Healed from the Inside
In the name of the Lord Jesus I
testify to glorify His name. I’ve been in the True Jesus Church (TJC) since I
was born. I was baptized and grew up in the church, attending religious
education classes, and even receiving the Holy Spirit when I was young. Because
my childhood was so rooted in the faith, everyone thought I would grow up to be
an exemplary TJC teenager, but that was not the case.
“I DON’T NEED GOD”
When I started high school, my behavior
and spirituality were good. However, my spiritual life spiraled downward as my
freshman year progressed. By my junior year, I quarreled with my family daily, went
wherever I wanted to go, lied constantly, and made bad friends. I began to hate
church and my brothers and sisters in church. My own thoughts and desires
consumed me. It progressed to the point where I thought about quitting church because
I couldn’t understand why I was bound by so many rules when all I wanted was to
be free. I felt ostracized and judged at church, and I felt that God didn’t
love me. Pride also began to grow in my heart because everything else in my
life was so good. I was young and doing well in school. Nothing bad had ever
happened to me. I felt untouchable.
During this time, the relationship
between my mother and me was also deteriorating. Often, I would be doing work
and she would randomly enter my room to ask if I had been praying. Every time
she entered, I would angrily snap at her, saying, “No. Why would you think I’m
praying?” I would shoo her away because her very
presence annoyed me. What I didn’t realize was that even though I was very much
alive on the outside, inside I was dying.
I GAVE UP, HE DIDN’T
One morning in October 2012,
during my junior year, I woke up with a very stiff neck. When I went to the
bathroom and looked in the mirror, I saw a lump the size of a gumball, sticking
out of my left clavicle. As I continued to observe the lump, I didn’t even
think of cancer. The pride in my heart told me that that was out of the
question—it could never happen to me. A week passed and the gumball had swollen
to the size of my fist. As the weeks passed, the lump seemed to grow bigger and
After seeing a series of head and
neck specialists and oncologists, I was diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s
lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph nodes. Finally, the panic set in. I
think anyone would be scared after being diagnosed with cancer. My faith was
weak, so I neither blamed God nor sought His help. It seemed pointless because I
thought that God didn’t love me.
After being diagnosed with cancer,
it is standard procedure to undergo several body scans. It turned out that there
were two tumors in my body, one on my left clavicle, and another large one,
about 9 cm in diameter, in the middle of my chest, just above my heart. Thank
God, though I had two large tumors, the lymphoma was only at stage II, meaning
that it was discovered early and very treatable. In fact, without the
appearance of the little gumball to tell me that something was wrong with my
body, I would never have known that there was a larger mass in my chest.
FAITH REBORN THROUGH SUFFERING
This testimony is not about huge
miracles, but the small blessings I received during my treatment, through which
God slowly trained up my faith and perseverance. Through these little lessons,
I learned that God indeed loves me. He wanted me to go through this trial, but
He never gave me more than I could handle.
My chemotherapy took place about
once every fortnight. Though it was tough to face, it was milder and less frequent
than the treatment the children in my neighboring bed area had to undergo. However,
I still had moments of great physical pain. I had to receive special shots to
replenish my white blood cells. White blood cells are made in our bone marrow,
so there were countless nights when I was jolted awake by a painful burning
sensation in my spine. In one particular instance, I asked God why He would
bring me this suffering, and I pleaded for Him to take away the pain. As I lay
there, I started to reflect on how sinful my life was.
I recalled that, “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father
the son in whom he delights” (Prov 3:12). As I
thought about this verse, my prayer started to change. I began to understand
that God was chastising me, and I accepted His actions, like the people of God
did in the latter part of Zechariah 1:6:
“So they returned and said:
‘Just as the Lord of hosts
determined to do to us,
According to our ways and according to our deeds,
So He has dealt with us.’”
In my prayer, I started admitting
my wrong. I recognized that this was something I deserved and I accepted it. When
I returned to God, He showed His faithfulness and lessened my suffering. Thank
God, my treatment took about six months in total, a comparatively short time in
terms of cancer treatment.
God also protected me
psychologically. Throughout my entire diagnosis and treatment, I cried only once.
After that, I never felt scared or depressed, because I knew that God had put
me into good human hands while covering me with His own hand. I had a great
support system consisting of my parents, friends, family, and church. I felt a
peace and joy washing over me, which could only have been possible through hope
BLESSINGS AT CHURCH AND AT HOME
Another blessing was that I was
able to go to church throughout my illness, even though I was housebound. The
cancer affected my immune system, so I had to be home-schooled. I was not
allowed to go out much, because even a common cold could kill me. But when Saturdays
came around, I would get dressed and go to church to keep the Sabbath. I could
continue to do holy work and have fellowship with my brothers and sisters. I
was supposed to wear a protective mask when I went out so that I wouldn’t get
sick, but I didn’t bother to wear one at church. I had no fear because I felt
that God was protecting me, that He would not allow anything to happen to me.
Because of this, church was my
only source of influence during that six-month period. This was another
blessing, because it meant that I was removed from the darkness I had been
living in. I was no longer surrounded by bad friends or negative influences at
school. God was detoxifying me spiritually, and at the same time, He was
filling me with His love and mercy through church members and my family. I no
longer felt the need to be sinful or to fulfill my own pleasure, because I felt
The greatest blessing was that cancer
transformed my relationship with my family. After six months of being sick and
spending every day with my parents, I experienced their love more than imaginable.
They supported me throughout my chemotherapy, as they accompanied me to every
session, made me feel comfortable, cleaned me up after every long day, and helped
me recover. They dropped their entire lives to take care of me and make sure I
was okay. I really thank God for giving me such amazing parents.
I reflected on why I used to fight
with my family and realized the reasons were selfish and pointless. I decided
to stop fighting with my family because they did not deserve my harsh words
after showing me so much love and care. Thank God, since then, we haven’t had
any serious fights, and I even tell my parents that I love them all the time. I
also don’t have the heart to lie to them anymore, because I now understand how
much they love me. In this way, cancer was God’s wake-up call to me.
After everything was over, my
mother told me that before the cancer diagnosis, while she was cooking or
cleaning, she would hear me praying in tongues, but when she came to check on
me, I would just be sitting there doing work. In her confusion, she would ask
me if I had been praying, only to receive a rude reply. She told me that this
was God’s way of telling her that something bad was going to happen to me and
that she should pray for me. God was preparing my whole family for this trial.
As the chemotherapy was working to
shrink the malignant cells and tumors, I also felt my evil desires, anger, and
weaknesses diminishing. It was spiritual chemotherapy. I found it especially
interesting that I had a huge growth right in front of my heart, as though it
was a physical manifestation of all the evil that was covering my heart. It had
brought me so much anger and emptiness, preventing me from seeing God and other
people in a good light. During my treatment, even though I felt like my outer
body was dying, my inner person was slowly being brought back to life, being
strengthened and restored on the right path.
Thank God, I was declared
cancer-free in April 2013. Since then, I have not ceased in trying to bolster
my faith. Even though I suffered, I came out practically unscathed. Even now,
my experience of having cancer feels like a dream that I can hardly remember. My
only reminders of ever being sick are the scars on my body. God really protected
me and showed me His mercy and love. He placed me in the fire in order to
refine me so that I would be a more complete vessel. He showed me His righteousness.
Even more, He showed me He is my heavenly Father. He took me back and saved me
from being lost. Now I feel that I should do everything for the glory of God to
repay His love.
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son
is there whom a father does not chasten? ... For they indeed for a few days
chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be
partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the
present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of
righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
(Heb 12:7, 10, 11)
Through this experience, God told
me that I am His child and that He loves me. I learned that when we suffer, it may
be because we are disobedient. When God chastises us, it is to show us His love
and mercy so that we will return to Him. I’m very thankful that He saved my
life. May all glory and praise be unto His name.
A Bystander’s Perspective
by Raymond Chou
To Sister Steffi, her illness is
just like a dream. She may not remember the details, but I do. As a resident preacher,
I was under so much stress because the church council wanted me to comfort her.
But what can you say to a young, bright, and beautiful sixteen-year-old girl
who had just been diagnosed with stage II cancer?
After much prayer and walking back
and forth, I picked up the phone to call her. “Hi Pastor!” she said. She
sounded happy and I could hear the sound of a video game in the background—maybe
she was playing with her brother. I asked if she was okay. “I’m okay, I’m okay,
but I’m busy now. I can talk to you later.” She sounded fine, so I wondered if
there had been a mistake. But at church on Saturday, I sat next to Steffi’s
mother during lunch time to find out more. Before I could say anything, she
started crying. It was not easy, especially for her parents.
As bystanders, we saw God
demonstrating His miraculous guidance, helping a little seed to grow, and grow
strong. Once, I asked Steffi how the chemotherapy was going. She said, “Thank
God it’s going well. On Thursday, I do chemotherapy. On Friday, I vomit all day.
But thank God, on Saturday, I get to go to church!” I didn’t know how to
respond to such a positive answer. It’s amazing how a person can so comfortably
face such a dire and drastic situation in life. She was even leading hymnal worship
sessions when she had no hair. Seeing this, I would think that it could only be
through the power of God—there’s no other reason.
There were times when Steffi was in
great danger of losing her life, when her blood cell count dropped so low that
she could depart at any time. But the whole ordeal not only greatly edified her
family, but also the local church. Many members started pondering on the
meaning of life and diligently prayed for her. We really thank God that we are
able to see such a great transformation in her. It is a miracle that has
inspired the whole church. May God continue to help and guide Sister Steffi.