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Emotional Healing and Cancer

Recently a publisher turned down my agent's request that they publish my new book, LIBERATING THE WOUNDED - SPIRITUAL HEALING MADE SIMPLE. The acquisitions editor couldn't believe cancer could be healed so simply, if at all. Obviously if God made us, He can heal anything. Any editor of Christian books should realize that or get out of the business. But the deeper issue is this. The editor felt that it was cruel to make cancer patients believe that if they didn't get healed, their faith wasn't good enough. He evidently never read my manuscript. I never would imply such a thing.

However, what's even worse is to make people endure the cruel and unusual punishment of cancer treatments which have such a low degree of success. A few years ago a survey of oncologists revealed that over 70% would personally refuse the very treatment they recommended for their patients.

Can God heal cancer? I believe there is a powerful link between people who contract cancer and a serious emotional trauma. And if emotional pain can precipitate cancer, then healing that pain should stop it. While I am no expert in cancer, two incidents in my healing work convinced me that healing emotional pain can help heal cancer.

The first occurred years ago at a retreat near Cleveland. A woman had attended who was a real skeptic. Her sister persuaded her that what we did could help her. Unbeknownst to me, a big part of her motivation for attending was a lump that had grown in her breast for over a year. It so terrified her she had not even told her doctor about it.

During the retreat, she found the courage to share about the lump with her small group. They drew her out, getting her to share some incidents from her childhood that they felt could be related to it. They also prayed for God to heal her. Later that day we encouraged everyone to swim during free time. Though this slender lovely woman looked great in a bathing suit she didn't feel that she did. It took all of her courage to join the rest of us as we frolicked and played water polo in the pool.

Her poor body image stemmed from adolescence when her father made fun of her small breasts. Consequently, she judged her body critically all through her adult life. She had recently entered into a loving relationship with a boyfriend, which made her conscious again of what she felt were deficiencies in her body. That day, after bravely revealing these struggles to her group, she put on her bathing suit and wandered down to the pool. She later told us that as her foot touched the water in the pool, she began to feel a warm tingling where her lump was. This continued  throughout that day and intensified as she went to sleep. The next morning, when she awoke, her lump was completely gone.

Because she hadn't visited a doctor we had no way of knowing for sure that she ever had cancer. All we know is that whatever she had was totally healed.
Her story powerfully illustrates the link between a painful trauma that caused her to judge her own body and led to disease symptoms later in life. While my healing work focuses on emotional pain, physical healing sometimes spontaneously accompanies emotional resolution. We must be very careful about the messages we give our body. These messages can either assist our healing or even hasten our demise.

Another story I'll never forget happened to a person with whom I attended church when I first moved to California. She was a wonderful woman in her mid forties. She had met and married her soul mate just a few years earlier. After half a lifetime of being single both of them looked forward to a loving partner with whom each could share the rest of their lives. Both were devastated when she developed cancer just a couple of years after their wedding. When I met her, the cancer advanced so much she had lost all her hair through chemotherapy. Emaciated, she looked like death warmed over. Her prognosis was terrible.

Our pastor knew of my healing work and persuaded her to meet with us and a small group of trusted Christians for healing prayer. In preparation for that prayer, I told her that most cancer develops within 18-24 months of a severe emotional trauma. I asked if she had experienced any emotional loss or pain prior to the onslaught of her disease. Without hesitation she nodded her head and began to cry. Because of office politics at the newspaper where she worked, she was unceremoniously and unjustly fired. It was handled brutally. After years of faithful award winning service to the company, one morning her boss marched in and without notice, gave her 30 minutes to clean out her desk. While she did that they changed the locks on her office door. The gross injustice and humiliation of it all literally ate her up from the insides out.

When we met for prayer on a Sunday afternoon, we focused on the trauma of that heartless firing. We ministered to her for two or three hours, helping her for the first time to relive the excruciating pain of that awful event.

Too often, Christians encourage people to immediately forgive those who wrong them.   While forgiveness is necessary -- after all, it only hurts us not to forgive -- it is often done prematurely. This can compound the person's problem. Jesus encouraged us to forgive, "from the heart." Heartfelt forgiveness takes longer, but unless the forgiveness is deeply genuine, it's of no avail. It can even complicate the person's pain by locking their agony up inside them. If they continue to struggle with anger and hatred toward the one who caused their pain, it can open the door for disease.

We encouraged my friend to fully feel her rage and profound pain rather than vainly attempt to deny or suppress it. Through role playing we helped her verbalize the agony she felt because of this gross injustice. We refused to deny or suppress her feelings with simplistic platitudes.   Rather, we validated her pain, allowing her to reconnect with it at a deep and very real level for the first time in years.

After she experienced some of the most intense emotional agony I've ever witnessed, we prayed for the Lord's presence to touch her and heal her pain. We also cursed her cancer and asked that God begin to heal it. When we were done ministering to her, a gentle, palpable peace descended upon her. She smiled, seeming more relaxed than at any time since I had met her. She immediately looked at least five years younger. It was the first time I had ever seen her so energized and vital since I had known her.

When she went for her cancer checkup two days later her doctor was amazed. Before she said anything to him about her healing session, he told her that her blood count had mysteriously doubled. Nothing they had done medically had been able to accomplish that. When she told him about her healing session two days earlier he said that indeed, God must have touched her. The results were too dramatic to explain any other way.

Sadly, her story does not have a happy ending. In spite of the remarkable progress she made in just a couple of hours, the doctor persuaded her that her only hope was to continue the radical chemotherapy regimen she was on. She chose to do that. It was so debilitating that she never returned for further healing prayer. Her blood count plummeted and she died a couple of months later.  

Sometimes medicine helps. But sometimes it also robs people of the very faith and other care they need in order to get well when medicine has failed them. All I know is that the only improvement any of us ever saw her make was through healing prayer. Her doctor had to agree.

While I never encourage any person to do anything contrary to doctor's orders unless they believe without doubt that the Lord has led them to, I also know that all healing ultimately comes from God. Any honest physician will tell you that. The doctor sets the bones but God heals the break. This is as true for a broken heart as it is for a broken fibula. Perhaps even more so.


Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "
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