As I lie on the CT scan table, the gracious and very thoughtful technician gave me these simple instructions – “Just fall back in my arms and I will catch you and very slowly lower you.” Me, in my pain wracked state just one day post-op from my hysterectomy, said, “Are you sure?”.
He assured me he was more than capable of supporting my weight and making the transition as gentle and easy as humanly possible. I was deeply touched by his compassion on me and empathy as I endured this ordeal.
His instruction required trust on my part and the ability to fully place my life in his arms. I was reminded of this scenario yesterday after I received a phone call from my health insurance company notifying me of a cancer support program they offer. Anything from wigs to out of state hospital and lodging requests to community resources, etc. The representative on the phone was very chipper and upbeat as she reiterated all of the wonderful facets of this program and the fact that I do not have to go this road alone. As she concluded our mostly one-sided conversation, she felt the need to add that with a diagnosis like this, “Perhaps it causes us to pause and contemplate our priorities and the important things in life.” I’m sure it was an attempt to comfort and encourage, however, what she doesn’t know is, I’ve been a deep thinker all of my life and since losing my mother when I was 23, I’ve perpetually considered life’s true priorities. At any rate, we ended the conversation with me thanking her for the call, despite the fact that I was left with the feeling that certainly this should’ve been directed toward someone else, not me.
As I stood in front of the bathroom vanity, tears began to fall as I told God that I could not take this cancer journey. His reply: “Just trust me.”
I said, “I’m not strong enough.”
God said, “In your weakness, I am strong.”
I retorted, “I don’t want to go through this.”
God said, “If you don’t, many won’t see your testimony of my goodness.”
God said, “I will be with you. I will never leave you.”
Clearly I have some work to do in the trust department. I have walked with God for forty-one years and we have overcome some real mountains, giants and obstacles that I thought surely would swallow me alive. They didn’t. I’m still here. Cancer won’t overcome me either. Ever since I received the news just nine days ago, God has constantly been assuring me that He will walk this journey with me and that I will get through this.
Yesterday I actually felt somewhat well enough to unload the dishwasher and noticed a 3×5 card I taped to the inside of our kitchen cabinets as I put the plates away, which read:
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” ~ Isaiah 43:2
Later in the afternoon, there was a loud knock on the front door. My son peeked out the front window and noted it was our neighbors, a young couple in their early 30’s and their year and a half baby girl. I happily greeted them as they inquired about how I was doing. They also shared about a time when they were newly married, the wife was referred to an oncologist due to some highly irregular lab work. It turned out to be nothing in the end but they wanted me to know they understand the emotional ups and downs of news like this.
I was very encouraged by their little visit and touched that they would take the time to stop by and see how I was doing. God has orchestrated such timely encounters over the last several days to combat the discouragement and fear of the unknown. When it all comes down to it, do any of us know the future? No.
I had a great aunt who was a little eccentric, let’s just say, but we loved her dearly. She never married and lived to be 89 years old, despite having long survived a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit! She was very stubborn. Perhaps that was her secret to longevity, along with good genes. She was my grandmother’s sister and my grandmother lived to be 98.
This great aunt said something I must’ve thought profound because it has stayed with me for many years:
“It’s a good thing we don’t know what’s ahead of us. Just do the best you can.”
For a simple, country woman who used to raise chickens, she sure had a lot of wisdom. No truer words were ever spoken.
Life sometimes throws us curve balls. No one can anticipate them. They simply come. Our response must be trust. God will catch us if we merely trust.