Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Don't Worry, Be. . . True?

I got some great news just in time for Christmas-- after radiation, all my tumors and nodes are smaller, even those outside the field of the radiation. The doctor believes that radiation has boosted the effectiveness of the current drug trial in which I'm participating and so He is hopeful we will see further shrinkage. I know it the grace of God that heals me and my hope is in Christ.

  It has been a really long time since I've gotten such good news. Probably not since my cancer came back in 2011. The first time I had a lump after I thought I had beaten cancer, it presented as a lump of fluid that was drained and sent away for biopsy. It came back as negative for cancer. Brian and I were elated. It was truly the grace of God, allowing Brian and I to enjoy a wonderful anniversary trip to Ireland the week of St. Patrick's Day. We were able to thoroughly celebrate without the big 'C' hanging over are head. Still something told me we weren't through. But maybe that was just fear talking? So I dismissed it.

When we returned, I had to have the lump drained again and, unbeknownst to me, the doctor sent the liquid away for biopsy. I returned the next week to have it drained once again. It happened to be Spring Break and I happened to have Abby, my eldest daughter, waiting for me out in the waiting room.  She was eight at the time. The doctor called me in to break the news that it was cancer and that he wanted me to get a double mastectomy.   I was devastated to the point that I couldn't even remember my husband's phone number to call him.  Looking back, I saw God's mercy in the initial negative diagnosis allowing the wonderful trip.

In my darker moments, I am tempted to compare that situation to my current positive diagnosis.  Here I am getting the good news right before a holiday again. It allowed me to enjoy myself over Christmas and New Years in a way less positive news would not have allowed. You can see why my mind would go there.

Still this isn't the same situation. First this is much more tentative-- it is indicating shrinking, not the total absence of cancer. Also I have my own evidence to support the report-- less pain and fewer protruding tumors. I am able to sleep on my side for the first time in months. I don't feel like passing out because of blood loss after my showers.

And even if it is the same, and I find out bad news later on, worrying is not going to help me prepare, it only ruins today. That holiday that God gave me three years ago was a blessing that I am thankful for. I wouldn't trade it for one covered by the black pall of worry. Worrying doesn't prepare us for tomorrow, but instead steal strength from today.

And worrying isn't true. Most of what we worry about never comes to be. Phil. 4:8 says
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." Worry isn't true-- it is the imagination creating events that may never come to pass and even if they do, it is in the future, so it isn't true yet.

And worry certainly doesn't belong in any of the other categories-- it isn't noble, right, pure and it certainly isn't lovely.  Neither is it admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. So we shouldn't think of it, plain and simple.  Ah but it is not so easy.

This is where a passage from a little earlier in Philippines comes to play.  I'm not really great at memorizing scripture , but it comes naturally when you have repeated this scripture as much as I have.  Whenever I am tempted to worry I say the following verses over and over: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

But it doesn't have to be these verses. It could be any verses that give your comfort. If there is anything at all in this world that is true, praiseworthy, lovely, it is God's word. Do don't worry.... So think about such things.  ( I know how you started to complete that sentence :-)

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