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Couple Pits Relentless Faith Against Unknown Future

As worship leaders in Phoenix, Arizona, Rebekah and Brad Bichsel know to trust God in all things. But when Rebekah was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor their faith was put to the test.

“The surgeon came out and laid the news on us that it was a cancer wrapped around my kidney and it was inoperable, and it was very large.”, said Rebekah.

Brad remembers, “inoperable" is not a word you want to hear. I think it kind of immediately means chemo, radiation, if there's anything at all as an option, or is-is there an option?”

“I didn't know if we were gonna be planning goodbyes, or if I was gonna start a heavy treatment.” states Rebekah.

Brad solemnly says, “That first drive home, that was where I probably dealt with that the strongest. Like what does – what does this mean, what does this look like? Is this a-a – like how long do we have?”.  

In the middle of all the unknowns they pressed into their faith and prayer to sustain them.

“I put my hand on my belly every day and I would say, "God, cause the tumor to shrivel up and fall out of my body." said Rebekah.  “I wanted to build my faith, but at the same time I also wanted to rest and trust in His goodness and sovereignty, even if I didn't see that happen. And that was difficult. That was very difficult. Because I had to come to a place where I could truly say in my heart that I trusted God with no matter what happened. And even if that mean ultimately, I would leave my kids and my husband uh from earth.”

Rebekah was diagnosed with a rare cancer called liposarcoma, her prognosis was not good.  The ten-pound tumor would eventually cause organ failure and lead to death. They decided to get a second opinion.

“The original report said it was inoperable, but the doctor came in the next morning and said it was operable” said Rebekah. “We had some contact with another doctor who recommended that we go to M. D. Anderson in Houston, and they also verified that it was operable and – but that they were the only ones that needed to be doing the surgery."

Brad remembers trusting God. “God's plans are always better than ours. So if that meant we were supposed to be in Phoenix, then He would very clearly shut the doors to Houston. I remember a moment of just being mindful of that. Like, okay, we want to do this but at the end of the day, like we want to go where God wants us to be. Because that's the purpose and the plan.”

The couple just released an album and planned to be on tour, despite the unknown future for Rebekah, they decided to praise God through their concerts.

“We would be in a concert with a congregation of people watching people worship with us and knowing that they had stories way worse than mine. But yet, there they stood, and they were choosing to lift their hands and lift their voices and sing about the goodness and love of God, and that was so encouraging to me. Like, they were leading me in worship.” said Rebekah.  

Brad continues, “In the middle of this chaos, we got to be with some of our amazing church families across the country singing and worshipping. These songs were just massively impacting our hearts. And we're looking at these lyrics in a whole new way and declaring these truths, that we needed more than anything else.”

As they prepared to have surgery in Houston their insurance denied their claim to go MD Anderson.  

Trembling Rebekah states, “I was really scared. I was really afraid. Because I just felt like my insurance company isn't – they don't care. They don't care if I live or die. What are we gonna do now?”

Brad and Rebekah kept praying. Then out of nowhere the insurance company changed their decision and decided to cover the surgery and even pay for their travel.

Rebekah smiles, ““Another sign of God just coming in and changing-changing the story. And that caused us to, you know, we have the report of man, but then God comes in and He gives His report. And the Word says we're supposed to believe the report of the Lord and trust in that.  And He's gonna trump anything that has to be said, because He's able.”

The day finally came for Rebekah’s surgery. They were told it would take six hours. But just two and a half hours later the surgeon came out to meet with Brad and Rebekah’s parents.

Brad remembers, “I see the surgeon, which in I’m – there's like this immediate like, 'Why is the surgeon out? The surgeon isn't supposed to be here right now.' And she says, 'Well, we're all done. Uh we got her on the table, we opened her up and the tumor practically fell out of her body.'"

Rebekah’s follow up scans show that she is still cancer free, and the Bichel’s rejoice.

“I knew that God was saying to me He heard my prayer,” continues Rebekah, “and that even the moments that I felt like I didn't know where He was, and I didn't know if He was gonna heal me, and I didn't know if He was gonna answer my prayer, that-that He was with me. So closely with me that He knew, and He was listening to my words, and He was answering me through the surgeon's words. 

And that no matter what happens, He's still sovereign, and He is still good, and He still loves me, enough to give me that message.”

With reverence Brad states, “We've seen God do amazing things year after year after year. Not all of them massive and big, some of them very small, and almost insignificant unless you're looking for what God has done. But we can look back and see those things. And that's what I would encourage anybody to do. Look back and see what God has done. Look how He's worked in spite of a circumstance. And look how He's done it in a way that is clearly His plan and not ours. And then be able to trust that the situation you're walking through now, He can handle.”

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