Faith is a Gift – Episode 174

Faith is a Gift

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Featuring: David Ruleman

Published: July 27, 2019

David Ruleman, a retired Salem Christian radio station executive, turned to Cancer Treatment Centers of America when he looked for an integrative approach to treating his esophageal cancer. He talked with Health, Hope & Inspiration about his cancer journey and the role of faith in his care-plan.

Show Notes:

“If you just had more faith,” people told David Ruleman after he buried his daughter who passed away from cancer and suffered a heart attack. A few years later he underwent testing due to a challenging time swallowing food. His doctor called him while he sat in his office at a radio station in Washington D.C. “Hey, you have esophageal cancer,” his doctor said. “You need to act on this very quickly because of the kind of cancer that it is.” He sat, stunned, and thought, “Wow, that’s unsettling.”

Ruleman shared with Health, Hope & Inspiration about his frustration with some in the Christian community that think if you are suffering, it automatically means a lack of faith. “Faith is involved, of course, but, boy, I think one of the most destructive things we can say is to challenge someone. Faith is a gift, for one thing, and it comes from the Lord. It’s not something we drum up. It is something that we have, and it’s a gift, and it’s sufficient. So, boy, I encourage everyone listening, don’t ever let anyone say that to you (if you only had enough faith) and don’t ever say it to anyone.”

In fact, prayer was the first step in Ruleman’s care plan. “The first thing I did was I went to the leaders in our ministries and said, ‘Hey, pray for me.’ Then I went to others that I knew had good results in their prayer life and said, ‘Pray for me. And keep praying for me.’” He sought treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Atlanta, where he appreciated the integrated approach to patient care, including the spiritual aspect. “To come out of radiation treatment and…the pastoral care chaplain…came down to greet me. I thought, ‘Wow. This is amazing. I just came out of something that is painful, and here I have this kind of support here at Cancer Treatment Center.’”

The communication between the medical, nutritional and other care disciplines also offered him confidence in his care plan. “They’re all circling around you, in a sense, and you, as the patient, are in the center of that circle,” Ruleman said. “I’ll tell you what. That gives you (the patient) such confidence.” He also celebrated the role of caregivers in the cancer journey as part of the care team. “I can’t say enough about the need to encourage caregivers. This cancer is nothing pleasant to deal with at any stage, in my opinion, and it takes courage, it takes faith, and it takes stamina for caregivers to do that.” Ruleman and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the chapel at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Atlanta.

Now that Ruleman has moved beyond his cancer treatment, he and his wife moved to Florida in their retirement where he serves in full-time ministry preaching, praying with small groups, and ministering to men. In addition, people struggling with cancer reach out to him for support. “Interestingly enough, once you have come through cancer and you have faith, people bring people who have cancer to you for prayer,” he said. “One pastor was ready to give up—I encouraged him to fight the good fight and keep fighting…we have so many things to do yet, so many people to reach. We don’t want to go to Heaven yet.”

Quotes:

  • “Faith is involved, of course, but, boy, I think one of the most destructive things we can say is to challenge someone. Faith is a gift, for one thing, and it comes from the Lord. It’s not something we drum up. It is something that we have, and it’s a gift, and it’s sufficient. So, boy, I encourage everyone listening, don’t ever let anyone say that to you (if you only had enough faith) and don’t ever say it to anyone.”
  • “I can’t say enough about the need to encourage caregivers. This cancer is nothing pleasant to deal with at any stage, in my opinion, and it takes courage, it takes faith, and it takes stamina for caregivers to do that.”
  • “Listen. We have so many things to do yet, so many people to reach. We don’t want to go to Heaven yet.”

Resources:

Click here to download this week’s resource: “Reducing Your Risk of Cancer