The news I never wanted to hear: His cancer is back…

Earlier this summer, my family heard from Scott & White something we never wanted to hear. The news was that there was a possibility that Dad’s cancer had returned and they wanted to do tests as soon as possible. At that moment my mind raced, “Could it be back so soon?” I wondered. Not long after, I was joking around with Shayla when my Nana (out of the blue it seems) said, “you need to go talk to your daddy.” She quietly pulled me aside and told me, “The cancer is back.”

I didn’t know what to think or how to feel; I was simply shocked. Several years ago, I never dreamed that my Dad, someone so close to me, my best friend, would have colon cancer, much less have it twice in just a few short years.

I still remember when it all started, the summer of 2013. Dad had a colonoscopy and BigDaddy and I went with him. After the procedure was over, our gastroenterologist (we have the same one) pulled me into a small conference room to tell me why Dad was having so much pain. I went in there thinking it would be something simple and easily treatable. He then proceeded to tell me that there was a sigmoid mass. I was taken aback when hearing the word “mass.” Immediately, I pleaded with him, “Please tell me it’s not cancer?” Knowing that our doctor was outspoken about his faith, he simply stated, “If Lord willing.”

Of course he couldn’t tell me, “Nah. He’ll be fine.” A few weeks later we found out that it was indeed cancer. As common as it is for people to get cancer, in some form or another, you never imagine that it could happen to someone you care so deeply about.

After surgery to remove the cancer, he would undergo six months of chemotherapy. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that Dad had cancer. Yet throughout all of the chemotherapy, Dad continued to remain strong in his faith. He would constantly tell me that “God has a plan for each one of us, and that the horrible things we go through can be used for His glory and to encourage others.” Even when I felt discouraged with my Crohn’s, Dad, who was going through far worse than I could possibly imagine, would encourage me to walk boldly knowing that God always goes before us.

December 24, 2013, I received the greatest Christmas gift, second only to the birth of Jesus. God gave me a cancer-free Dad! The following Spring Break, he completed his last chemo treatment, and we had a great idea. Wearing the Superman shirt we got him for Christmas, he posed in a picture with me, and I explained all the reasons why he was my Superman. He raised me as a single parent, conquered college algebra, received his degree, beat cancer, and finished chemo with his head held high.

A picture of my Superman Dad and me!

A picture of my Superman Dad and me!

The following semester, he was once again sick with an illness he told me made him feel worse than chemo ever did. Once again, he was all I could think about. One day, as I was discouraged while having a rough day, health-wise, I received a text out of nowhere it seemed. It was from my Superman, and it read, “It came to me in my weakness that God moves strong. He’s shaping me into something awesome for His glory alone. Show me this text in a month and we’ll praise Him together. Love you boy!”

If you still wonder why I always call him my Superman, that’s why. In the midst of such sickness and pain, he has always encouraged me to stand strong in my daily walk with God, and that in God, all things are possible! Even after his surgery the year before, he continually raised up his index finger to the heavens and said, “Thank you Jesus,” even though he was still trying to wake up from surgery. He says he doesn’t remember it, but I do clear as day.

Fast forward to the day my Nana pulled me aside to tell me the news, my mind was in shock that he had it a second time. In a way to distract us for a while, we went to the movies with Jeremiah and saw Pixels with D-Box seats (it was 3D and the seats moved along with the movie). It was pretty cool and for a while, I completely forgot he had cancer again.

The ride back home, reality came back to me. The cancer is back, the cancer is back. At a loss for words, the CD player started playing, “I Still Believe” by Jeremy Camp. The song reaffirmed in my heart that nothing is too big or scary for God. It reaffirmed my confidence that Jesus has our back every step of the way.

Looking towards the stars, I listened to these words:

Scattered words and empty thoughts / seem to pour from my heart
I’ve never felt so torn before/ seems I don’t know where to start
But it’s now that I feel your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in your faithfulness / I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word / even when I don’t see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind / with promises I still seem to bear
Even when answers slowly unwind / It’s my heart I see you prepare
But it’s now that I feel your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in your faithfulness / I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word / even when I don’t see, I still believe

I felt that the song was perfect in that moment. My mind was truly scattered, yet in those trying times, it is God’s grace that gives us comfort, that washes away fear, anxiety, and frustration. In these moments, He speaks to us, saying, “Be in awe and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted throughout the earth” (ISV). It is in our weaknesses that God truly moves strong. So, I still believe! I believe that He remains faithful, and that His word is true. He will be exalted among the nations. He is so powerful that nothing is bigger than Him.

While Dad will now go through six more months of chemo to knock out the cancer (thankfully they caught it very early, but the word “cancer” is still scary), he still continues to believe in the awesome mightiness of God, and that God goes before him. Dad inspires me daily and continues to show me that God moves strong. I hope he always remembers that he never fights alone. He never ceases to amaze me and make me proud to say that Ronnie Stewart is the greatest father ever. I truly believe that no form of cancer, or anything else, can stand in the way of God using us in mighty ways.

Thank you Dad for inspiring me and inspiring others. By showing me how God moves strong, you truly are MY SUPERMAN!

Camp, Jeremy. I Still Believe. By Jeremy Camp, 2002. K-Love. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

International Standard Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp

How Can I Keep From Singing by Chris Tomlin

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