Thanking God in Midst of the Storm
Hannah Jackson, GCA Upper School Faculty

May 9, 2016 my world turned upside down. May 9, 2016 “the bottom fell out of my life.” May 9, 2016 I was told that I had cancer.

What started out as simple labs and scans turned into a diagnosis of a rare disease that would forever change my life. It began a whirlwind of doctors, scans, biopsies, chemo, hospitalizations, surgeries, radiation, months spent in New York for clinical trials, and so much more. It felt as though my life of comfort, happiness, and ease was over.

About a month after my diagnosis I asked one of my doctors a very pointed and difficult question, “What is the survival rate of my cancer?” She answered, “20 percent,” but I refused to accept that.

May 9, 2016 was a long, hard, day that turned into long, hard years. But the hardships that I have faced throughout the last four years could never compare to the lessons that God has been gracious enough to teach me. Lessons of contentment in the present, giving up control to the only One who has total control, but more than anything learning how to have faith and simply wait for the Lord.

The past few years of my life have been the epitome of the phrase “hurry up and wait.” I would hurry up with scans yet have to wait for results or waiting to find out the next steps. I would hurry up with treatment only having to wait weeks for my body to recover, waiting to be completely healed.

The waiting became exhausting. It became a burden that I couldn’t bear for much longer. BUT that still, small voice sounded in my mind pieces of His word that I forgot I even knew, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” {Psalm 27:14}

All this time I had been focusing on the wrong thing. I focused on the future of what life would be like without cancer, on my fear of the next treatment, on the waiting itself. But it wasn’t until I changed my perspective and began to focus not on the waiting but on the Lord that the burden began to lift. I felt as though I could breathe again, even through the confusion and pain, because I placed my hope and faith in the Lord. I knew that He was in control of what was to come. He had gotten me through before and he would get me through again. The Message version of Psalm 130 paints the perfect picture of the cry of my heart through this time.


Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
    Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
    Listen to my cries for mercy.

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
    who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
    and that’s why you’re worshiped.

I pray to God—my life a prayer—
    and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
    waiting and watching till morning,
    waiting and watching till morning.


I cried to Him for help, I worshiped His faithfulness, and I waited for what He would say and do. Through it all God taught me to seek Him first, to purpose myself to believe in His promises and to find gratitude even when it didn’t make sense. He taught me to live victoriously through His grace because Jesus had conquered it all by nailing it to the cross.

Now I’m not saying that it was easy or that I didn’t struggle, because the Lord knows I did. What I’m saying is that because I have Jesus, I can live a victorious and triumphant life no matter what scans, test results or anything else says.

As I look back on the last four years the words that come to mind are “thank you.” I thank God that after years of fighting I can say that the cancer is finally cancer free. But more than that, I thank God that He has used cancer to show me who he really is; that He is sovereign, He is true, and He is good.