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The Battle with Cancer

Pastor David F. Reagan



I Know Who Holds Tomorrow: This was a special done by Pastor Reagan at Antioch shortly after he received the news about his cancer.



Dear Praying Friends,

Pastor Reagan will soon be admitted to a hospice care center. His lungs are beginning to shut down and his home-going appears to be very near.

Please pray for him that God would have mercy upon him and make his promotion as easy as is possible. He will have all of his family surrounding him.

Thank you for praying for preacher and for his family..

Mrs. Reagan



To all the faithful prayer warriors:

I want to say, first of all, that we regret that we are unable to personally respond to each and every email that we have received. Please know that Preacher Reagan and I sincerely appreciate each one of your emails and the very kind and encouraging words and the many, many prayers that have been prayed and are being prayed daily for us.

Our hearts have been so touched by the outpouring of Christian love and kindness during these months of first trying to determine what was happening to preacher to cause so much pain, the diagnosis of cancer, the treatments and now the latest news that preacher will not be cured of cancer but will be promoted to heaven.

We are not in charge of the outcome of our prayers but we are simply to pray and leave the results in our gracious and loving Heavenly Father's hands. We are His children. We do not possess the knowledge or understanding that our Heavenly Father has concerning what is best for us. We, like little children, must trust God and then as obedient children, submit to His perfect will for our lives. Preacher and I are not superhuman or beyond human faults and failures. We are flesh just like each of you. Our desire has always been to trust God and that He would be honored and glorified through our lives. We wanted nothing more than to love Him and serve Him with all of our hearts.

Thank you for caring and for praying. Your prayers have made this trial bearable. Your prayers have encouraged us and strengthened us. Your prayers have helped supply our needs. Just when a need came up...I know that someone somewhere must have been praying for God to supply our needs and at times even before we knew we had a need God supplied . Your faithful prayers wafted up to the ears of God and He was pleased to answer and supply so many needs.

No, He did not choose to heal my husband of the cancer. It wasn't that He did not hear our prayers for healing but rather that His plan for preacher and I did not include healing the cancer. His way is perfect and we do not question His reasoning or His plan for our lives. We are at peace in our submission to God's plan for our lives. The separation that my husband and I will experience is painful but even in that I believe God will be faithful to comfort my heart and provide for me and show me how He would have me continue to serve Him until such time as He calls me home to heaven too.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Please pray that the radiation treatments will be successful in bringing the pain under control. We have an excellent team of doctors and nurses helping preacher. We are so grateful for their expertise and knowledge and for their help.

Like you, we have many challenges and disappointments that we deal with in relation to preacher's illness. Today I dealt with one of these events and I am sorry to say, my initial reaction was shock, anger, frustration and exasperation, fear and then God's still small voice spoke to my heart. I had to admit to God that my peace had flown right out the window and fear and anger had replaced it. I had forgotten Who was in charge of this situation. The circumstances that I was dealing with were not a surprise to God but they sure were to me. I had put my trust in something other than God and He just knocked that "crutch" right out from under me. I thought I was trusting Him but it took this event today to show me that I was trusting in a man-made instrument. God wanted my attention and my full trust in Him and His provision.

So, thanks to those of you who prayed for us today. We need your prayers daily as we continue down this path called cancer. It is not an easy path to travel. But then, I am sure each of you face things in your lives that seem so hard and that make you fearful and angry at times too. I hope each of you have other Christians praying regularly for you and your needs. It is the intercessory prayers of others that afford each of us strength and courage to face the challenges and disappointments and surprises that come our way daily.

Thank you for remembering us and caring and praying. We are so blessed to have each of you praying for us. Thank you for writing and encouraging us. We do read your emails and we appreciate hearing from you.

In His Service,
Mrs. Reagan

Isaiah 55:8,9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.



I know that my wife has already sent out a notice about this week's report from the doctor. However, we have different sets of addresses and I believe it good to give my own report. In short, we found out Tuesday that despite the chemotherapy the tumors in my body continue to multiply and grow. The cancer is not responding to treatment and I am almost certainly only a few weeks from departing this world.

The doctors are going to try to do some radiation therapy on my original and largest tumor in order to control the pain there. However, this is only palliative care and is not meant to cure anything. Please pray for me as I go through this one last series of treatments. Lying down on the table for the treatment can be very painful for me.

Please do not mourn for me as if this were some great tragedy. This is clearly God's timing and He makes everything beautiful in His time. He has decided that I have finished my course and that is His call. I go to be with him. Enoch lived in a time when the average lifespan was about 900 years. Yet, God called him up after only 365. We do not consider this a tragedy. Neither is my departure.

My prayer is for my wife and family and for the church I have ministered in for about 29 years. I covet your prayers for the same. Also, remember me as I approach the end. I will be dealing with breathing problems and increased pain. I trust God's grace to be sufficient for these things.

Till He comes,

David F. Reagan



I just got back from the doctor earlier this afternoon and he told us that he is "cautiously optimistic" at the latest developments in my cancer treatment. The information is a bit complicated, but I will summarize it the best I can.

The tumor in the hip had not been checked for six weeks (the lungs were checked three weeks ago). It has grown a little--but only a little. And that growth may have been more in the earlier part of the six weeks. More important, the center of the tumor seems to be dying. This could be from the tumor outgrowing its source of blood (a natural cause) or from the effects of the chemo therapy. It is not necessarily great news--but it is good news. Keep praying.

The tumors in the lungs are doing some interesting things. The largest one did not grow at all. More important, some of the small nodes that are beginning tumors have disappeared. Finally, one tumor that had measured 2 cm three weeks ago was now only one half of a centimeter. Keep praying.

Since it looks like the chemo may be having some good effect right now, we will continue with it. I start again this coming Monday. Pray that I will be able to continue tolerating the chemo (I have some rough days during the treatment) and pray that the tumors will continue to shrink and die.

Though this is good news, much still needs to happen before I make it through this. Also, the process is tough on me, my family (especially my wife) and our church. Please pray for all of us. The prayers of God's people have made the difference so far. Please do not stop now. And thank you so much for all the prayers and support so far. You folks have been wonderful.

Finally, I thank the Lord for His goodness in all this. He enabled me to attend and have a part in my son's wedding this last Saturday. It was a blessed event. We can do nothing more than He allows. But when He enables us, we can do all things through Him. Despite the hardship of my sickness, God has continued to bless our church. I give Him the glory for all these things. Just, please, keep praying.

Till He comes,

David F. Reagan



Greetings to all, 

I went to the doctor this afternoon to see how I fared under the last treatment of chemo-therapy. The news was not great, but it was the first hopeful news we had received from the doctors since I had been diagnosed with cancer. It seems that this last chemo- treatment has slowed the growth of the cancer considerably. Please note: it has neither stopped the growth or reversed it, but it has slowed it down. However, because of the rapid speed of the earlier growth this is good.

Let me explain more specifically. The doctor is using a large tumor in my lungs as a measuring stick. During the interval of the first chemo-treatment (the one that did not work), this tumor grew from 4cm to 8cm long. This is out-of-control growth. However, during the interval of the second treatment (a different one), the tumor grew from 8cm to 9cm. My doctor tells me that if the growth can be slowed in one treatment, another treatment or two can reverse the size and began shrinkage. That is my prayer request concerning the tumor right now. I begin another chemo-treatment on Wednesday. Pray with me that the tumors will begin to shrink.  

My situation is still very serious and each report will be critical. I want to thank all who have remembered me in prayer through this time. Your prayers and encouraging words have been such a wonderful blessing to me and my wife. I only ask that you continue to pray as you have been doing.

Since I do not know how this will turn out in the end, I have further wondered why the Lord allows it to draw out as it is. He could take me on home if He wishes; or, He could heal me in a moment. The thought that came to me is that we are to wait on the Lord. There is no waiting if we know the results ahead of time. Waiting means we must just trust in the Lord to work things out to His will and in His time. I pray the Lord will give me the faith to simply wait on Him through this time.  

One final note: I have had dozens and dozens of people tell me that they are praying for me. I have had one nine-year-old boy write to tell me specifically how he was praying for me and then ask for other specific requests I had concerning the sickness. I have also had reports that he is remembering me specifically in these ways in faithful prayer. Others have asked what they could do. He asked how he could better pray. I am amazed that this young man's faithfulness and believe God is answering his prayers in a special way.

Till He comes,

David F. Reagan



I have not reported to you folks in a while. I am not sure how to give you this last news. I am beginning to understand a bit what Joseph must have felt like. He had these dreams of a wonderful future when his brothers sold him into slavery. Then, just as soon as it looked like he was going to be blessed in his service to Potiphar, he was falsely accused of making advances against his master's wife and thrown into prison. Then, when it looked as if the interpretation of the dreams of the baker and butler would provide him a way out, he was greeted with silence for two more years.

Anyway, I had had some anecdotal evidence that my cancer might be getting better. As it turns out, the guesses were wrong. Even with this last set of chemotherapy, the tumors are still growing. The 10 centimeter one in my hip is now 13 cm. The largest in my lungs was 5 cm; now it is 7cm. So, what do we do? We are trying another form of chemotherapy. The first method worked in about 50% of the cases; this one works in about 30% of the cases. But it is worth a try. The doctor said he could only think of one other approach if this one failed.

The last two or three days have been hard. The first news of cancer made me face death and God gave me great peace. This last peace of news touched me differently. I felt myself going through the valley of the shadow of death as I had never experienced before in my life. I felt all the darkness and dread of that great enemy. The broad shadow of this great enemy cut out all life.

Then, tonight, it all broke through. It started by my having to deal with a new symptom of the chemotherapy: diarrhea. Then, I hurt my bad leg. I could see myself going to the hospital tonight with a bad leg--something I had been warned over and over about. In my frustration and with my son in the room, I started mumbling. At first, it was scriptures and partial scriptures from all over the Bible. Then, I picked up my Bible and started reading the passages that spoke of our victory over death.

I read aloud Psalm 23. I read Job's confidence that he would see his Redeemer in his flesh. I read the passage in Romans telling us that we are more than conquerors. I read in 1Corinthians 15 about the resurrection and our victory over death. With the tears streaming down my cheeks, I read with growing strength and vigor. The words of God were in a sense defiant. Death would not have the victory! Life would be the victor!

When I finished reading, I talked to my son, Sam, who had listened through it all. I told him how I wanted God to have the victory in my life even if I was to die. I want to know what it is to be more than a conqueror. Death is not defeat for the believer and I do not want to depart in any form of defeat. Then, I talked to my son about how I would like some things to work out, especially for the church and ministry, if I am to die. We talked for some time and then I asked him to pray. He prayed from a heart overflowing and God gave me peace once again.

My leg is already better and I think it will be alright for now. I know that the peace of God may come and go at this time. But it is there and can be gained by an adventurous soul willing to fight for it. This journey may take me to ever-increasing heights and depths of heart and soul. Yet, there is only one place it will eventually end and that is in the presence of my precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. O what a glorious day that will be!

Till He comes,

David F. Reagan



Greetings to All,

This is the first real letter I personally been able to send out since my stay in the hospital, so I am sending it to all who are on my list. Evidently, many people are receiving these second and third hand and that is fine too. I will certainly go into more detail than some of you want and will make more spiritual application than others will want. I appreciate and understand those of you who do not have time or do not take the interest to read the entire letter. But I do want you to know that it comes from my heart in a time of true personal crisis and it seeks to exalt the God who make me.

When I told the cancer doctor, Tuesday a week ago, that I wanted to aggressively attack the sarcoma cancer cells invading my body, how little did I know of what that meant. I know that some of you are wondering why you have not heard more. Simply speaking, I have not felt like sending anything. Also. I have a list of email addresses I send to and my wife and others have other lists. If you had been getting your information from my list, you have received nothing in a week and a half because I have been unable to sit and write coherently.

As I said in an earlier post, my cancer had already spread into other parts of the body. Not only had it accomplished much destruction in the left hip, but tumors had already appeared in both lungs. Since the entire body had been attacked, the only sensible strategy was a medical approach that dealt with the entire body. I know that cancer doctors would probably wince at the coming explanation of my chemo-therapy, but it is what makes sense to me. First, they choose a combination of drugs that are most likely to attack the cancer cells. Second, considering the damage these drugs do to the profitable parts of the body and how powerful others drugs are to deliver the patient from these harmful effects, they in a calculated way bring the patient as close to death without really killing him. Then, they will test in later days to see if their calculations worked--or did not. There is a strong unknowing quality in the entire process.

Now, I am not being critical of those who deal with oncology (the study of cancer). On the contrary, I am amazed at how many factors they are able to deal with simultaneously and the results they are able to achieve. It is as if they are beginning to understand some of the complexities of God Himself. And, I suppose this is the case in any true science. However, though scientists in other fields might be seeking that god-like power of knowing, the oncologist is quickly reminded (perhaps by the next case that walks in) how far he is from this condition. By God's grace, it seems that my doctors and even their nurses are active Christians. It was a real blessing to have my doctor pray with me before I entered the hospital.

Anyway, I had better not get so philosophical. I do not know how long I will feel like writing tonight. The first war is with the cancer in the hip and lungs. To attack that, I received what they called mega-doses of chemo-therapy. This is a level of therapy t hat is only given to people in really bad shape already and with whom the cancer has already spread--what used to be and still often is the curse that kills. In addition, mega-doses of chemo are usually reserved for people who are still in generally good health. Thankfully, I fit that also.

After I had received the chemo-therapy at the hospital and had returned home, I thought I was probably going to go through a few days of not feeling very well and then return to normal. Well, let me tell you (I'm grinning), in many ways the battle had just begun. What the chemo may or may not be doing to my cancer cells I do not know and will not know for a few more weeks (despite some wrong information I gave earlier--Hey, I am a beginner in this warfare). But what happened is that the battle moved to several new fronts:

  1. Nausea - the first battle was the one to keep my food down. This is one of the most universal responses to the chemo, but they said that my reaction was greater than they anticipated. I am starting to get some victory here.
  2. Constipation - No, I am not dwelling here. However, it is more critical than I ever thought that the poisons they put in my system do not get stuck in any one place.
  3. Destruction of lining of entire esophagus: mouth, throat, stomach. It has been a battle in the extreme to eat anything since I have been home from the hospital. Many times it is just as difficult to talk. The entire lining system we have in our bodies that are designed to absorb food has been wrecked. Yet, I must eat if I am to survive. God has been good to get me through this.
  4. Destruction of white blood cells and immunity to disease - This actually peaks several days out of the hospital and I am in the middle of this battle right now. My white blood count was down to 700, a number that means little to me but seems to impress the doctors and nurses. Although I have insurance, one of dangers is that if the treatment I receive is effective, I could run out of coverage before treatment is complete. God, however, is already showing how He is taking care of some things before their time. I will have to take about ten shots to rebuild my white blood cell count (this time) and they cost about $500 per shot. Well, the first ten shots have been donated. God is good.
  5. Pain and new injury to the cancered hip. When I got home from the chemo-therapy treatments, my pain in the hip actually increased. In fact, for about three or four times a day, my hip would go into a time of excruciating pain that did not want to stop. It did not seem to matter how much other medicine had been taken. After talking to the medical people about this, we found that there were several possible causes of this. For one thing, I had slept at home for months in a recliner, but in the hospital I was confined to a bed (the recliner they offered being worse than their bed). The change back to the house may have irritated the hip. However, another possibility was that my hip was just this bad now. The medical people thought it was. The tumor had caused jagged edges in my pelvis and other bones. When I walked on them (even with a cane), I was scraping the remaining muscle and nerves over this bone, creating continued spasms of pain.

This was beginning to make sense to me. Then, they added a third factor. If the chemo-therapy is beginning to be successful in shrinking the tumor (as many of you are praying it is), then the pain is likely to get worse. As the tumor grew, it took the place of the bone and marrow that it consumed. When it shrinks, it will leave nothing to act as a cushion in its place. My increased pain could actually be a sign for hope.

However, what should I do with the pain in the meantime? If I break the bone before the chemo (and eventually, radiation) have time to do their work, then the entire process will be slowed down. It will create a costly detour. Therefore, we decided to do two things. First, I will try to minimize my movement. The less I I move around, the fewer opportunities I have to tear the hip or break something. Second, in order to accomplish this, I will accept higher levels of medication for pain. I had always been of the mindset that we should get off the pain meds as soon as possible in order to avoid addiction of any sort. The needs of this situation have changed my thinking somewhat. The nurse also assured me that addiction only comes to those who take it for the feeling it gives; not to those who take it for pain. Personally, I have not found the feelings I have received from pain medication to match in any way the feelings I have in a good prayer service at Antioch Baptist Church. There is nothing inviting there. In fact, I have already backed off from the level of pain medication I had three or four days ago.

Has it been rough? Sure it has. A few years ago, the treatment that put me in the hospital for five days would have kept the patient in the hospital for 21 days. The nurse told me last night that most people with my levels of chemo would have had to return to the hospital at least once by now. It is just that serious. However, I am also seeking the Lord's face to see what He would teach me during this time. It is easy to think that the continual survival mode that we are forced into would keep us from learning deep lessons from the Lord. Yet I believe it has pleased the Lord to reveal to me the lesson that He has for me in these times of absolute need. I am to learn to receive from the Lord my daily bread.

Shortly after being released from the hospital, the Lord brought me across Exodus 16:4, which states, "Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no." As I read this, I immediately knew that it was my lesson for this time. God wants me to trust Him for my daily bread (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3). As God has blessed the ministry the last few years, I have become more and more obsessed with ideas and planning. What else could we do? Who else could we reach? How else could we train those under our care? What else should I learn? What else could I write? There has been a wonderful urgency about tomorrow.

But there was no equal focus or urgency about today. We knew we needed God and rejoiced that He was the source of the blessings, but He and they were there all the time. We certainly did not seek the Lord's physical provision on a daily sort. There was enough food in the refrigerator and cabinets for a week at least. If one person brought a bit of bad news, then that was fine; the Lord would match and double it with good news in short order. I know this is not the case in many ministries and I do not know why God blessed this one so much--but He did. I figured that it is a part of His providential plan. I had accepted the times of decline and obscurity. I must accept the times of prosperity and try to serve Him in it. And I (I should say we) did. My wife and I and key staff members gave ourselves to the work of the ministry. We addicted ourselves to the ministry of the word and it was glorious.

But in glorying in the work of the Lord, perhaps we failed somewhat to glory in His presence. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2Corinthians 3:18). To become more and more like Him, conformed to His image, by beholding His glory. Though the glory we see is limited, as in a glass, yet it still has the power to transform the person. How does this happen? It works through the "things that work together for good to them that love God" so that by God's providential predestination we might "be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:28-29).

Right now, more than at any time in my adult life, I am having to rely on God for a moment by moment provision of physical help and guidance. I am praying and hoping that I will be able to transfer this lesson spiritually. After I was told that I was doing well, I started feeling kind of good about myself. I had done better than most. Shortly, I found myself in another bit of a crisis. The well time was in question and I might be heading for the hospital yet. I reminded myself that I must give a present, conscious effort to trust in the immediate provision of God. Things began to fall in order again and I later continued on the letter.

I can truly sense the abiding provision of God for me now. I may and will make many mistakes, but He is watching over it all for His good. But I can expect the same level of provision of the grace of God for daily living and Christian ministry--a source of grace we too often ignore. The old-time saints were so poor and needy and yet so fully enabled to do great works for God; the modern saint is so blessed and yet so unable to shoot a spiritual pop-gun for God. This contrast is also often seen between Western Christians and those saints who give their all in oppressed regions of the world. The latter have so few resources but so much power with God.

What is the difference? I think it is to be found in the reliance made on the resources of Christ. Oh, that a few of us modern Christians of the western world might learn to rely fully on the resources of Christ. George Muller, Hudson Taylor, and others, came close by refusing to raise money through men--telling only the Lord of their needs. I do not believe that this is the only answer. But we must seek a way to return to a God-supported ministry and a God-supported Christian life.

Perhaps the growth pattern is best described in a series of songs:

  1. "God Works in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform" - This old hymn by William Cowper exalts the providential working of God in our lives. I do not believe that anyone can understand the fulness of the daily bread given to us by the Lord until they have full confidence that all things will work together for good in their lives as they serve the Lord (Romans 8:28).
  2. "Day by Day" - This hymn emphasizes God's daily provision for our lives. It includes statements like, "He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, sees unto each day what he deems best." Our second lesson is to rely on God for all our daily needs.
  3. "I Need Thee Every Hour" - This hymn shows us that our reliance on God must extend beyond a daily turning to God. Even two or three set times of praying each day is not enough. We must be ready to continually return to the juice of the vine; to gain additional strength as needed.
  4. "Moment by moment, I'm kept in His love; moment by moment, I've life from above; looking to Jesus till glory doth shine; moment by moment; O, Lord, I am thine" - I quoted a longer portion of this old song to get the context. Though some seem to come by this easier than others, most believers struggle here (I know I have). Also, I must add that I am not talking about any sort of sinless perfectionism. This kind of spiritual maturity has been seen by great saints of God who come from many doctrinal perspectives on other issues. This is because it is biblical. Many Puritans and Wesleyans, many Calvinists and Armenians, and others as well have taught the enabling grace of God in the believer. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the well-known dispensationalist, taught the same. We are to abide in the vine (John 15:1-7). This is a real abiding reliance on all things from the Saviour. Though the content of our thoughts change from moment to moment, our reliance upon the Lord, His guidance, and His resources, should remain the same. Any break in this reliance is a break in our fellowship with God and should be corrected immediately. What a blessing it would be if God's people learned to stay in proper communion with their Creator, Saviour, and Lord!
  5. "Jesus I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart" - In the later years of the ministry of the Chinese missionary Hudson Taylor, he had a great number of missionaries working under his direction. Because of continuing persecution and trials of many kinds, it was not uncommon for him to receive sad or discouraging news from one of the outposts. Those who worked with him said he would often open a letter of this sort and after digesting the news would break out into singing the song mentioned above. When asked about this practice, he explained that that is all he could do at such a time as this. He must fully rest in Jesus and in the joy of who He is. Compare this to the statement of Paul in Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." We must learn that Christ is our very life (Colossians 3:4).

My letter has gone from being a note to epistle length. But this is my letter to everyone. It has taken me almost 24 hours of off-and-on labor to write it. If I had spent this time on individual responses, I would have failed to write many of you. I hope you will forgive my general epistle. The days ahead are yet unknown and uncharted. But the Lord not only holds the compass, He has His hand on the wheel. I can trust Him for eternity. I can trust Him for a year from now. I can trust Him for right now. "Jesus I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art."

Till He comes,

Pastor David F. Reagan



At Fort Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, TN, the eighth floor is for cancer patients. It is the oncology ward. I was admitted into the hospital about 9AM on Wednesday and was released about 9PM Sunday night—five days and four nights in the hospital—for my first chemotherapy treatment.

I was warned by people that the therapy was pretty bad and I anticipated it as such. However, it was admittedly worse than I had imagined. I suppose this is because that we anticipate in generalities while we live it out fact by fact. Perhaps it is also true that I am naturally optimistic and the optimist always maximizes the good and minimizes the bad. Anyway, it was tough.

The doctors and nurses assured me that they could control the pain and nausea—and they did. But the controls often took a few hours to be effective, so if you try to play catch-up (as I did), it can seem to take forever to catch up. Part of it was indeed my fault. When I started vomiting one day, I waited until the third time before I called the nurses. It then took a while to get their medicine in me and a while longer to determine that this medicine was not enough. The doctor then gave me a stronger medication the next day and it was mostly (not entirely) kept under control.

The doctor told me that I had more problems with nausea than the normal patient. Lucky me. Evidently, I have weak stomach muscles. Fortunately, the nausea tends to improve a few days after the chemo is ended. I sure hope so since I have vomited twice tonight as I have been alternating writing and resting (this is the night of December 24th although it is technically already Christmas as I write).

On the down side, I have been told that 7 to 10 days after the chemo has been finished is the peak for problems caused by low counts of blood cells. This includes low immunity to disease and general tiredness. I will just have to wait to see how bad this is for me.

They say that everyone reacts to cancer differently. There are no absolute rules. We are all individuals. We are all uniquely created by our Creator. Each will endure some things well and other things worse. Without the test, we cannot really know how we will score.

My second great trial in the hospital was the pain in my left hip. If I kept changing position every little bit, I seemed to be able to keep a handle on it. However, when it cramped the worst, my inner groin muscle and my outer leg muscle were both in full cramp at the same time. I could get into no position that gave relief. This went on for about 20-30 minutes without stopping. What concerned me today was that the cramping seemed to be getting more frequent and more intense. One episode was accompanied with sweating all over the body.

It was at these times that I kept reminding myself of 1Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Some people misunderstand the meaning of temptation. It does not just refer to enticements to sin. It refers also to all the trials of this life. When the pain was at its height, I reminded the Lord that He would not give me a temptation that I was not able to bear. However, I counted this as much a prayer for increased strength to bear the temptation as for a reduction in the temptation down to my level of ability. When I consider the pain to be unbearable, I can expect God to decrease the pain or to increase my endurance; the same with nausea. And God did just that. I mean, He increased the resistance until He lessened the suffering.

I wonder about the spiritual purpose of this part of the trial. The pain, the nausea, the hospital atmosphere, being almost confined to a bed—all of this tended to keep the mind away from any serious sort of meditation. Perhaps suffering in general teaches the mind to focus. Then, perhaps, after the suffering subsides, I may be able to draw closer to the Lord. I know that right now the world seems to be a weightier place. Weighty matters abound on which to ruminate. This reminds me of two verses in Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 7:2 – It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

 3 – Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

I am sure that the immediate context deals with the dead and the home where the dead are mourned. Considering the death of an acquaintance or friend reminds us all of the shortness of life and the importance of doing some things now. But a hospital visit also fits to some degree. People often die in hospitals. Hospitals are places of mourning. They make us face human frailty and the shortness of our days.

This is good for us. Not that we should continually mourn and dread the coming of old age, sickness, and death. Christianity is a joyous faith and we are to rejoice in the Lord alway (Philippians 4:4). Yet, we are not to be flippant about our duties to the Lord and to others; we are not to get so fun-seeking that we think of God Himself as a jokester. Seeing the cost of sin on this world is a good remedy for such carnality.

So, I go on in my journey, now knowing what each day holds. Of course, this has been always true. Only now, it is more true. They say that I will have good days and bad. This day has been better than yesterday. I am home and the nausea is gone for now. I cannot complain. The Lord has been especially good to me.

Earlier today, I did some verse writing (one of my devotional exercises). One of the verses I wrote was Exodus 16:4 – “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.” These are instructions God gave to the Israelites about the gathering of the manna. They are to get a certain rate each day—not more—not less. Throughout the week, they were to get enough for each individual day; but on Friday, just before their Sabbath, they were to get enough for two days so that they would not be gathering manna on the Sabbath.

The purpose for this giving of manna only on a daily basis was to prove them; to see if they would just take God at His word, be obedient, and trust Him to provide. Is not this the same battle we fight today? God gives us enough for this day; our daily bread; sufficient grace. But we want to have proof that our tomorrows will be blessed as well. We are not satisfied that God’s grace is sufficient unto the evil we face today (Matthew 6:34). We want tomorrow taken care of now.

Through this trial I know that each day needs God’s manna from heaven. I cannot survive the day unless He provides the manna of His grace. I need it and must have it. But I am wicked to demand that He provide any assurance for tomorrow. If I am to walk in His law, then I must prove it by accepting the manna He provides from above for each day. My thought is not for the morrow—but only to seek the Lord Jesus and in Him the manna I need for today.

Pastor David F. Reagan



For the last three weeks, the bad news came in dribbles. We were always tempted to fill in the gaps with our assumptions and that was dangerous. Today, the bad news came in a torrent and left us looking for dry land on which to stand.

My cancer is the fast kind. It is in stage four—one of the later stages. It has already spread to my lungs. It cannot be treated with surgery. No more than half of those with my cancer at my stage survive the first year.

I think that last statement was the one that kept ringing in my mind. I had never been told that I had no better than a 50/50 chance of living in a year. Death no longer seems like the evil fiend lurking at the end of a long road. It just got personal. I just became part of a community that loses half of its population by death each year. 10,000 becomes 5,000; 5,000 becomes 2,500; 2,500 becomes 1,250; 1,250 becomes 625; 625 becomes 312—all in the time span of five years. In five more years, the 312 inhabitants become 9 lonely souls. From 10,000 to 9 in ten years. Talk about dying communities: this is it. And now it’s my home town.

I come to a new understanding of David’s complaint when he ran from Saul: “there is but a step between me and death” (1Samuel 20:3). Death has always seemed so out there. I know about it and have dealt with it in the lives of others. But he never seemed to be lurking around the corner for me. Now I consider him my constant companion. I go to church with him and eat across the table from him. He knows my name, address, phone numbers, birth date, SS number, and much more. I cannot mistreat him lest I get on his bad list and experience him sooner. I cannot count on his absence at any time.

Death has taken a new place among my acquaintances. He is always nearby and can reach me at a moment’s notice. I see him around but I seek to avoid a face to face meeting with him—one which is almost always terminal. Simply put, death is much more real to me than he was a month ago. I have not learned anything new about death. But I have learned much that is new about myself and my vulnerability to his beck and call.

I faintly remember statements from the word about death. How that Jesus came “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). God promises that he “will swallow up death in victory” (Isaiah 25:8). Another promise says: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1Corinthians 15:26).

I don’t mind thinking of death as an enemy and look forward to the time when he will be destroyed. But how does that help me right now? My father died last summer. My mother and one of my brothers seem to be nearing death. People in our church are losing loved ones with regularity. What does a future victory over death have to do with the killing cancer assaulting my body right now? Where is the help I need right now?

Psalm 23:4 declares, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” Here is some hope. God goes with us as we travel the valley of the shadow of death. Psalm 118:6 adds, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” Does this mean that death cannot touch us? Probably not. But it does mean that death’s influence over the faithful believer is limited. Even when death has us in his grip, we never have to fear him or bow to him.

Listen to the logic of faith that comes from the lips of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were told that they must bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image. They are not careful to answer in this matter: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” God is able and may deliver us from death. But even if He does not, we will still not worship the false gods. If God had not chosen to deliver these men, we may not have heard of them today, but their names would be just as exalted in heaven. They did not fear death in the valley of the shadow of death.

Look up Death and stand before him. He stands about 24-feet tall although he always crouches over as if ready to pounce on an unsuspecting victim. At first glance, he looks like a living shadow. But when you look closer, you find that you can see into the shadow as if looking out across the yard on a dark night. You feel that if you fell over on him that you would fall into the darkest night. Death may be carrying some of the tools of his trade: hatred, rebellion, sickness, tragedy, all kinds of sin. His eyes too are black, but instead of the transparent black of his body, they are a piercing black that reaches out and attacks the weak of heart.

Are you ready to face this Death? Do you know that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world? In Christ, even death is not unto death. Jesus promised, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death” (John 8:52). What does this mean? Though all die, are there those who never taste death? How can this be? In Hebrews 2:9, we read that Jesus was commissioned so that He “by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” If Jesus has tasted death for every man and I accept His gift of grace, then I need not taste death.

I may partake of death, but I am not required to taste it. This is difficult to understand, but it makes certain things clear. I have the victory over death through Jesus Christ. God may in His time turn me over to death so that I partake of death. Yet, I do not have to taste of death. Just as the clothes that went into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace did not smell of smoke, so I can walk through the experience of death without even tasting it. Jesus has already tasted it for me.

Pastor David F. Reagan



Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus,

This afternoon, my family went with me to the cancer doctor to see where we were with the cancer diagnosis and treatment. From the human standpoint, it all turned out to be bad news. The sarcoma (cancer) in my hip joint has already spread to my lungs where there are several small tumors in each lung. Although I am not experiencing any symptoms from this as of yet, it is only a matter of time without a turn-around in the cancer. In addition, my cancer is of the kind they call fast cancer and it is at the point where it will continue to spread quickly. It is at what is called Stage Four in the development--not good. Only about half of the people who are diagnosed with my kind of cancer at this stage survive the first year.

Because it is already spreading through the body, surgery is not an option at this time. The only chance humanly speaking is to try to put it into remission with chemo-therapy and radiation therapy. In fact, the doctor told us that with this kind of cancer, they did not talk about getting a cure; only putting it into remission. As such, I am scheduled to go to the hospital at 9AM in the morning (on Wednesday) and be admitted for my first intense treatment with chemo-therapy. I will receive one of the two medicines intravenously for 72 hours. I will receive the second by injection every two to three hours. I will be taking several other medicines to offset the side-effects of the chemo. Much will depend on the response of the tumors to the chemo. If they shrink considerably with the therapy, it increases my chances. If they do not shrink much, then my time may be quite limited.

Although previous bits and pieces of information somewhat prepared me for this diagnosis, I will admit that it hit me pretty hard sitting there hearing with my own ears this being said to me. This detour was not in my plans at all. However, the Lord is good and I am already reconciling this as His sweet will. He will not send me through any temptation that He will not enable me to endure. Nothing can touch me unless He allows it. For much of my life, I have preached about God's wonderful providence and His enabling in trials and afflictions (and many other such things). Well, this is where the rubber hits the road (as they say). Either my God is sufficient unto these things or He is no God at all. If a man burning at the stake as a martyr can clap his melted hands in praise to God, then surely I can trust God in this fiery trial. I know that His grace will be sufficient.

That being said, I do not claim any sort of invincibility here. This is truly scary business. I have received such an outpouring of encouragement and support that my heart has been overwhelmed at times. I truly desire your prayers to God to continue at this time. I want with all my heart to go out of this world (whether sooner or later) with the praise of God on my lips without having dipped His banner for anything or anyone. I long for the chance to serve the Lord longer and ask for prayers to this end. However, I also seek prayers for my strength in the Lord, for my dear wife who will be caring for me though this, and for Antioch Baptist Church. "That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1Corinthians 1:31).

Till He comes,

David F. Reagan


I Know Who Holds Tomorrow: This was a special done by Pastor Reagan at Antioch shortly after he received the news about his cancer.


Greetings to all,

Since I told everyone that I should be receiving more information today on the type of cancer I have, I thought I had better get a bit of an update out. As it turns out, we will not know anything today. In fact, it may be another two weeks before we know anything. Evidently, the biopsy that I had Monday needs a second opinion. The pathologist sent a sample off somewhere (I don't know where) to get further analysis. It is supposed to take 7 to 10 days to get the report back and our doctor will not tell us anything until he has all the test results.

One thing I know is that they did not expect this. Therefore, it is likely that the cancer is not of either of the two kinds they suspected (that is, of course, only my speculation). Since both of the cancers they were looking at are of an especially destructive kind, this may actually be good news. Another thing I know: many people are sending up prayers of sweet incense to our Holy Father. No matter what God's final will in all of this (as I told the church Sunday), I expect to see extraordinary things happen during this time. Thank you so much for your prayers.

One interesting event has already happened. We do not pay a lot of attention to attendance at Antioch. We keep attendance roles and records but I often will go many weeks without knowing what our numerical attendance is. However, we have noticed recently that we have been bumping up against 100 on Sunday's but not hitting it. Well, we had a crowd this last Sunday and I purposely checked out the total. As it turns out, for the first time in the 34+ years of the church for a regular service we had over 100. We had 101 to be exact. I count this as God saying, You ain't seen nothing yet. The Lord enabled me to preach a message on "More Than Conquerors." Since I do not see growth of an individual church as the end-all of goals, I believe we will be seeing many kinds of blessings during this time. Keep praying.

By the way, tonight we are officially sending out a man to start the fourth church to be started out of Antioch during the last 21 years. A group of believers in Michigan have joined together and have asked Brother Grady to come and aid them in planting a new church. May the Lord help us to continue to be fruitful and multiply throughout the land and around the world.

Till He comes,

Pastor David F. Reagan


Dear Friends,

The news of my situation is getting out quite rapidly now, so I thought I would send out a note--especially since some of you may not have heard as of yet. Most of you know that I have been dealing with a serious hip problem for some time. Every time it promised to get better, something would happen and the problem would still be there. In ways it has been getting worse--especially my ability to stand for long periods of time or walk even moderate distances. Finally, my doctor decided to get me some more tests and I was willing because nothing seemed to be fully healing the hip.

The doctor ordered a bone scan for me last Tuesday. The technician commented that there was a problem in the hip but could not tell me what. They got the doctor's office to do some x-rays the same day. I was supposed to have seen my doctor this Tuesday, but got a call from the office on Monday that a CT scan had been ordered for me and I had that done Tuesday. My doctor's appointment was changed to Thursday (yesterday).

Yesterday, the doctor told me that they had found a tumor in my hip 6cm wide and 12cm long (about 2 1/2 inches by 5 inches). Also, my pelvic bone and some surrounding bones had been eaten away. My pelvis has been so weakened that the doctor wants me to start using crutches so that I will not break it by walking on it. The problem is clearly a serious case of cancer. Beginning today, I will start taking some more tests to determine what kind of cancer it is. The doctor thinks it is probably either renal cancer or multiple myeloma. From my initial research, it is clear that both of these are quite serious forms of cancer. It is hard to say that either would be better than the other.

In pursuit of the identity of the cancer, I will have an ultrasound on my kidney later this morning--as well as blood and urine tests. On Monday, I will get a CT guided biopsy of the tumor. This coming Wednesday, I will meet with my doctor once more to see where we go from here. [By the way, I am sorry for all the boring detail, but some people want it and I thought I could get it to several people at once this way.]

I do not know how to explain it apart from the Lord, but I have quickly received complete peace about the situation. I have always lived my life on the assumption that anything that happened to me totally apart from my own actions was automatically the will of God for my life. This assumption has always served me well. Why worry about those things that I truly cannot change. Therefore, I am convinced that this is of the Lord for His good.

I have certainly not lived my life for the Lord as I should have, but I have not sat on my hands either. If this is the beginning of the end and the Lord is going to call me home, then I will accept His decision and beat a bunch of you to glory. However, if this trial is one I am to go through so that my Lord might get the glory and so that I might be transformed into a better servant for the Lord, I am also willing for this to occur. I recognize that in the middle of some of the treatments or times of dealing with pain that I may not hold firm in this conviction, but I have a God who will abide faithful even in those times when my faith fails. Though it may sound strange, I in a real way feel honored that the Lord would allow me to go through this trial for His sake. It is not persecution, but it is in the midst of a time of service for Him.

I certainly desire your prayers for all the regular things--healing, strength, etc. However, I want to request some other prayers from each of you. Pray with me that God will use this (no matter how it turns out) so that He might be glorified and so that His works might be manifest in this situation. I desire that we and others would be amazed at what a wondrous God we have. Pray also that God would use this experience so that I might know my Lord as I have never known Him before--to know the living God and to see His power and glory; even to know Him through the fellowship of His sufferings. Finally, pray that the Lord would use this to teach some who count a bit too much on me to count mostly on God; to learn of His sufficiency.

I hope that I have not filled your mailbox with information you did not want. Also, I want to assure you that I am primed for a battle for my life and the ministry the Lord has for me here. To some small degree I understand Paul's quandary when he was a "strait betwixt two." To depart and to be with Christ is far better, but there are needs of service to others that make me want to abide in the flesh for a longer time. With time, I am sure that the Lord will clear up the confusion. I will just trust in Him the best I know how for now. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. If God's people can be so good to each other down here, what a glorious blessing heaven will be! Keep on keeping on for Jesus.

Till He comes,

Pastor David F. Reagan


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