In 1974 Barbara Summers was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. One week after learning of the cancer Barbara was scheduled for a modified radical mastectomy. Her story and the testimony of her husband Paul and three children is an example of unwavering trust in the grace and mercy of God during times of testing.

From this life changing event the Summer Family have been burdened to share the message of the Gospel through their tract ministry, “Silent Missionary.”

Barbara has continued to lean on the Lord for wisdom and strength. And in her own words after all these years her testimony boldly proclaims “Still Lean’n On You Lord…”

Paul and Barbara currently live in Springfield Missouri. Paul graduated from Bob Jones University with a BA in Christian education and Bible.

Still Lean’n On You Lord


Barbara J. Summers

February 11, 1974 was a cold Kansas wintry day. “Your tumor is malignant, Barbara,” Dr. Myers said over the telephone. “We’ll schedule you for a modified radical mastectomy in a week. OK?” Silence filled the room. I was stunned and could not answer. “Are you okay, Barbara?” he asked. “Yes, I’m okay,” I finally replied and he hung up. A week earlier he told me since I was only 28 years old, he doubted the tumor was malignant. However, they wanted to be 100% sure so they sent the biopsy to a Kansas City lab to confirm it was cancer.

Soon my husband Paul came home from work. “Honey, Dr. Myers called this afternoon and told me the tumor is malignant and I will need a mastectomy,” I said calmly. He drew me close and we hugged and cried together. In 1974, if you got cancer it was like a death sentence.

While our three beautiful children were napping, we dropped to our knees by the sofa and prayed. As a chick runs to its mother to hide under her wings when a storm approaches, so we ran to Jesus to be under His strong and secure Wings when our storm came. “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: thou shalt not be afraid…” Psalm 41:4-5

We literally ran to the Lord and tearfully sent up our SOS’s to Him and clung to Him in prayer. I will never forget that day as long as I live! Paul prayed first. Then I prayed. We both claimed God’s precious promises. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all good things work together for good to them that love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

Paul had recently attended a Bill Gothard seminar in Kansas City where Bill Gothard taught the principle of thanking God in everything. He also taught God’s promise that if we trust Him, God will bring good from everything we go through because He is in control. “Dear Lord,” I prayed tearfully, ” I need you to help me now as I face this surgery. I am claiming with my husband I Thessalonians 5:18 and Romans 8:28 and trusting you will bring good from our tragedy. I thank you in advance for it because I really believe you are in control of our circumstances. In Jesus precious name, Amen.”

Paul got up and tearfully called all our family members. We were in such a state of shock we could not say the C-word! ” Paul, I’ll come by train for a week to help take care of your children,” said my sister Brenda from Ohio. When she and her daughter Eve left, my parents from Pennsylvania came for another week. My family’s love and support encouraged me so much!

The day of my surgery arrived. God gave me such wonderful peace that whole week waiting for surgery! None of us like being in waiting rooms do we? Not even God’s! However the Lord was preparing me so I could handle this valley. I ran to his Word and claimed so many of His precious promises to sustain me and strengthen my faith in Him.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” Psalms 53:6. The peace that flowed through me could only come from God! “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3. I never really questioned God, “Why me?” Deuteronomy 29:29 says “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” I was lean’n on the Lord perfectly content knowing my heavenly Father designed this affliction for my good.

“Barbara, wake up. Your surgery is over,” the nurse said. “Good news! There was no evidence of cancer in your lymph nodes but pathology will check them to be sure. We’ll know in a few days,” Dr. Myers told me later. WOW! Were we praising the Lord!

Paul, our friends and our Pastor, Rev. Bill Bingham all had prayer with me before leaving. The Lord gave me His strength as I leaned on Him one day at a time. Pastor Bingham one day said, “Here’s a poem, Barbara to help encourage you today.” Oh how it did bless and encourage me. It was about a jeweler chiseling away on his precious diamond to make it sparkle more and become more precious and valuable. The author of the poem compared this diamond to our lives being a diamond. He said “God chisels away in our lives through valleys and trials to make us more precious and valuable to Him conforming us to be more Christ-like.” It was so beautiful to think on that. As I did, I rested in Jesus even more and said, “Chisel on Lord!” “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:7

I became attached to one of my nurses, Rosemary. She said, “Barbara, I’ve stood outside your curtain many a day and night listening to you and Paul pray. I have watched you everyday go through having cancer. The hospital staff is talking about you and how well you are handling all this! It’s your strong faith in God, isn’t it?’ She asked. “Yes, Rosemary, I couldn’t have made it through without the Lord beside me.”

Having recently gone through cancer herself, she told me “Barbara, when I heard my cancer diagnosis, I didn’t handle it very well.” She realized what a difference it makes when you are born again and can turn your burdens over to the Lord and leave them there. He is a sovereign God and we must trust He is in control and that He can handle the situation better than we can. She later found that out herself from personal experience. She came to know the Lord in a very personal way. Her faith in God was strengthened. The joy of the Lord was now her strength as He was mine! I told the Lord later, “Lord, I’m willing to go through cancer surgery all over again to be used of You to bring someone to You or to a closer walk with You.” I really meant it.

A few days later as Dr. Myers was making his rounds he told me, “Barbara, your lymph nodes were all free of cancer!” “So when can I go home?” I asked. I shed a few tears as we talked and he sat down on the bed beside me and put his arm around me to comfort me saying, “Well, now I know you’re normal.” (I hadn’t cried the whole time in the hospital until then.) We both laughed.

The first night home from the hospital I prayed all night. “Dear Lord, please let me live to raise my three children.” The Lord has allowed me not only to live to raise my three wonderful children with my husband of over 37 years but now I am a Grandma (“Nanny”) six times! After our oldest daughter Ann, had her first baby (our 1st grandchild), I silently whispered to God, “Thank you Lord, for letting me live to be a Grandma!” Now isn’t that just like the Lord! I can’t praise Him enough! “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18

My first Sunday back at church I sang, “He Touched Me!” from my heart.

I want to challenge you as you face cancer or some other trial in your life to come to Jesus. Come and place all your cares and burdens on Him. Lean on Him. “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Trust He is in Control. Claim His precious promises from the Bible as I did. Remember the lives and suffering of Job and Joseph who suffered unjustly. God brought good out of all their suffering. They trusted completely in Him. He will give you such peace! He is the only One that can. Run to Him and His Word as a chick runs to its mother under her wings! Thank Him as He chisels away at your diamond (life) to make you more beautiful and valuable to Him. Bring glory to His Name as He uses your testimony to bring others to salvation in Christ or to comfort and encourage Christians going through a valley. Remember… He says, “this is the will of God concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

The Lord has since brought me through over twenty years of chronic back and leg pain with depression. Our Silent Missionary ministry began in 1993 when I asked God what I could do as a disabled person confined to bed so much. A job related injury; in addition, 4 car accidents resulted in 10 back surgeries yet I’m Still Lean’n On You, Lord.

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