Friday, December 4, 2015

Good News

I'm delighted to have good news to share with you! Although I did experience two terrible bouts of nausea which sent me to the hospital, I'm now three weeks nausea-free and seeing recovery momentum. I've finally been able to gain some weight and energy with the help of food and medications. And in the past two weeks my nerve-damaged left leg is definitely getting stronger! It's still numb but the restored strength allows me to walk a bit without my walker. Praise God for this good news! These are two big answers to prayer. 

Today I'm going into Toronto for a CT scan of my abdomen and chest. We'll discuss the results on December 14th and 15th with my three oncologist surgeons at Jurvinski, Princess Margaret and Toronto General. These CT scan results will confirm the treatment plan for January, which is major chest surgery. Please pray for Andy and I in these upcoming meetings and decisions.

Now let's be honest. There's been a lot of God talk in this blog. But the truth is, I just can't help it! In a time of such uncertainty, I have been forced to step back from my busy life and reflect. In doing so, my faith has been stretched and strengthened as I've questioned God but also encountered His loving presence more powerfully and undeniably than ever before. I can't help but share this unexplainable peace from God, the secure hope I have in Jesus Christ and moments of true joy amidst suffering. Growing in my faith has been an unexpected but beautiful gift of cancer, and I'm so grateful to be able to share my faith with you here. 

In the past month I've been struck by the number of people who've shared with me that they're intrigued by my faith and God himself through reading my blog. It seems these blog posts have resonated with many hearts, striking a cord deep within. So in response to these reactions and with God's persistent nudges, I'd like to share with you the key message of the Bible. This message, that reveals the heart of God, is referred to as the gospel or good news. And to me, this is the best news I've ever heard.



Of the 31,102 verses in the Bible, the one I believe summarizes the entire Bible best is this. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

What I love most about God's saving invitation to us is that its motivated entirely by LOVE. "For God so loved..." The holy and perfect God of the universe chooses to extend an everlasting love to the entire world, a world full of corrupt, broken and imperfect people. "...he gave his one and only Son..." God's perfect love is demonstrated when his Son, Jesus Christ, humbled himself by entering the world as a baby. He did this in order to live among us, build His eternal kingdom in the hearts of humanity and ultimately die in our place. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10 Love is defined by this sacrificial, unconditional and grace-filled God. This is good news!  

Next, I love how God does not discriminate or demand payment in return. The gospel is freely available for "...whoever believes...". There is no such thing as being beyond the reach of God's love. Paul, a man in the Bible who hunted down new believers and literally stoned them to death, was not out of reach. In fact, when he believed God, this heart transformation led him to passionately share the good news of God's grace and write many letters to encourage new churches which are now books in the Bible. There is life-transforming power in this gift; the gospel is the "power of God that brings salvation to anyone who believes." Romans 1:16 

We're all in the same boat in God's eyes. There are no hierarchies or rankings in this faith because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. We cannot get to God or heaven by our own strength or good works, only by accepting God's gift of love. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8 What freedom in this promise! There is no pressure to do a long list of "good things" in order to win God's favor. It just comes down to this, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 The enduring promise is that we "...shall not perish but have eternal life." What a promise of HOPE! 

Is this not good news?! That a holy God would love his creation so deeply that he sent his own Son to die in our place so we can believe and spend eternity with him?! That's the kind of God I want to know. He's a God that is all-powerful, loving, full of grace, humble, compassionate and offers the gift of salvation to all who believe. The eternal weight of this promise offers such hope in this sometimes bleak, evil-trodden, disease-ridden world and fills me with deep-rooted peace, gratitude and joy. The gospel of Jesus Christ is honestly the best news I have ever heard and will ever hear! "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

9 comments:

  1. You are an awesome daughter of the King!.. Love you Julia for sharing your light with the rest of the world with your love for Jesus, and your deep faith. I'm so thankful to hear this encouraging and good news..

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  2. I so love John 3:16 It is the first verse my grandson memorized . At age 8 he asked Jesus into his heart, knowing and believing John 3:16. That Christmas he printed that verse out for me ( it is framed and hanging in my front hall ) God is good. So good.
    We are strangers, but family, because of Jesus, and while I am on this page, I am praying for you and your family. What a testimony to Him. Blessings, Kathy Tanner December 4
    Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is as the gleam of dawn that shines more and more unto the perfect day.
    ( let your light shine )

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  3. Bless you and thank you for using your suffering as a platform to preach the gospel. I just lost my baby this week. He's with the Lord now. And I feel so many eyes on me and my husband, waiting to see how we will react. I pray we will use our platform to share the hope that we have. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

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  4. Can I get an Amen! I Love your reflection, insight, and passion for sharing the good news with the world. Keep shining your light Julia 😊

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  5. Julia, your faith is beyond inspiring. your words of wisdom your insight and reflections are impacting so many including myself and my mother who is living in such grieve after losing her husband, my dad! your strength is strengthening her!
    God Bless you ... sending you love xoxoxo love Gayle

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  6. Thank you for the update! Continuing to pray. May the wonder of advent be yours - and all of ours! - this season and every day!

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  7. My name is David Alexander and I'm a friend of Doctor Bayers. I just heard about your situation and was asked to pray and go to your blog. I read your report and message on John 3:16. First of all it amazes me how God uses worst case scenarios such as cancer and turns them into something beautiful, the deepening of your faith and the opportunity to give glory to God!!It may sound strange but I'm guessing, while you may not have chosen this for yourself, you're glad about it? I was also amazed reading your message from John 3:16 as I just shared a meditation at our annual Christmas dinner a week ago and used John 3:16 explaining each of the phrases as you did! The Spirit is moving. One more thing my wife and I have been praying constantly for my nephew and his wife who are in their early 40's and both have cancer. My nephew was given one last ray of hope by agreeing to surgury.It was a slim chance but he went for it but they when they opened him up they closed him right back up. Tests were sent away and they came back benign and now he can have the surgury. They are both scheduled for sugury her's being a 2nd masectomy. This has been such an answer to prayer as they have three children all under 12 years old. My wife and I are praising God and while we don't know where their faith is at we are praying they will see the hand of God in this! Please keep this family in prayer and you will be in our thoughts and prayers. God bless.

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  8. Hi Julia,
    What a blessing to meet you and pray for you on Monday!!! Can you please email me your email address? Emily emvandonk@hotmail.com

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