Friday, November 16, 2012
Beyond Cancer's Scars: Laying Claim to a Stronger Spirit by F. Elaine Olsen
Beyond Cancer's Scars: Laying Claim to a Stronger Spirit by F. Elaine Olsen, WinePress Publishing, $16.99 retail list price ($14.00 from Elaine's website), paperback.
Elaine's journey through cancer is a journey toward a greater faith that chronicles hope in the midst of despair; peace in the face of uncertainty. It's not a journey she would have chosen but this book is proof that if we can just trust God along the way, we can come through any challenge victorious even if battle weary and scarred (literally and figuratively) by the process.
What captured my heart most in reading portions of this book is how honest Elaine is as she shares the emotional as well as physical side of cancer, how cancer impacted her family, how she sees the future. She doesn't pretend that her faith was unwavering every minute or that she didn't have times of discouragement and doubt, but instead of yielding to those things she turned to what she knew was true of God's faithfulness over the years - "faith deposits" as she calls them, "years and years worth of intentional investments into my spiritual bank account. That's the single reason behind my being able to handle my cancer season."
But don't let the title of this book lead you to believe it is only for cancer survivors. Yes, it is a wonderful source of encouragement for anyone going through that particularly devastating battle, but what holds true for them also holds true for any struggle a believer finds himself or herself dealing with. In every chapter I found Elaine's words and the truth of God's word applicable to my own areas of struggle that have nothing to do with cancer.
There are 40 chapters in this book that include a prayer, devotional questions for contemplation, and scripture at the end of each, making this a great resource for personal or group Bible study. Chapter topics include Cancer Gives Back, Living Up to Your Learning, God Keeps Pace with Your Pain, Living Up to Your Convictions, Just Breathe, Hope Grows, Clutching Truth, and Live On, to name just a few.
This is a book I want to put into the hands of every person I know who is dealing with cancer (or any other illness or struggle) because I know that Elaine's words are aligned with God's truth and His desire to carry us through any circumstance.