Where is God, in that moment when your whole world is turned upside down, and you know in your heart that nothing will ever be the same?
Why would anyone who loves us as much as He does allow us to go through an experience as heartbreaking as a loved one being diagnosed with cancer… and then transitioning to Hospice?
How can life just go on after an experience like this?
God has a plan. And while we may not understand it, we are a huge part of it.
If you were chosen to help a family member you love fight cancer, you were handpicked for that mission. I know, so was I. Because we are strong enough to handle it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel that way at first.
In fact, I felt the opposite of strong. I was drowning in all the chaos that comes with this disease, and so exhausted I could barely function. It was a difficult time for my entire family.
I was wondering how I was going to make it through the day, much less the fight.
But then God gave me this incredible and rare opportunity to see life from a completely different lens.
When my dad was first diagnosed with Lung Cancer, things weren’t looking good for us. In fact, right after his diagnosis, several doctors told us that we had “days to weeks” left together.
That was one of the scariest times of my life.
I remember standing outside on a freezing February night and begging God not to take my father. Pleading with Him that I wasn’t ready and trying to be honest about the fact that I was never going to be ready… I needed more time.
In that moment, losing my dad was not an option, and never would be. My only mission was to prove the doctors wrong and gear up, so we could fight. And that’s exactly what we did.
That day began a 21-month fight against cancer that we fought side-by-side until the very end.
And believe me, we put up a good fight. There were some good times and some incredible adventures at the end of his life.
Then somehow along this journey, God changed my heart and showed me first hand some of the things that I wasn’t able to understand on that cold day in February.
I watched my dad go through this ordeal and give this fight every ounce of energy he had. Even though he was getting kicked down to the ground over and over, again.
He was diagnosed with Paraneoplastic syndrome which created a TON of severe (and terrifying) neurological issues for him.
So we had the regular side effects, stuff like constant nausea. And once we got that mostly under control (like pretty much the next day) he got slammed with weeks of explosive diarrhea.
And then there was the terrifying neurological stuff…
- An intense pain in his leg, that eventually robbed him of his ability to walk and resulted in the use of a wheelchair.
- Loss of hearing that within weeks rendered him completely deaf.
- Loss of vision that eventually took his sight (he was completely blind) in one eye.
After months of complications like this… I realized there are things in this life so much worse than death.
This man smiled through all of it and never lost his faith, but he was tired and weary and getting hit with one obstacle after another. He rose to every occasion, and he fought every day because he was a true warrior.
But for months I was anticipating the dreaded conversation when he would tell me that he didn’t want to keep fighting. And as time went on, and as I watched and experienced this situation with him…
It started to feel like I was helping him get back up so that cancer could take a better shot at him next time.
You find yourself in one of those situations that has no right answer.
The best I could do was let him call the shots and follow whatever course of action he wanted at the proper time.
- If he wanted to fight… I was ready for battle.
- When he grew tired and he desperately needed a break, I fought for him.
- And when he was ready for the end of our journey, I supported that decision and tried to make him as comfortable as possible with Hospice Care.
The Lord God gave me time.
Time to process all of this and come to the realization that what I thought was the only answer was so much more complicated than I could even comprehend.
Sometimes in order to do the right thing, you have to do the hardest thing.
Sometimes you have to find the strength within yourself to push past your own feelings and support someone you love when they’ve decided to stop treatment. And, sometimes, your job is to stand beside them and provide all the love and comfort you can, so they can drift peacefully off to Heaven with dignity, on their own terms.
I pray every day for a cure for cancer, so that no one EVER has to go through an experience like this.
But if you do have to go through something like this, I pray that you get to experience the peace as well.
Because of this journey, I am different. I feel and understand things much differently than I did before.
I learned some really powerful lessons from cancer… things you can’t learn or appreciate anywhere else.
Even though the ending may not turn out the way you want it to, it will turn out the way it’s supposed to.
My dad gave it everything he had, but after almost 2 years he was exhausted.
I thank God for His unfailing love. For knowing the words of comfort we needed so we could find the peace that would start to mend our broken hearts. It was a hard time, but we made it through.
And hopefully, we can help someone else move through the grieving process.
These scripture quotations and the power of God helped me through the worst days of my life, and I hope they help you too.
35 Bible Verses for Hospice Patients or Palliative Care
2 Corinthians 4: 11-18
11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,
14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 32: 7-8
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
39 Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 4: 8-10
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
John 8: 12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Isaiah 43: 2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze
Deuteronomy 31: 6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31: 8
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Psalm 23: 1-3
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23: 4–6
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever
1 John 2: 25
And this is what he promised us—eternal life.
John 3: 16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Psalm 27: 4-5
4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock
John 6: 47-48
47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life.
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
John 14: 1-4
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.
John 14: 27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Philippians 4: 6-7
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
Isaiah 4: 13
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Psalm 121: 1-8
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
1 Peter 5: 10-11
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
John 10: 28-30
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Mathew 11: 28-29
28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
Titus 1: 2-3
2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
Romans 6: 4-7
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Romans 6: 23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when son Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
May the words of Jesus bring you peace in times of trouble. In His holy name, Amen.
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