Holy Spirit Story: Fighting Cancer with Scripture

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Today’s Holy Spirit Story comes to us from Lyn Cantrell. We all know many people right now who are going through the trial of cancer. It is such a dreaded diagnosis and a dreadful disease and though doctors now know so much about cancer, the one thing no one really ever knows is what will be the outcome for them. Will they be able to get all the cancer? Has it spread? Will I need ongoing treatment like chemotherapy or radiation? Will I lose my hair? Will it come back? It is so hard. I love Lyn’s notion of a “fighting scripture” described here. All of this reminded me of my long-time friend, Misti Coker, who lives in the next town over from me. Misti started a profound ministry for people with cancer designed to help others rally around them for the fight. You can read about that here. Below you will read Lyn’s story in her own words and if you listen you will hear it in her own voice. Thank you, Lyn. 

This is just one of the many stories from my journey with cancer. The Lord is so faithful.

A few weeks ago, I participated in an online conference about trusting God through cancer.  There were some really good speakers, and one of the biggest takeaways for me was asking the Lord for a “fighting scripture,”  a scripture I could turn to for comfort and strength when things got overwhelming.  This was easy: Psalm 91.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Ps. 91:1–4)

Since my cancer diagnosis, Psalm 91 has been given to me by three different people, in three different ways.  First, from a friend in a face-to-face conversation. I wrote it in my journal, personalizing it a bit by changing “him” to “her.” Secondly, a friend had texted me twice to say she was praying Psalm 91 over me, and third, a friend from school gave me a wristband that said: Covered—Psalm 91.  Clearly, this was to be my fighting Scripture.

On the morning of my third treatment, I texted a few folks and asked if they would pray Psalm 91 for me. As I settled myself into my treatment room, I unpacked the prayer quilt gifted to me by my sweet teachers the day before. It is pink, hand-stitched, with personal notes written on many of the panels. It’s just beautiful. Once treatment was underway, I wrapped up in my quilt and settled in to listen to Scripture on an app. It’s very relaxing, and I usually doze off while it’s playing. Interestingly, the Scripture scheduled for this day was Psalm 91.

Psalm 91 talks of the Lord’s protection and how he sends angels to protect us as well. 

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
(Ps. 91:11–12)

As I slept, I dreamed I woke up and there were three people in the treatment room with me. One was a man with his back to me. He was casually leaning against the wall and watching the area outside of my room. Another was a woman sitting to my right, next to the IV machine. She was flipping through a magazine, but every minute or so she would look at my IV. I could see her eyes following the medicine as it flowed from the tube in the bag to my chest port. Then there was another woman standing behind me and to my left. I couldn’t see her well, but I could feel her presence. I have no doubt these were my angels sent to protect me. The man was making sure no one or no thing came in my room that shouldn’t be there. The woman with the magazine was watching my IV to ensure it was flowing correctly. Then, I had the woman behind me overlooking everything else. They were dressed like regular people—no white glowing robes or feathery wings. Just people, here to look over me.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wow, you were on some powerful drugs to have such a vivid dream.” But I’m convinced it wasn’t a dream. Those three were in the room from the beginning, and I know because I noticed when I walked into the treatment room that morning it felt a little crowded. They were there, sent by the Lord, waiting to take care of me. 

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”  (Ps. 91:14–16)


Abba Father, thank you for Lyn Cantrell and for the witness she is and has shared with us today. Jesus, we receive your healing for Lyn and for all the people we know who are struggling with cancer (name them now). We receive and claim this word today. Would you give them and us fighting scriptures? Indeed, he or she who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Give us words from your Word to deal with whatever situation we presently face in our hearts, homes, churches, and cities. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Who will you encourage with this story today? Do you have a “fighting scripture” on the tip of your tongue these days? What is it? What is the nature of the fight? 


Today we will sing our Saturday song: “Sanctuary.” We will sing it through twice. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S. Holy Spirit Stories Welcome

I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. A word count of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but we assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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