Cancer Slows You Down

  • Oct. 26, 2018
  • #9520

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada talking about what I learned from cancer.

As you well know, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, and there are many things we can learn from this disease. When I struggled with a Stage III malignancy the first things I learned was, cancer slows you down. Everything grinds to a halt when you get that diagnosis; for my own part I had to cancel appointments, tabled traveling, and avoided public places (I couldn’t chance catching a cold). No longer in the fast lane, I had to shift into low and I eased into a slower rhythm for my days. Now, to be honest, I was impatient with the quiet pace at first, but after a while I realized it was no use feeling frustrated. It was out of my control. Because chemo lowered my resistance to colds and germs, I pretty much became housebound.

After a couple of months of being home, one day I thought I’d go crazy, like “Let me out of here!” My cabin fever was bad, until I stumbled across Galatians Chapter 5:25, where it simply says, "Keep in step with the Spirit." Wow! I read it again, and I realized it was a command from the Holy Spirit. He obviously wanted me to take life in very small steps. When you think about it, it happens to anyone who suffers. Life becomes more basic; more simple. On days when I wasn't certain how to fill my time, Ephesians Chapter 5 told me what to do. In the tenth verse it says, “Find out what pleases the Lord” and do it. Isn’t that something? Just find out what pleases the Lord and do it! So, with my cabin fever I looked around the house and whispered the verse again, “Joni, find out what pleases the Lord and do it.”

So, while I stayed at home recuperating from various rounds of chemotherapy, I would carve out extra time after breakfast and I would pray in the morning. After I prayed through my list, I then opened it up to the Holy Spirit and asked Him, "What will please you today, Lord?" After a minute, I would hear him whisper, “Joni, what would please me is to see you eat 45 grams of protein before lunch.” I gagged at the thought because the chemo made food sound absolutely awful. But if that would please Jesus; if eating 45 grams of protein would do it, then boil me couple of eggs and then some, okay? Later in the morning I would pray, "Okay Lord, now what will please you this afternoon?" His answer was immediate, “Joni, you’re not going to like this, but back away from your computer and go enjoy my hummingbirds at your feeder.” Well, that seemed like a pretty good idea, and so Ken Tada would join me in the back yard, and together we’d count and admire the little buzzy guys as they visited our feeder. The Holy Spirit was right: not only was I pleasing the Lord, this was kind of becoming a pleasing activity for my husband and me. So, after dinner, I would ask the Lord again. I’d say, "And Jesus this evening what can I do to please you?" I remember Him once answering, “Joni, give the Food Network a rest and listen to that audio novel on King David you downloaded, how about that?” Good idea, Holy Spirit! You see what I mean?

Psalm 46:10 commands us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Friend, keep in step with the Spirit. Cancer may be His way of forcing you to quiet your heart, unburden your mind, and surrender your restless will to the Lord. If you are looking for more encouragement, I’ve written other suggestions in a free booklet called Diagnosed with Cancer. It’s my gift to you and it’s yours for the asking at Request it today for you or a friend. It’s there for the asking at And don’t forget, today and always keep in step with the Spirit.    

© Joni and Friends



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