Strength Through the Miracle

01/20/2018 .
Diana Sun  .  Guest Storyteller

On October 16, just as we entered the third week of the 40 Days of Prayer series at Saddleback Church, I heard those dramatic, horrifying words from my doctor that most people hope never to receive: “So, your test did come back as cancer.” Immediately after hearing those words, I couldn’t react, respond, or even think. I was overwhelmed by an eerie fear that was so strong, it still grips me every time I recall the moment I was given that life-changing news.

The hardest part was the waiting. After my second surgery, the doctors would find out how far along the cancer was, and determine if I would need radiation treatment. Since my cancer was in the sinus, radiation could permanently affect my hearing, eyesight, mouth, and even brain. I believe my biggest spiritual lesson of this trial came from that week of waiting.

I lay in bed at night, sleepless and in a lot of pain. The pain that kept me awake was both physical and emotional. I recalled the lessons from 40 Days of Prayer. I prayed without ceasing, without formality, and without holding back any feelings. To my amazement, the main theme of all my prayers was not, “Free me of this cancer” but, “Lord, please give me what I need to fight this.” From the bottom of my heart, I wanted his will to be done in my life, not mine. Prayer by prayer, I started to sense an overwhelming peace that surpassed my understanding.


During this time of waiting, I sent out regular email updates to my family, small group, and friends, many of whom are my prayer heroes. Their uplifting responses — encouraging messages, phone calls, flowers, and gifts — further demonstrated God’s detailed care for me.

As we were getting closer to receiving news back from my second surgery, I started seeing how different I was feeling from just a few weeks before when I first received my cancer news. I attributed the calmness (peace) and energy (joy) to all the prayers that covered and surrounded me. When the hour finally came and my surgeon called to tell me the results came back negative, I was definitely relieved, but strangely, did not see that as the answer to all the prayers. I felt that I had already been given the biggest answer to my prayer — God’s presence.

I knew all along that God can choose to answer yes or no to my request for him to take away all of my cancer. What I learned from this process is not why or how God chooses to answer my prayer. The outcome of my illness was not the key to my spiritual success from this trial. I realized, more than anything, that going through life’s struggles without his rod and his staff to comfort and to guide me, would have been my ultimate loss. As Pastor Rick taught, “when you seek God, you get everything else.”

The whirlwind of scans, tests, appointments, and surgery that I faced demonstrated God’s faithfulness to me. From the minute my local doctor referred me to a specialist at UCLA Medical Center, I have encountered miracle after miracle, both big and small. I was able to complete all the tests on time, have the results picked up or sent out without a hitch. Even my husband was able to rearrange his very hectic work schedule to accompany me to every single appointment. I knew that God was using these amazing “wins” to whisper to me, “I am here and I will be with you every step of the way.”

I still have a long road ahead of me. My husband and I have decided against radiation, taking a huge step of faith that this cancer did not spread and will not come back. I will need to have monthly monitoring at UCLA Medical for the next several years plus regular MRIs. I know things could’ve been a lot more different if this turned out to be a stage 4 cancer and I needed radiation. But regardless of living with or without cancer, I need to walk the path He put forth before me. He has given me more years in this world, so I need to use them for His glory.

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