Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Grief

Can Cancer Be God’s Servant?
By Randy Alcorn

By your appointment they stand this day,
For all things are your servant.
PSALM 119:91 (ESV)

In March of 2022, my beloved wife, Nanci, lost her four-year battle with colon cancer. All 54 years I’ve known her, Nanci loved Jesus. But from a front-row seat, I watched a wonderful – and supernatural – change in those last four years.

In 2019, Nanci wrote to a friend and fellow cancer sufferer, “The cancer battle has been tough. However, my time with the Ancient of Days (one of my favorite names for God) has been epic! He has met me in ways I never knew were possible. I have experienced His sovereignty, mercy, and steadfast love in tangible ways. I now trust Him at a level I never knew I could.”

I saw Nanci meditate on Scripture daily, read great books about God, and journal – writing out verses, powerful quotations from Spurgeon and many others, and personal reflections. One unforgettable morning, after meditating on Psalm 119:91, “All things are your servants,” she shared with me what she’d just written:

“My cancer is God’s servant in my life. He is using it in ways He has revealed to me and in many more I have yet to understand. I can rest knowing my cancer is under the control of a sovereign God who is good and does good.”

Brokenhearted and Thankful
Nine months later, at Nanci’s request and on short notice, our daughters and their families gathered to hear her speak final words of overflowing love for us and unswerving trust in her sovereign King.

As one of our grandsons sat beside her, listening to her struggling to speak and to me reading powerful words from her journals, he said, “Grams, if you can trust God in this, I know I can trust Him in whatever I’ll go through.” Another grandson told her, “I will never forget what you said to us today.”

Exactly one week later, I held her hand and watched her take her last breath in this world under the curse.

Every day during those four years, I witnessed God’s sanctifying and happy-making work in my wife: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope … because of God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5:3-5).

Nanci and I – and thousands worldwide – prayed daily for her healing. God’s final answer was to rescue her from suffering and bring her into his presence where it is “better by far” (Philippians 1:23). Through her afflictions, He achieved in her an “eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). She praised Jesus for it, and I will forever do the same, though I miss her immensely.

Written with permission by Randy Alcorn
and Eternal Perspective Ministries.

Excerpts taken from Randy Alcorn’s Blog.
Please learn about Randy’s new booklet to
be released this summer, Grieving with Hope.

(Last year we had the privilege of meeting Randy Alcorn and spending some time with him over dinner. We were both so encouraged by him and what he shared about his wife’s journey with cancer and the grief journey he had personally been on since she went to be with Jesus. Randy leads the ministry of Eternal Perspective Ministries and has written many excellent, encouraging books on heaven. Here at Endurance, we send out Randy’s devotional “50 Days of Heaven” in every Encouragement Grief Box that we send out. We feel honored that he would allow us to share with all of you excerpts from his Blog on his journey with his wife, Nanci, and his insights into his journey through grief. May you be encouraged by Randy’s words.)

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky