"I was first diagnosed in 2011 with kidney cancer. Fast forward to 2018–2019, my cancer returned in the form of a tumor on my sternum causing my sternum to be fractured. Then, in July 2019, a spinal tumor was discovered. Surgery was successful, and the area was rebuilt. But, a few months later, yet another tumor was discovered in my upper left arm. Following surgery, another tumor appeared in my left knee. Through this cycle of cancer and treatment, I am now seeing doctors at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, for additional treatment options."
Believe it or not, this is how Phil Newberry's story of thankfulness begins.
As Christians, we know we are commanded to "rejoice always" (1 Thessalonians 5:16). But, how does one rejoice when facing hardship, especially repetitive life-changing hardship like what Phil has gone through?
Well, according to Phil, "I can 'rejoice always' simply because I know God's got this, and He will never leave me nor forsake me. I am constantly reminded of this truth by these words of Paul, 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose' (Romans 8:28)."
As many of us struggle to give thanks during this challenging season of life, may we all be reminded that while we may not rejoice in the circumstances that bring us pain, we can and we should rejoice in our God who has a greater plan and will not let any of our pain be wasted.
Phil described his response to his 2011 cancer diagnosis: "As I sat in my car in the Hobby Lobby parking lot, and as tears began to fall, these three words came from my mouth: 'For Your Glory!' And leaving the parking lot I cried out, 'For Your Glory! For Your Glory!' over and over again as I was driving home to tell my wife Jeanne of the diagnosis. Since that day, this has been the desire of my heart and life: Lord use this cancer and my life for Your glory. Seldom a day passes that I don’t cry out, 'For Your Glory!'"
So, whatever you are facing this Thanksgiving, may we all choose to surrender to the Lord and His plan saying, "For Your Glory!" May we each live with our eyes fixed on Christ and eternity with Him.
"No matter the length of my life (currently 64 years) or 93 years (the age of my beautiful mom), this life is but a vapor." Phil said.
"When I live in light of eternity, every day I live is a gift, and every day brings me closer to seeing my Savior face to face."
"I love that old chorus 'Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.' This world is flawed, so when we keep our eyes on life’s circumstances, we naturally become discouraged and defeated. My encouragement to anyone going through a difficult journey—be it health related, marriage challenges, family issues, financial, etc.—is to cling to the Lord through prayer, time in the Word, and fellowship with your church family."
"We are blessed beyond measure and have so much to be thankful for. Specifically, Jeanne and I want to thank Bro. Steve, David Coombs, Joe Jernigan, all the Bellevue staff, and Bellevue family for standing with us as we walk this path. We stand in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. It is all for His Glory!"
If you are facing a difficult path this Thanksgiving season, or if you need prayer or biblical guidance, visit bellevue.org/prayer or contact our Biblical Counseling Office at (901) 347-5830.