Cancer: can you be grateful for it?

I’m sitting with a lady who I’ve never met before. She just walked through our church door today with a friend, and she is flowing with Jesus.

Lilian tells me that she is riddled with cancer, but what she says next makes me want to cry.

“I am so grateful for it.”

She is so grateful to have cancer.

“It has let me tell so many people about Jesus, and so many people in the hospitals can see the peace and calm in me.”

As I listen to Lilian’s story, I am reminded of all of the things in my life that I consider to be trials.

Moving. Leaving friends. Family illness. Math. Being the strong one in relationships.

And all of these things seem trivial to what Lilian has been through.

“When I told my husband of thirty years that I had cancer, he turned around and told me that it was fine since he didn’t love me anyway.”

And yet she is so grateful to have cancer.

Lillian and I sit and talk for a while longer, and I am amazed more and more by her trust in Jesus. She states several times that she knows God could heal her if he chose to, but she is happy to live and die with cancer if it brings God glory. 

A friend and I pray for Lilian, asking God that He would heal her- but more than that- that he would show himself through her to everyone she meets. 

As we part, I ask Lilian if I can share her story. 

She responds, “Yes! But tell them this- when my grandmother was pregnant with my mother, she tried to get an abortion. And it failed. God’s hand has been on my life from the beginning and I know that he has a plan for it, cancer or no cancer.” 

With tears in my eyes, I hug her goodbye and head home.

Her words stay in my head for the next few days, as questions play through my head.

Do I trust Jesus enough to let him use my life however he wants, through whatever he wants?

How can I do that now?

*Image credits to

4 thoughts on “Cancer: can you be grateful for it?

  1. This went straight to my heart, Acacia! My Grandma actually died of cancer back in 2012, and it was a real blow for me. I just couldn’t get why God would let that happen, but seeing how peaceful she was through all of the chemo and the hardships has really inspired me. Her favourite Bible passage was Psalm 23, and that contnues to show me how to rest in the Lord


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