Z Factor Faith & Cancer #AtoZChallenge

This is my final A to Z Challenge post, and it is perhaps, my most difficult. What can I write about that starts with Z? I decided to take an actual term, Z Factor, and slap a new meaning on it, all while sharing what has given us peace of mind throughout my husband’s cancer journey. So here it is…The Z Factor of Living with Cancer.

Survival Rates

There are many things that go into survival rates for people living with cancer. Often how well a person is doing on their treatment seems to defy logic. We’ve seen some patients who are wonderful people with every reason to live, pass away.

As well, we’ve seen patients who do very well and exceed all expectations, despite a dire, initial prognosis.

We’ve heard many reasons for this:

  • She’s a fighter.
  • He has such a positive attitude.
  • She’s hanging on for the kids.
  • He’s determined to outlive us all.
  • She has faith.

I think there is something to be said for the power of will. There’s even more that can be said about the power of God. This is a power that transcends survival.

We have seen believers and unbelievers, alike, die.

We’ve also seen both outlive their doctor’s predictions. From the beginning of my husband’s battle, he’s said, “I’m going to follow my doctor’s orders and pray.”  And, that’s what he’s done. We’ve had people suggest that faith and medicine are incompatible. That if we really had faith, we wouldn’t trust the doctors, but trust God, alone.

That never made sense to me since Jesus himself said,

“…Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do….” (1)

Jesus was pointing out that he had come to seek and save the lost, but His words also suggest that seeing a doctor and following their recommendations is an appropriate thing for sick to do. Doing so doesn’t negate one’s faith. The true test of faith, even while living with cancer, is resting in God’s will for your life–even at the end of it.


The Z factor defies statistics

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  (2)

The Message Bible says it this way:

“I’m A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion.” (3)

In our experience, Jesus is the ultimate Z factor. He is our A, there from the beginning. And, He’s our Z, there with us to the very end, the final word, the peace of mind we experience, which statistics would normally steal away.

Often, we rely on what we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands to be a gauge for how well we are doing. How well is our soul? How’s our peace of mind?

The truth is, one day, every one of us will die.

It may be from cancer, or a car accident or peacefully in our sleep. The apostles, save Saint John, all died as martyrs in terrible, painful ways. No one is guaranteed a long life or an easy life. Jesus himself died as a young man.  Jesus isn’t a magic genie that we can command to do our will. It’s our Heavenly Father’s will that He does.

We can rely on Him to care for us in the best possible way. Sometimes we can’t see with our human eyes how that’s possible in the face of cancer–whether it’s ours or a loved one’s. Jesus cares for our needs beyond this life. He cares for our eternal souls, and for the loved ones we leave behind. He has the last word. Our Omega, the Z in our A to Z, our Z factor.

If you don’t know Jesus, but would like to learn more, I invite you to send me an email at heatherericksonauthor@gmail.com. I’d love to help you in any way I can, even if it’s just to lend a listening ear.

Thank you for sharing this A to Z Challenge with me. I hope you will sign up for alerts to let you know when my weekly post is published. Also, sign up for my newsletter. I usually send one out, once a month. I’m overdue right now. Bless you!


  1. Mark 2:17a. Holman Christian Standard Bible
  2. Revelation 22: 13 New International Version
  3. Revelation 22: 13 The Message Bible, a contemporary language version of the Bible created and translated by Eugene H. Peterson


I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since my husband, Dan was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, despite their illness.

My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com

The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography

6 thoughts on “Z Factor Faith & Cancer #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I believe this. Medical doctors are smart, but can’t know everything. I am with you–that Z Factor (or my faith) is so often all I can credit for things working out right.

  2. A beautiful and powerful post. I’m thankful I met you through the a-z challenge. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Hi Heather, Just found your blog today. I will be reading your previous posts. A friend just found out that her husband has stage 4 esophageal cancer so I can see that your blog could be helpful.

    Congratulations on completing the A-Z!

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

    • Hi Emily, I’m so sorry to hear about your’ friend’s husband’s cancer. I will be praying for them. I hope something from my blog can be of help. Let her know she can contact me, as well, if she ever wants to chat. I checked out your blog. What an amazing thing you are doing in Ecuador! I also noticed you grew up in Minnesota. I live just north of the Twin Cities. Bless you!

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