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 (Manna 60: Money)
Believe God and Acknowledge Him
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Believe in God and Acknowledge Him

David Lee—Calgary, Canada


I thank God for giving me this opportunity to share the blessings and grace that He has given me. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the brothers and sisters for all the prayer, love, and care that they have shown me. Without them, it would have been even more difficult to live through the past couple of years.

In late September 2007, I discovered a lump on the right side of my neck as I finished washing my face before going to work. This lump was fairly large, about 4 cm in size. I really had no idea how long it had been there because it was the first time I had noticed it. I didn’t think too much about it but jokingly asked my wife to look at it. She became worried right away and had me make an appointment to see our family doctor.

During the appointment, I could see that my doctor was a little worried but was trying not to cause any unnecessary alarm by speaking casually. She said that she had seen patients in the past who had a certain condition that could cause swelling in the neck. But I knew she was concerned it was more than that because she booked an ultrasound for me in addition to a test for the condition she mentioned.

She kept saying that the ultrasound was just a precaution because she wanted to cover all possibilities and that I shouldn’t worry too much yet. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but I could tell that my wife was a little worried and made sure I made the ultrasound appointment. I truly thank the due diligence of my family doctor because, otherwise, my condition would have worsened with time.

On the day of my ultrasound, I was a little worried. I hoped that it was easy to treat and not anything bad. The thought of cancer was in the back of my mind, but I still thought it was almost impossible. I didn’t think cancer would happen to me, especially because there was no history of cancer in my family.

Perhaps this is what others refer to as denial, but I wasn’t consciously doing it. I believe this is an example of when we are in certain situations, we ourselves don’t realize what is happening. But people around us, like family members and close friends, can see the bigger picture and help us understand it.

In my case, it was my wife who saw what was happening and made sure I did everything necessary to find out what was wrong with me. Otherwise, I would have delayed the tests because I didn’t feel sick, tired, or show any other symptom of illness.

Hoping for Answers

During the ultrasound, the technician was very careful in going through every inch of my neck, not just the area with the lump. This examination took quite a while. At the end of the session, I asked the technician what she saw and she wasn’t able to tell me. She only said that there were some “things” there and that the doctor would take a closer look and let me know.

I realized that she went around my neck several times because there were other masses there. It wasn’t just the large bump on the side of my neck; there were other growths all over my neck. Now there were even more questions than answers.

When the ultrasound results came back, I went to see my family physician hoping for some answers. When I asked her what she thought about the results, she simply told me that there was a large mass about 4 cm in size and other masses as well around my neck. But she didn’t know whether the large mass was cancerous. The other masses were smaller, which was why we couldn’t see them or feel them yet.

The doctor asked me if I wanted to see a surgeon or a head and neck specialist. I was still pretty naïve at that point so I didn’t think much of the choices she gave me. I simply told her to arrange whatever she thought was best.

She made an appointment for me to see the surgeon and mentioned that a biopsy may be required. I did start to feel a little more anxious then, but I doubted that it was anything close to what my family members were feeling. They didn’t share their concerns with me, but I could tell from their faces that they were worried.

When I went to see the specialist, he wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind. During my first appointment, he felt around my neck and immediately said that he thought I had lymphoma.

I remember that I wasn’t that scared or worried at the time because the doctor was only guessing and no tests had been done yet. I still truly believed that God was watching over me and would look after me.

My belief was not just a blind belief in God. It was backed up by experiences of how He had looked after me and my family in the past, especially when my daughter was born with a diaphragmatic hernia in 2003. I knew that there was still a chance that this lump in my neck was nothing serious or just a benign tumor that could be easily removed.


After the physical examination by the surgeon, he arranged a biopsy for me. When the results came back a week later, the surgeon made an appointment to discuss the report with me.

He led my wife and me into his office, sat us down, was silent for a little bit, and then came right out and said, “I’m sorry, but it is cancerous.” I maintained my composure and asked if it was benign or malignant. He said it was malignant and added that that was not the real problem.

I looked at him for an explanation of what he meant by that. He continued by saying that the lump in my neck was not the source of the cancer. The cancer had spread to my neck, and it would be a race against time to find the source of it.

At that point, I pretty much fell apart. Tears gathered in my eyes, and my heart started beating faster. For a moment, I felt that my God had failed me. I had never felt so afraid in my life.

My mind raced through all sorts of scenarios. Could I be cured? What are my chances of survival? How much longer do I have to live? How is my life going to change? Who is going to take care of my family?

As I tried to process the diagnosis, I did my best to calmly ask the surgeon what the next step would be. He explained that several different tests would need to be done to find the source of the cancer—further biopsy, CT scan, bone scan, and MRI.

Something I am very thankful for now is that the surgeon suspected that the cancer might have originated from my nose and scheduled me to see a nose specialist as well as a couple of oncologists at the Sunnybrook Cancer Center. With cancer of the nasopharynx (nose), the typical symptoms are nosebleeds and a blocked nasal passage on one side. I had none of those symptoms, but the doctor nevertheless made an appointment with the nose specialist.

After we left the office, my wife went out to call my parents while I waited for appointments to be scheduled for the different tests I had to take. I knew my wife was quite upset, but I really had no idea what I could say to her. I was still feeling perfectly normal at the time because I had no symptoms whatsoever of the disease. It was hard for me to accept and believe that I had cancer.


The drive home was very quiet. That night was a very long night for me. I had never felt so cold and lonely. The first thing I thought about was my chance of survival. I also started wondering if I would be able to see my young children grow up. I truly felt that my road had come to an end, and I no longer had a future ahead of me.

We often hear people talk about looking at life from the perspective of death, and I truly saw my whole life coming to an end at that point. Many things that I should or should not have done started to become clearer to me. My past flashed through my mind, and I started to worry that God wasn’t pleased with me and that He had left me on my own.

It happened that Pr YM Yang was leading a week-long Bible seminar at Toronto Church (I was living in Toronto at the time). I missed the seminar the day I received the diagnosis, and when I went to service the next evening a brother asked me why I had missed the service when I was supposed to do audio recording. I didn’t know what to tell him so I simply said that I was sick.

However, my dad had already spoken to Pr Yang, asking him to put in a prayer request for me, so my wife and I were comforted by the service that night. My wife told me that she felt a lot better after listening to the sermon because Pr Yang described how he had also battled against cancer. When I look back now, I can see that God’s provision and arrangement is at times both mysterious and perfect.

A few days later I started going in for tests. During the examination by the nose specialist, he inserted a probe with a camera into my nose and found a growth at the back of my nose.

He immediately performed a biopsy and removed some tissue samples. It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t feel pretty, either. But I felt a sense of relief in my heart because they were able to find the source of the cancer so quickly. I truly believe that this is all part of God’s guidance.

A week later, I met with the oncologist at Sunnybrook Cancer Center. By that time, the results of the biopsy were back, and the oncologist confirmed that I had cancer of the nose. They explained the types of treatment that I would need to undergo and approximately when they would start.

I was seen by the radiation oncologist, the surgical oncologist, as well as the medical oncologist. They told me that surgery was not necessary yet, but I would have to undergo both radiation and chemotherapy at the same time. They let me know all the possible side effects and the preparations I needed for treatment, such as visiting the dentist and having a feeding tube put in my stomach. All of this happened fairly quickly within a month’s time.

I was scheduled for six months of treatment: I had to undergo one cycle of chemotherapy each month for a total of six cycles. The first three cycles were accompanied by thirty-four days of radiation.

The second month of treatment was the most difficult because the chemotherapy and the radiation were the heaviest then. Whatever side effects were possible, I experienced: vomiting, mouth sores, dry mouth, sore throat, constipation. Whatever came with the treatment, I had.


Under such circumstances, it is not surprising when people ask God, “How could You let this happen to me when I believe in You?” I also asked the same question for a time while undergoing treatment.

But if we truly think about it, many different things happen in our lives. Some may be more serious than others, but each of us suffers through different tribulations simply because this is part of life.

The question is not so much why these things happen to us, but what we can learn from them. Does anyone learn how to skate without ever falling? Has anyone learned how to ride a bike without getting a few scrapes here and there? Has a child learned how to walk without getting a few bumps and bruises? Any difficulty or hardship we face teaches us something, and hopefully we become a better person from it.

We all know that one day, our physical life will end. I remember a minister once said that to have a meaningful, godly life, we should look at what we would like to have accomplished before we die. I am not referring to physical things such as traveling around the world at least once, but rather what we need to do to prepare ourselves so that we can be at Jesus’ bosom in His heavenly kingdom.

While dealing with cancer, especially in December 2007, when I felt physically and spiritually at the weakest, I started to appreciate and understand what ministers mean when they encourage us to lead a meaningful godly life.

When I was spiritually weak, all I could think about was how unfair my life was compared to others. I wondered how others who did worse things than I ever did could go unpunished when I suffered while trying to live a godly life.

I tried to make sense of God’s righteousness from my own perspective, but I realized that it was only making me weaker. I thank God that as I prayed about my situation and attitude, He helped me understand that how we view our lives depends on asking the correct types of questions. Do we often ask God why certain things happen to us? Or do we ask what we can learn from this opportunity that God has provided us?

I will be the first to admit that sometimes it is hard for me to ask the right questions. When we are weak, we tend to ask why. But Jesus can help us. We should pray and ask Him to give us strength. And if and when we ask Him sincerely and patiently, He will give us the strength we need to overcome whatever obstacles we are facing.

We have to make the most of our time to know God and serve Him. So whenever we come to church and attend services or whenever we need to do a little work for God, we shouldn’t do it because it is our obligation as a Christian. Rather, it is an opportunity provided by God for us to get to know Him and learn from Him.

When we go to school, we learn. When we go to work, we train. When we work for God, we grow. And when we face challenges, we are refined. The question is whether we take hold of these opportunities.


            “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mt 6:31-34)

            “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 10:29-32)

We don’t know what will happen to us each day, but we do know who has control of tomorrow. And we are worth more than many sparrows, so if we believe in God and acknowledge Him, He will surely look after us.

I completed all the necessary treatments in April 2008. It was definitely difficult, but God saw me through it. I will always cherish this experience and the lessons I learned.

As I look back at these experiences now, I truly see and understand how God guides us and leads us. It requires us first to place our faith and reliance on Him because we simply cannot see what is ahead of us. I also realized that we cannot just rely on what we, as man, think is good but must rely on what God thinks is good. It is difficult do this sometimes, but the more we know the words of God in the Bible, the easier it is for us to differentiate what God thinks and what we think.

Please continue to pray for me, that He will continue to lead me and guide me to walk on His path. May all glory, praise, and honor be unto His name.


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Author: David Lee