In early 2007, my grandfather was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Both my grandmother and he were cancer survivors. But this time, it was different. My other grandfather died from cancer in 2005. I knew what that felt like, and I didn’t want to feel it again.
The five-year survival rate for patients with esophageal cancer is 15 percent, with most patients dying within the first year. I talked to a lady I knew about it, and she told me that her father-in-law had died from it. That didn't help anything.
I remember the day of the surgery getting in my car to drive the hour and a half to the hospital where he was having the surgery. I was praying, begging God to work miracles. I had Jeff and Sheri Easter’s Life Is Great and Gettin’ Better in my car. “Over and Over” started playing. I had heard this song many times before, but at this moment, it was exactly what I needed to hear.
“Over and over, again and again, God is faithful.” The chorus made me stop and think about how many times God had been with me through other trials and hardships. He was faithful through it all. I had seen God work in their lives before when they battled cancer before. And even though I had recently experienced loss due to cancer, I knew that God is always faithful. He is always there to help us survive hardships and come out on the other side, so we can have the victory with him. He would be my strength in getting through the hard times no matter what the outcome was.
Verse two says: “I’d simply say every battle has taught me, There’s nothing He won’t help me through, So why should I dwell on the hardships and struggles, When I look just beyond them I see, The way this will end is with great celebration, Deep in my heart I believe.”
Those words were the reassurance I needed that God would help me through, no matter what I faced. He had taught me that; I knew that. I knew that I couldn’t focus on the situation and the what-ifs, but on the fact that He would be with me. He knew exactly how it would turn out. Even though I wasn’t so sure that things would end in a celebration, I did know that if the unspeakable, unthinkable happened where he would be. That would be a celebration, but certainly not one that I wanted to have.
When Sheri was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, I thought it was so fitting that the second verse of this song was referenced in their release about it. I knew personally how much this song could help those facing cancer and their loved ones.
On the way to the hospital, God gave me a great peace through this song. And as we prayed in the hospital before the surgery, God again used the lyrics of the song to speak to me. When the tears started coming, I was reminded that no matter what God would be faithful, because He had proven it over and over.
And He was, and things did end in a great celebration. Earlier this month, my grandfather became a five-year esophageal cancer survivor beating the odds. God is faithful, over and over again, and for that we are still celebrating!