'You can imagine how different I became ...'
Pauline’s story | Peace in the face of pancreatic cancer
“I was the eldest of five children, and we grew up on a dairy farm. My parents didn’t go to church, but they were happy for us to go along to Sunday school, with a neighbour. I loved it. I loved the Bible stories and I learned the Bible verses … but I don’t think I really understood it. I only called on God when I was in trouble.”
“Then at age 18, I got married, and I got a job at a broadcasting station. Some of the other girls attended a lunchtime Bible study and they invited me to join them. One night I went to a mission at their church and I realised, for the first time, that Jesus had made me right with God. I couldn’t do it myself. I was amazed. I gave my life to Jesus that night. Ephesians 2:8-9 was true! ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.’
“You can imagine how different I became! I wanted everyone to give their lives to the Lord. I went back to church, Bible study and teaching Sunday school. I kept telling my family and friends about Jesus, and many of them accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
“The years went on. We had two children and four grandchildren.
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“I had breast cancer when I was 49, but I recovered. Then in 2014, we were getting ready to do another trip with Bush Church Aid. I was feeling fatigued and I had a check-up. Two days later, the doctor said that I had pancreatic cancer. My grandmother had died a terrible death from pancreatic cancer years earlier. I stayed calm. Three days later, I was in hospital in Sydney, having treatment.
“My family and friends were stunned, but I felt peace about it all. I knew that if I died I would be with the Lord, and if I lived I would live for the Lord.
“After two months, my tumour shrunk to 1.3 centimetres. I lost weight and I was very, very sick. After one long operation, I had tubes coming out of me everywhere. I had nothing to eat or drink, and I felt terrible. I didn’t even feel like praying, but I was so thankful for the people praying for me. Then one night, I felt especially sick and alone. I thought I was dying.
“I called out to God and when I opened my eyes, I saw a shadow of a cross on the ceiling of my room. It hadn’t been there the night before. I said, ‘Thank you Lord’, and I went off to sleep. The next morning, I realised that the workmen next door had been using a crane, and the lights below had cast the shadow on my ceiling. The shadow hadn’t been there the night before, because changes in the weather had meant the crane operator didn’t put the crane in its usual place. I thanked God because he knew that I needed the reminder of the cross that night!
“It’s now six years since I was diagnosed, and every day I feel stronger. Some people say that I’m lucky, but I tell them that I’m not lucky. I’m blessed and thankful to God for each new day he gives me. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus our Saviour, we do experience incredible peace and security. He alone is our refuge.”