I was reading a book of devotions for cancer patients called Everyday Strength, by Randy Becton, and I came across a line that said, “I travel well in the warm sunshine. Dear God, make me a better rough weather traveler.” It got me thinking. I am going through a very easy illness and treatment compared to what might have been. I am not looking at possibly just a few more years, but a probable cure. I am not in pain. I don’t have to have surgery or radiation. This is the warm sunshine, as far as cancer goes. I call it “cancer lite”, although Sam disagrees with that label.
But what if it wasn’t so “lite”? What if I was facing brain or lung surgery, or loss of my breasts, or some other drastic and painful surgery? What if I had to endure radiation in addition to chemotherapy? What if I was hoping for remission so I could have three or five more years? Would I still be able to maintain a good attitude? Would I still be peaceful that everything was in God’s hands and relax and trust him with the outcome? Would I still be able to keep up my fighting spirit and consider my bald head my warrior uniform?
I truly hope so. I believe that the peace and joy that I have now doesn’t come from the fact that I have a good prognosis as much as from the fact that I have a relationship with the Lord that sustains and strengthens me when my own strength is just not there. I believe that from the beginning he has been holding me up in his hand, and holding on to mine, as he showed me in the verses that have been my life preserver through all of this; Isaiah 41:10,13:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
So I hope and believe that the same Spirit, the same strength that is getting me through this not-so-awful-so-far version of cancer that I have, would do the same if it was worse. No, rewind and rephrase. I know the Spirit would do that. I hope and believe that I would allow it and not get into self-pity and fear. God will do his work, but I have to allow it to be effective in me. I can choose fear or peace, bitterness or acceptance, self-pity or thankfulness. I can choose to look at this as the worst thing that has happened to me, or the biggest growth experience and best opportunity to help others in my life. The choice is mine, and would be if I were much worse off. I hope I would make the right choices if that were the case, because this peace that passes understanding – really does! It is beyond all human understanding, and it is so worth whatever I give up.