Broadcaster tells how cancer brought her closer to God

Kate Nicholas(Photo: TBN UK)

Broadcaster and journalist Kate Nicholas has revealed how "a second cancer journey" brought her into a deeper relationship with God.

Kate, who was formerly global communications director for Christian charity World Vision, has told how becoming "desperately ill" enabled her to experience God in a more profound way.

Describing her new book, 'To the Ocean Floor' (Authentic), she says: "When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, God promised me that I 'will not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.' When I survived, I dedicated my life to this mission.

"But seven years later the cancer returned with a vengeance. Desperately ill, I sank beneath the waves of consciousness to the ocean floor where I experienced a profound encounter with God that transcended words or imagination."

Kate, who presented a TV series on Christian channel TBN on 'Living a Transformed Life,' lived in remission from breast cancer and wrote and spoke widely at church events about her first experience of cancer. But when the condition returned, she had to reassess her approach to life and faith.

She explains, "Cancer is one of the great levellers in life. No wealth, privilege or private healthcare policy can protect you from its ravages. Nearly all of us know someone who is currently being treated for, has recovered from, or has sadly died as a result of this malignancy."

In 'To the Ocean Floor,' Kate Nicholas sets out the shock of the return of her cancer, and details the resulting treatment that she had to undergo.

She recalls, "When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was ironically given time to reflect that I had often denied myself with my relentlessly active life. Looking back, I began to see for the first time how God had always been there as a presence in my life."

But in the years of remission, Kate had once again plunged herself into a hectic lifestyle of broadcasting, writing and speaking.

When tests showed that the cancer had returned, Kate was once again forced to rest, and to give herself over to a range of treatments. She said: "For most of my life I've definitely been a bit of a 'Martha' from the New Testament's Luke 10 – always busy with tasks, both secular and spiritual.

"But what God now seems to be showing me through this cancer experience is that the time has come to be more like Martha's sister, Mary, to learn how to simply be in the moment, taking time to simply exist."

With that in mind, she has been drawn to Christian meditation and other reflective exercises.

Kate's cancer journey has also highlighted for her the importance of Holy Communion. She explains, "The Lord's Table is the place to which we are drawn, the place where we encounter God and are equipped to live life in all its fulness.

"It's where we participate in the drama of Christ's death. Through the bread and wine, the sacrament of the Eucharist symbolizes the mysterious cycle of death and resurrection."

Although Kate is currently once again – following extended treatment – in remission from cancer, she admits she does not know what the future might hold for her. In a recent blog post, she wrote, "As I progress through the autumn of my life, I'm going to make sure I enjoy every moment – jumping puddles, kicking leaves, and gathering conkers while I may!"

She highlights the words of Jesus in John 10:10, where he declares that he has come so "that we might have life in all its fulness". That, says Kate, "means, for me, that a full life is one that embraces all of its seasons and the rich tapestry of existence that we have been granted."

Rev Peter Crumpler is a Church of England minister in St Albans, Herts, UK, and a former communications director with the CofE.