And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 AMP
I am very happy to report that I came through week one of treatment with flying colors. (Thanks for your mighty prayers this week.) I saw Dr. Khan on Wednesday and he was pleased with my immediate blood work (high white blood cell count – which means low risk of infection and sustained strength) and we are hopeful that my blood work (sent to the lab) will already reflect a decrease in my tumor markers. At this point, there is no way to evaluate the effectiveness of the chemo. We are dependent upon outward observation, faith in the process and the preliminary blood work.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how cancer/chemotherapy work. I wanted to share a revelation that I got in 2009 which was quickened to me again this past week. Many times I have said in the midst of the treatment cycle that I am simply waiting on the moment of resurrection.
A few days after chemotherapy, all the energy simply leaves your body. You don’t really feel bad, but you suddenly don’t have the strength to stand. For several days you simply are forced to surrender from flat on your back and from a position of rest. And then – one day – you simply rise up again. You can’t force the rising and you can’t resist the resting.
I opened this blog with Romans 8:11 which promises life to the mortal body. I know there is an eternal resurrection for those who are in Christ Jesus where we will receive an immortal body that will be incorruptible. (Who isn’t excited about that? No more pain or tears or weakness. Glory to God!)
But we also experience “mini-resurrections” throughout our life. I’m sharing about a physical recovery but I bet you can also identify some spiritual, emotional, relational or even financial recoveries you’ve experienced in your own life.
The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis and it means to rise again, to stand up, to recover from a debilitating condition, rebirth.
I have nicknamed this process resurrection and identified four distinct stages I go through with each round of chemo. Moreover, I am also walking through these stages on a grander scale. They are four overall steps in being healed – in overcoming. Last time it took me two years to reach step four, but every three weeks I am being reminded to trust God for resurrection.
I hope this explanation of how I see the cycle from going down to coming up might help you identify where you are in some skirmishes of your own.
You appear healthy, but you are not.
This is where you cope with the unknown, the surprise of the attack and the disappointment of having to contend for your health (or relationships, emotions, finances, etc.) Everything might look fine on the outside, but inside a full-on assault is underway. Here light comes to darkness and secrets are revealed. For me this is characterized by shock, sadness, disappointment and even a little embarassed.
You appear unhealthy and you are unhealthy.
This is the most challenging phase (for me) as the battle manifests in both your mind and body. Here the outcome is unclear and the treatment (or intervention) begins to take a toll on you in every way. Others can now know that something is wrong and can even be frightened by what they see. Often this is a long phase – a dual (stand off) of sorts – where you and the enemy face off day after day. With time, a certain rhythm of the fight comes and you learn to persevere despite frightening consequences or bad reports. A warrior is born and perseverance becomes a powerful weapon. You learn how to fight and fight well. You begin to understand the superiority of your weapons and the strength of your faith.
You appear unhealthy but you are becoming healthy.
This is where the tide turns and is often the slowest part of the process. Healing manifests from the inside out. It requires time and patience. Just as it takes a long time for your body to overcome, repair itself and feel normal again, your inner man also requires patient forced rest. There is a healing of the mind, will and emotions that coincides with recovery. Here you are securing the treasures of the victory, plundering the enemies camp and developing your identity as a person of recovery. You are well for a long time on the inside before you experience full restoration on the outside.
You appear healthy and you are healthy.
This is the goal and dream of every person who contends with sickness (or trauma or loss) – the ultimate resurrection of sorts. It’s wonderful when you reach the stage where others don’t instantly know the battle you are in. You truly rise again, becoming a symbol of hope and encouragement to others who are in the midst of their own fights. In this phase, you recognize the price of the victory and work to defend and retain all the territory you have recovered. It’s marked by gratitude and a quiet confidence. Now your testimony becomes more powerful than the test.
I have no power to bring resurrection to myself. I am completely dependent upon this mortal body to respond to it’s innate design to live. As I wait, I wait upon the Lord and I remind myself the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. The presence of the Holy Spirit living in this natural flesh is my supernatural advantage. My weapons are divine and my victory is assured. I fight from a position of strength and all around me are those who war with me.
I am grateful to know that I am prone to resurrection rather than to death.
I hope that whatever battle you might be facing, you can find yourself in these four phases and from that position pull on the promises of God. Simply invite the Holy Spirit into that portion of your need and wait upon the Lord. He is faithful and He has overcome the sting of death. If we participate in His sufferings we will also participate in His glory.
Check out this resurrection wording in Isaiah 40:30 AMP
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power; (resurrect)
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.
We will rise again!