Continue in Your Good Works

by: Ellen Burton


In December 07' I was challenged with something I thought would never happen to me. I had attempted to eat right, exercise most of my life and avoided known carcinogens. I breast-fed my children and had not taken hormone replacement therapies. In spite of all this, I received a call from Melissa, my nurse practitioner. She wanted me to come into the office instead of telling me the results of a breast biopsy over the phone. I told her, "Just tell me—I'm a nurse, I can handle it." She said she felt it was cold to tell someone something like this over the phone. Finally she relented and told me I had breast cancer.

When you are told something like this there is a fear that grips you. We think of cancer as being synonymous with death. I remember praying and wondering—"Why me, why now? I have a great husband, children, grand-children and lots to live for."

I have come a long way from that day in December when I was diagnosed. One of the reasons is I know that God will complete what he has started within me long years ago. Another reason is because of God's people—I never under-estimate the power of prayer, a call, or an e-mail. God's people are an encouragement in the time of trouble!

God says in Proverbs 15:23,"…a word spoken in due season, how good it is!" I found that during the day I would be encouraged through study of God's word and prayer. But in early morning or at night, I would be gripped with fear and anxiousness. Now I know that in 1 John 4:18, "…perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…," but obviously you know where I stood in relationship to perfect love! I fell far short of it!

I remember one particular Sabbath morning after I had prayed and studied—I was still feeling anxious. It was just then that I received a call from a good friend. She said she had felt inspired to call me. She read Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." God knew I was burdened—without peace and He had inspired my friend to call. She could have ignored the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not called but she chose not to quench it. Afterwards I was at rest again.

Through this trial God has influenced many people to pray for me, call me, send cards, e-mails, one special person invited me to stay with her in order to care for me after surgery. There have been many other means of encouragement, to numerous to mention.

Sometimes we as a people, feel that we do so little to inspire, encourage, or build up the body of Christ—that we have no gifts. I want you to know that those prayers, cards, emails and other expressions of concern have encouraged me and I have felt the hand of God. God often expresses His love by inspiring His people to perform good works. Jesus instructed us by saying (Matthew 13:35): "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Be sure to continue in good works! There are many people—just like me—that will really appreciate your support in times of trouble!