How can she take this so calmly?, I thought. But how else could she take it?

grief No amount of screaming, crying or anything else can change the facts.

Our trust is in the doctors who care for us and in the God that we praise.

Not every encounter with cancer has to end the way it did with my brother. There are many, many cancer survivors. I just can’t help but to feel fear strike my heart like a poison arrow.

prayerWhen I spoke with Grandma on the phone today I told her that she wouldn’t be going through this alone. We would be with her 100% of the way.

She said, “That is what I needed to hear”. What we can do for those suffering with cancer is never material.

I told her that I would pray for her each and every day and that I would get others praying too.

When my brother died of cancer, I did not get angry at God. Why? I guess because I trust in Him.

I know that He knows what is right for us because I believe he knows the big picture.

After my brother died I was reading the Bible in the book of Isaiah. I read from chapter 26, verse 19 and I was suddenly filled with joy.

Isaiah 2919The verse read, “But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For the life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!” Isaiah 26:19 NLT

I was so struck by this verse that I wrote Steve’s name by it in my Bible.

I know that not every cancer diagnosis is a death sentence.

I know that God works through our doctors to give them the latest and greatest knowlege for healing.

And I also know that when we hear the word cancer, we don’t have to cringe or shudder. Because when we have God, we also have faith, hope, love and strength. These are things I pray for each day.


These are the things I rely on God to provide for me.

Some people pray in the morning, some at night, I pray continually. For 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT says, “Never stop praying”.

Other Bible versions say “Pray continually” NIV or “Pray without ceasing” ESV.

Whatever version of the Bible you use, the message is the same.

God loves you the same today, yesterday and always. Hebrews 13:8

He is there for you. Pray to Him and pray often. He is your strength, your hope and your future. Amen.


Author: jmlarcom

Student of Theology at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, Mn.

2 thoughts on “Back On The Roller Coaster”

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