By Yuki Koh, Illustration by Joey Wong
When the haemorrhaging woman stretched out her hand to seek healing, Jesus stopped to look at her and she was healed (Mark 5:25-34). Unemployed with a potential cancer diagnosis, this is a testimony of how Jesus stopped for me and invited me to walk and trust in Him. As I worried about how my life would look like, Jesus never let me succumb to my fears. Instead, He outdid my fears and gave me so much more.
At 26 years old, many wouldn’t think about cancer or dying. One’s twenties is the prime of one’s life – learning to “adult”, getting a full time job, transitioning to married life. But as I sat in my doctor’s office, the thought of potentially dying suddenly became real.
Despite the uncertain job market in 2020, I was unemployed by choice. Having been worked very hard by my previous employer, I decided to stop work and take some time to rest. As I turned my focus to resting, I began to feel a growing urgency to visit a doctor for a lump in my lower abdomen that had been there since last year. All throughout last year and even minutes before my doctor’s visit, I wondered whether I was making it up in my mind. Thankfully, it did not just exist in my head. But the situation was severe enough to warrant a visit to a specialist doctor.
“I’m sorry, Yuki, I have to cut you open. The mass is too big. There’s a chance of cancer and I want to be safe.” Never would I have expected to hear the word ‘cancer’ in my 20’s. Suddenly, I felt scared and disappointed in myself for not visiting the doctor earlier. And as I waited for further tests to be done, a myriad of possibilities began to fill my mind. If it was indeed cancer, how would my life look like then? Yet as I poured through the different scenarios, God also began to quietly invite me into his embrace, reassuring me that no matter what the outcome was, He will be holding my hand and walking with me. But this process of trusting Him also meant surrendering all my hopes and dreams as my one of my all-time favourite song, These Alone Are Enough, goes:
Take my heart, O Lord, take my hopes and dreams.
Take my mind with all its plans and schemes.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace.
These alone, O God, are enough for me.
As someone who is regularly involved in community and church retreats, the line of surrendering all to Jesus is all too familiar. But faced with this situation, I truly wondered whether I knew how to surrender to Him, because surrendering meant giving up control of my ‘ideal’ marriage where my fiancé and I would have two or three children. It meant giving up control of a career that I had barely even begun. And it also meant giving up control of my relationships with family and friends. It meant giving up control of a life that I had worked so hard to plan for.
But the act of surrendering is not something that one can do through one’s efforts or strength. It can only be done through God’s grace, grace that overflows. As I mentally prepared myself to undergo surgery, friends and family prayed for me, encouraged me and made space for me to just be. I never felt abandoned. Instead, I felt so reassured to face what lay ahead of me. God had not forsaken me in this journey of suffering, and instead revealed Himself through my friends and family.
So as surgery day came by, I headed for the hospital still holding on to my fears (for I am still human). Yet God still outdid my fears again. When I worried about having enough to pay the hospital fees, my insurance covered it. When I worried about my fiancé not making it in time from work to see me before going into the operating theatre, he arrived just as I was being admitted. When I laid on the hospital bed being wheeled into the operating theatre, a friend working at the hospital as a pastoral care worker prayed for me. Even right to the doors of the operating theatre, God was ever present with me.
Next thing I remembered coming out of my surgery was my doctor holding my shoulder in my groggy state telling me, “Yuki, no cancer!” Later, I found out that my doctor did not even have to remove my left ovary or fallopian tube as originally planned. The eventual diagnosis, a common condition called endometriosis. 3 days later, I left the hospital in awe at how this ordeal had become such a God filled experience. In no way did I leave the hospital lacking. Instead, I left feeling like a renewed person, reminded that whatever situation I am in, God’s invitation is to always walk with Him. He is always there for me.
Yuki, after her surgery
As I end my testimony, I am reminded of the story of the haemorrhaging woman in Mark chapter 5. The woman never gave up hope of being healed despite suffering for twelve long years and Jesus stopped for her. Jesus healed her. In the same way, Jesus stopped for me and showed me in so many ways that He is always with me in my suffering. Dear reader, I hope that this testimony has given you hope and reminded you of how faithful the Lord is. And I pray that no matter what struggles you may face, no matter the gravity of the situation, that you will reach out to Jesus, for He is always with you.