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I was diagnosed with cancer, now what?

Updated: Apr 3

By: Jensine Ahrens, Vertical Church

My name is Jensine Ahrens. I am a follower of Jesus, a wife to Luke, and mother to four precious children; Isaiah (20), Elijah (19), Micah (14) and Tirzah (9). In May of 2021, I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer that had already metastasized to my lungs, liver, and bones. Four months later, we found out that the cancer had spread to my brain. I was originally given a prognosis of five years to live. I did not have cancer in my family and did not really have any “risk” factors for cancer. I was shocked. 

Each of our stories are different and each of our bodies respond uniquely to different modalities. Most of you, even if you don’t have cancer, know someone with cancer. As you process your cancer journey, or perhaps are in a place to encourage another person you know who is dealing with cancer, I want to commend a passage of Scripture to you that encouraged me (sent to me by a dear friend). This passage has helped me with the question “I was diagnosed with cancer…now what?”

“Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him” (2 Chronicles 20:2-4).

I would encourage you to set aside an intentional time to fast and pray specifically for how best to pursue health for your body by making it a place where cancer can not thrive. At the same time,  surrendering your body to God’s will.We are also reminded that regardless of the cancer journey results, God created your body and knows it best—He cares about details of your life and is intimately acquainted with you since He knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13,15). 

In my case, I believe God has called me to show the people around me a little of what it looks like to trust Him with the unknown and tension of an ongoing cancer journey (especially with the lesions in my brain that I still currently have). 

In 2 Chronicles 20:12 they cry out, “Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Then later in verse 15 it reads, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

With a cancer diagnosis, it can feel like you have no power to control it. I was trying to research all the treatment options and got overwhelmed as I tried to figure it all out. But through reading this passage, I felt God saying to me, “Jensine, you can’t figure all this out, I will give wisdom one step at a time as you put your trust in me; I will fight this battle for you.” What a reassuring thought! God can fight my cancer battle as I trust in Him. 

And then we see that Jehoshaphat worships before the victory. “As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chronicles 20:22). Worship is a weapon of grace.

As I close, let me share a poem that I wrote based on 2 Chronicles Chapter 20. I pray that it will encourage you in your journey:

Are you afraid? Do not fear.

Cry out for help!

Humble yourself. Get down low with a circle of saints,

And ask for direction from a God who will save.

Cry out, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are ever toward You.”

You hear our cry, you see our tears, you know our fears.

And You say, “I will fight this battle for You!”

I will prevail; I will deliver you.

You only stand still.

I am the Light that shines bright to defeat the enemy.

We worship You, now and always.

Even when the dark clouds loom, I will find my hope in You.

Through every storm, You light the way.

Your lamp will light my way, each step, steady, day by day.

God, you are strong, strong when I’m weak.

Intertwine me with your heartbeat.

You will cause my fears to be relieved, as they fall down at Your feet.

Victory is sure to come as you fight; Your will be done.


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