Saturday, December 7, 2019


Photo by Church of Britain
I had a dream in which I would be starting a medical internship at the cancer center near our home. At the orientation meeting the night before the internship was to begin, the chief resident explained that the new interns would be paired off for a test on the first day. Both members of each pair would be assigned to the same patient and each would have to do a complete history, physical examination, and record review, and then present the case to the attending physicians. Based on their findings and analysis, only one of each pair would be chosen to complete the internship.

The intern with whom I was paired was a young Asian woman who had impeccable credentials and training and who appeared to be not only brilliant and accomplished, but competitive almost to the point of being ruthless. I found this quite intimidating, as I had been away from medical practice and schooling for so long that I felt rusty, at best. 

The morning of the test I arrived early to see my assigned patient, only to be intercepted by the resident.

“After the interns present their cases, there will be a party for all the staff, so you need to go get the refreshments from the kitchen now,” he barked. “Be sure you get enough Oysters Rockefeller.” 

He vanished down a corridor before I could even question him about what to get, how much, and most importantly, when I would be able to see my patient. But I knew that I couldn’t risk offending or disobeying the chief resident, especially on my first day, as his input could determine whether my first day would be my last. And if I did pass the exam, he could make my life miserable during the balance of the internship, and even ruin my career. 

So I sped down the hall in the direction of where I thought the kitchen would be, only to realize that it was a good 30 minute walk from the assigned patient’s floor!  When I finally arrived at the kitchen, there was little food to choose from, and no serving carts with which to transport it. So I grabbed a platter of Oysters Rockefeller and hurried back the way I had come, or so I thought. 

But a series of detours and barriers kept me from my chosen route and destination. One ward and corridor were closed off to quarantine a patient with a highly contagious infection; the floors were being waxed in another area; and I was not allowed to pass through the Intensive Care Units or surgical suites. 

Before long I was hopelessly lost, still juggling my medical bag and platter of oysters. Finally I arrived at the room where the presentations had already started and where the party would later take place, but with no time to examine my patient or even read his chart. 

In fact, he was there also, listening in horror as my competitor thoroughly dissected his history, physical, imaging and laboratory findings; reached an obscure yet well-reasoned diagnosis; and painted a dreary outlook for his grim prognosis, despite the cutting edge treatments she recommended. 

All but the patient applauded her presentation and conclusions, and then it was time for me to take the podium. I had no idea what I was going to say, but as I began to speak, the words came to me with authority, confidence and power. 

“I have heard no symptoms or complaints from this patient,” I began, timidly at first. “But as I look at him, I see a child of God, made in His image, against whom no weapon of the enemy can prosper. His laboratory tests and imaging studies notwithstanding, all of which show highly aggressive tumors, are no match for God’s power. Jesus Christ alone is the Great Physician, by Whose stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24), Who is risen with healing in His wings.” (Jeremiah 8:22; Malachi 4:2

As I spoke, a remarkable transformation came over the patient, who went from huddled over and shaking in his wheelchair to sitting upright, then standing up in triumph, his countenance changing from pallid terror to ruddy victory. All the medical staff were puzzled, then amazed at this apparent healing in response to words of life. 

Whether or not I would continue the medical internship suddenly was of no importance to me, for I knew that God was in control and that He would work all things together for good for His children who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). 

When I awoke and began considering the meaning of the dream, I immediately realized the connection to my husband, who several months ago was diagnosed with locally aggressive prostate cancer. Despite being a retired physician and even having rotated through oncology services throughout my career, I felt thoroughly unprepared for my new roles as medical advocate, dietician, nutritionist, physical fitness coach, chef and spiritual counselor for my soulmate. 

But God’s grace is sufficient, His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). He has transformed the enemy’s weapon of cancer into an instrument of physical and spiritual healing. Although God can and does work through doctors and treatments, He alone directs healing. To rely on medicines alone would be foolish (Jeremiah 46:11), for only He has the power to revive us, and His are the words of life (John 6:63, 68; Philippians 2:16; 1 John 1:1). 

Unexpected blessings from this trial include a new lifestyle in which our eating and exercise glorify Him (1 Corinthians 10:31) by strengthening His temple of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); the heightened realization that life is short (James 4:14) and we need to treasure each moment with our loved ones and the time He graciously allots to us to serve Him (John 9:4); and increased faith in and dependence on Him. 

While feeling discouraged a few weeks ago about whether all we had changed under the Lord’s leading was making any difference, I prayed for a confirmation from that day’s Bible reading. Sure enough, He directed me to Ezekiel 47:12, stating that the fruit of the trees will be as food, and the leaves of the trees as medicine, which confirmed to me that our largely plant-based Mediterranean diet and herbal supplements would be beneficial. 

I also believe this dream contained a warning against eating the “king’s dainties,” (Daniel 1; Proverbs 23:1-3) like Oysters Rockefeller. Oysters are among the animals described as unclean in Mosaic law (Leviticus 11:10), and Rockefeller brings to mind rich cuisine favored by the world, yet with health risks if consumed in excess. 

Soon after the confirmation from Ezekiel, we received encouraging reports from my husband’s cardiologist that his weight, blood pressure and heart rate were now ideal, and by a blood test showing that the prostate cancer was highly responsive to the hormone treatment, so much so that the oncologist was surprised with how rapidly this had occurred. To God be the glory! 

As the dream indicated, we are often powerless to fight our worst battles in our own flesh, for time, circumstances, distractions, sins and snares hinder us (Hebrews 12:1). All the education, training and good intentions in the world can still leave us ill-equipped. 

But Jesus Christ is the Great Physician Who healed the blind, the paralytics, and the lepers, and even raised the dead, sometimes by His Word or touch and sometimes even at a distance; sometimes immediately and sometimes gradually (Mark 1; 5; 8:22-25). He is touched by our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15), for He has experienced them, and He knows our frame, for He created us from the dust in His own image and breathed the breath of life into our nostrils (Genesis 2:7). 

Our battle is far from over, and my husband’s most arduous medical treatments and procedures are still to come, but we know that victorylies in Jesus Christ, His finished work on the cross, and in His resurrection, so that all who trust Him have new, abundant, eternal life! (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 57; John 3:16; 10:10). 

© 2019 Laurie Collett



Tanza Erlambang said...

love is a key word to have relationship with God... victory will be achieved.

# Have a wonderful weekend

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
I have to admit that healing can be a controversial issue in the life of a Christian. Over the last 50 years of being a believer myself, I have seen very little, if hardly any, supernatural healing happening before my eyes. In turn, I have seen devoted Christians, whose hearts was fully set on Christ's redemption, suffer and die of their ailments, despite attempts at treatment from the medical team. In addition to all this, I had to watch my beloved suffer physically for the last six years, although happy to say, with the correct medication, she is able to lead a reasonably normal life.
But I'm a firm believer in God's sovereignty, as well as his love, for "we know that everything works for the good for those who love God, and are called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28.
If anything, our present health situation has enabled us to grow even closer together, to knit our hearts tightly to each other in Christ, and to allow a beautiful marriage to flourish between us, and as you say, each day spent together becomes more precious and less to be taken for granted.
Having said that, I'm very glad to read that your husband has recovered well from his prostrate cancer and has gone through the best form of treatment on offer. I wish you both good health for the future.
An excellent post, God bless.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Sorry, I meant "prostate".

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Tanza! Praise God for His infinite love!
God bless you,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Yes, for reasons we don't understand, many devoted believers are stricken with painful and even terminal illness. Our former pastor, a great man of God, suffered terribly with lung cancer that had spread to the liver, bone and brain, before God took him home at 31 years of age. Yet He remained faithful to the end and brought many to the Lord through His amazing testimony.

My husband still has to undergo the most difficult part of his treatment next month, followed by radiation therapy, but we are encouraged by the very positive result to date.

Praise God that even in the darkest trials He showers us with unexpected blessings, including growing closer to one another and to Him.

Continued prayers for you and Alex. God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

No worries -- I constantly after to think before I say or write that word!

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
because I have experienced a miraculous healing in Adelaide Australia, and other healings too, I know that what man can not do God can do. However, I would never tell anyone to go down the road that I go down. We each have to live our own lives in Christ. I am going through many trials in my life, but because I was taken to what I believe was the third Heaven spoken of by Paul the Apostle in my near death experience, I know that regardless of what we go through on earth, when we believe in Jesus there is a beautiful eternity awaiting us.
There is no COMPETITION in the body of Christ on earth (the true church), there is only CO-OPERATION.
God bless you and your husband with all that He has for us.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
I agree, that the path He chooses for each of us is somewhat different according to His particular purpose for our lives. As long as we listen to His still, small voice, He will guide us in the right direction. Amen to co-operation and not competition! I believe my "competitor" in the dream may have been the more intellectual part of myself, and the battle I sometimes experience between living in the Spirit vs. wanting to walk by sight and not by faith.
Thank you as always for sharing your experience and insights. God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

One of the greatest statements of faith in the bible is found in Daniel 3:17-18, when Daniel's friends told Nebuchadnezzar, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." They recognized God might not see fit to save their lives, but they would continue to believe and obey him anyway. As you know, God did spare them, but even if he had not, it would still have accomplished God's plan.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! So true, that the safest and best place we can be is in the center of God's plan for our lives. To paraphrase Job, "Even if He slay me, I will trust Him."
Thanks as always for your comment, and God bless,

Sateigdra knowles said...

Hi Laurie, this was an encouraging post and gives a lot to think about.

This year has been an interesting year that has had many moments of sadness and shock at the passing of several people. A lady from small group at church, 2 former classmates from high school, some persons close to my family who were considered family and recently a family member, and only recently the security guard, from the church I attend that has weekly women's bible study, had a stroke but he seems to be of uplifted spirits though he will need therapy. And there was that hurricane that tore through parts of my country and many many lives were lost. Many this year have experienced the loss of loved ones.

To me all of this is not only a reminder of how as human beings our life here on earth is temporary but all of these events reminds me that we do not belong to ourselves but there is One who is greater than us who sustains us by His word and He decides the duration of our lives. While illnesses and even the passing of people we know and love is never a happy moment, we know that God is good, His will is good, acceptable and perfect. Like one of those who commented above said, "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." This is true.

In a year with a lot of sad moments I recall memories of God's faithfulness in my life and in the lives of others. I remember a young girl practically at death's door who awoke from a coma. A young boy who had a nearly fatal fall who now after many months of therapy has returned to school and is gradually improving by God's grace and healing power and many were able to be made aware of God's healing power through the faith of his parents. I recall a mother whose unborn child was saved by a surgical procedure by doctors who God gave wisdom to perform such procedures. Now both mother and baby are healthy and strong. There have been more reports of God's faithfulness than the news of terminal diagnosis and other sad reports this year that there are too many to mention here. I will blog about this topic. Because some of these sad reports can be so surprising they can often times in our minds eclipse all the good things we experienced from God throughout the year. We don't know God's plans but we know He is good and there is hope which His word says is an anchor for the soul. That is a true saying. Without hope in God we couldn't bare diagnosis like cancer and other things that are difficult to hear.

I'm amazed at how much of a dream you're able to remember in vivid detail. I had to check again to see if you were recounting an actual dream or reading a story you had written. I dream every single night and cannot remember my dreams in such detail to even begin to know what they could mean. I know God knows and I pray that if it is His will He would reveal to me whatever He feels I need to know.

I will pray for you and your husband. May God's peace and sufficient grace be supplied to both of you. May God be glorified. :-)

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Sateigdra,
So nice to hear from you! Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your experiences. In our lives, too, so many are passing unexpectedly and what seems to be far too soon, yet God holds their future and does what is best, even if we don't understand it from our limited perspective. And we too have seen miraculous and unexpected healings in the lives of those we know, only by God's grace. As I was saying to a friend just a few nights ago, I don't know how those who do not know Jesus, and His love and peace, can even begin to cope with the stresses of daily life, let alone with life's crises.

Thank you so much for your prayers -- we truly appreciate them! May you and your loved ones have a joyous Christmas season and all blessings in the New Year!
God bless,

Sateigdra knowles said...

Thanks Laurie. God bless you too and I also hope you and your family have a joyous Christmas season and blessings in the New Year. 🙂