Written by Anne Spicer
June 27, 2020
A few years ago, I found a lump in my breast and scheduled a mammogram. I arrived a bit early for my appointment and decided to catch up on my Christian devotional reading. The reading started with the statement “Faith does not grow in comfortable circumstances”. Well, that was all the further I got with the reading. I felt clearly that God was telling me what was ahead for me. I prayed for strength.
When the doctor came into the room after reviewing my mammogram and said that he would be very surprised if the lump wasn’t cancer, I almost laughed aloud at the goodness of my God to prepare me for the diagnosis. But He did not prepare me for what came next: my church family. After I shared my cancer diagnosis with them, I was wrapped in phone calls, cards, flowers, gifts, meals, rides to appointments, yardwork, housework, and stories of others’ successful battles with cancer. I felt as though Christ himself was loving me through these people. It was surprising and overwhelming to be loved so tangibly.
God also showed me what a for-better-or-worse marriage looked like. My dear husband tenderly cared for me and acted as my protector and guardian from anything that threatened to take my energy, spirit or health. He cooked, cleaned, listened, prayed, sat beside me and took me to every doctor visit and chemo session and found ways to encourage me, all the while working full time.
I certainly don’t think that God chose for me to have cancer, that is not his character. But He certainly used the difficulty of facing a deadly disease to grow my faith (as the devotion suggested). I have long thought that my value as a human was in my daily accomplishments; active Bible study, mission work, church attendance, volunteering, loving my family well, working to my potential, maintaining my home, etc. God assured me during my disability from the effects of chemo that he loves me. Period. End of statement. He loves me. Not for what I say or how I look or what I do, but for the fact that he created me and I am His beloved child. I could not impress Him with my performance or my product. He was overjoyed with my presence and just plain loved ME. This miserable time is one of life’s treasures to me because of the way God met me in that darkness.
After the treatment phase was complete, I entered the survivorship phase. I worried about everything: did I get cancer because of something I did, or something I exposed my body to, or something I ate? Was it going to come back? What if I never get to see my children fall in love, get married, have children of their own? What will be my legacy? What must I do differently? Do I even have any control over my life? What if I find another lump? How much longer until the cancer returns and this time I die? I dreaded symptoms of any kind as an indicator of something sinister brewing within me.
What I learned in this survivorship phase was that God had proven Himself faithfully and boldly during my cancer as He had over many years in my life. I had felt my emotional and spiritual best during treatment when relying on Him for my daily survival. I did not survive by my actions but by the will of God. Survivorship is in His hands as much as the diagnosis and treatment success were.
When worry creeps into my thoughts, I remember that every minute, hour, day, week, month and year that I live is in God’s hands. He numbered my days before I was born and He is in control. God was clearly present through every step of my cancer and He is just as close to me in my survivorship. Sharing my worries with Him quickly brings peace to my mind and heart. I survive at His will to glorify His name, to find His joy and share His love every day.
If you have not experienced the peace of God, call on Jesus and He will meet you in your dark places. He loves you and He is trustworthy.