He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2.24 (ESV)
When I moved to Birmingham, Janet Hall, now a retired anchor from WBRC, began a campaign that reminded women to do self-breast exams on the 6th of every month. It was a good PR campaign that corresponded with the station’s call letters, WBRC-Fox 6. While pastoring Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a member confided in me that she had breast cancer. That conversation took place almost immediately after Janet’s campaign began.
After that conversation, two additional women confided that they had breast cancer. Ironically, none of the women wanted their diagnosis to be shared. They were living in silos. They were, at that time, suffering in silence. I persuaded the first one to share her testimony with the other two women. That began a more realistic conversation about how breast cancer was disproportionately affecting African American women. Of those three women, only one continues to be living.
I do remember a poignant conversation with my mother several years ago. She shared that a lump was discovered in her breast. After a second mammogram, a more extensive diagnostic procedure was done to confirm size and best means of addressing it. Years earlier, she had sustained a minor stroke and had her gall bladder removed. We were concerned about “another” thing that she had to go through. Fortunately, for her, it was detected early. She received treatment that did not require chemo or additional radiation. The cancer was addressed and never recurred.
Research and treatment have improved survival rates for breast cancer. Again, the key is early detection. Early detection means self-examinations, insisting that healthcare providers think preventively and not reactively.
For believers in Christ, our first line of defense is knowing that our faith ignites healing. I’ve heard it said that in football (maybe it applies to all sports) the best defense is a strong offense! The same applies to all things related to our Christian walk. Our faith in Christ coupled with the spiritual armor we wear (Ephesians 6), protect us from all that attempts to destroy us. Peter echoed the message of Isaiah 53.5. By the stripes of Jesus, by all that He physically endured for us, we are assured of spiritual and physical healing—including breast cancer. Amen.