By Rhonda Zweber
Has there been a time when Jesus’ agenda for your life was different than your own? Many times, I’m sure. There have been in my life. I would like to tell you about one that is forever carved in my heart. In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. More specifically, I received the phone call from my doctor at 11:59 a.m. on Friday, May 18, 2007, confirming that I had cancer. Like a carving in a tree, I see that time and date etched on my heart. It was when my life changed forever.
The extent of that change continues to unfold as I walk the path that Jesus has laid out for me. Just two days prior to that phone call, I was lying on an exam table after having an ultrasound done on my breast when a prayer came to my heart. “Thy will be done; just give me the strength to get through it.” Thirteen words. Thirteen words that have also been carved on my heart. It was at that moment that I accepted Jesus’ agenda for my life and not my own. What’s absolutely amazing about that prayer is that it was full of trust and acceptance of a life I had no idea how to comprehend.
Trust and Believe
In today’s gospel from John 11:1-44, we read about the death of Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. Martha went to meet Jesus and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you” (John 11:21, 22). I believe that Martha was saddened that Jesus didn’t heal Lazarus, and yet, she trusted and believed in God’s will, not hers.
She had no comprehension of the power that Jesus had but totally trusted him when he said that her brother would rise. “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25, 26)? Do you have that level of belief in Jesus? Martha did! I do!
Accept the Invitation
My diagnosis opened my heart to desire a real relationship with our Lord. Before my diagnosis, I was just going through the motions of what I thought it meant to be a ‘good Catholic’. My three daughters were attending catholic school, I was volunteering at school and church, and we attended mass every Sunday. I had no idea what I was missing. It took me a couple of years after my diagnosis, to realize that those words that came to my heart on that exam table were a prayer, accepting the invitation from Jesus to walk with him and believe that he was walking with me.
Walk with Me
Almost thirteen years later, my relationship with Jesus continues to strengthen. Jesus has never left my side, especially when the breast cancer continued to move throughout my body. I know He is showing me the pathway to heaven as He guides my daily actions. I have come to completely believe that when my body cannot take any more chemotherapy and my physical body dies, my soul will live on because Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.
“Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God” (John 11:40)?
Etch those words on your heart.
About the author:
Rhonda Zweber is a Catholic wife, mother of three daughters (two are married), and a proud grandma of Lucy! Rhonda’s mission in life since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 has been to bring others to Christ. Rhonda enjoys speaking to groups and sharing how her relationship with Jesus has grown and has sustained her throughout her journey. Reading Between the Signs, was published by the American Chesterton Society. Her first book, Mommy’s Hats, explains her first year of cancer treatment through the eyes of her youngest daughter when she was just 5 years old.