They said three days. So why was I still waiting to hear from them? Granted, Monday happened to be Labor Day, and of course the lab was closed that day, so that didn’t help. If it was nothing I would have heard by now. The not knowing was so hard. If only I knew the situation fully I could face it, but facing an unknown, invisible enemy was awful and seemed impossible. I could hardly keep my mind from trying to figure out or imagine what it was, what the outcome would be. During that time of waiting, the anxiety was so intense that my very nerve endings seemed on edge, all over my body, as if fear was continually pricking my skin.
Finally on Friday the doctor’s receptionist called to schedule an appointment for me to come in and get my test results. She was kind but couldn’t tell me anything. She didn’t have to. I knew that if my tumor was benign she would have told me over the phone. Monday afternoon, when John and I got the official word that I had cancer, at first the fear overwhelmed me, even physically. After nearly passing out, God revealed to me that He was with me, actually ahead of me, making a way for me. I can’t explain the intensity of that revelation but I can still picture the image of God, my Father, standing up around the bend of this narrow path, waiting for me. Bright sunlight was shining behind Him so that He was a silhouette as he turned toward me with an outstretched hand. If I was going to be walking with Him, what could make me afraid? That reminder and reassurance was life-changing. I’ll never forget it.
Lately I’ve been getting in some practice facing fear. It’s a different sort of fear – not caused by cancer but by the size of tasks in front of me – fear of messing up or failing to do the best things as a parent. I decided to look up some quotes about fear and found a few really good ones:
“Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.” (anonymous) How true is that? Whenever I start to give in to fear, my mind fills with questions, “what ifs”, and worries. For some reason our brains always jump to the worst case scenario and dread starts bubbling up. Sometimes I feel paralyzed or in the least, inadequate for the task, like I’d rather shrink back under the covers until it goes away.
“FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real.” (anonymous) I’m learning to battle fear with truth. Fear is not of God and shows lack of trust in one way or another. When I purposefully dwell on what’s true the lies of fear topple over. Truth is described as a sword in the armor God gives us. Maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong lately, trying to whap the enemy with the puny rubber band of my own strength instead of wielding a sword. I’m a slow learner sometimes.
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” (Marilyn Ferguson) This is a beautiful quote. Just reading it gives my heart courage. Truly some of the characters we read about in Bible stories had this freedom from fear, grounded by a deep trust in God. How else could Daniel keep praying, knowing He’d face a pride of hungry lions for it? How else could Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stand up to a powerful King refusing to worship anyone but God, knowing they would be incinerated? How else could young teenage David walk confidently out onto the wide battle field with only a leather sling and some rocks to face a gigantic warrior who had never been defeated? Of course we know that Daniel wasn’t eaten, David was victorious, and the three friends weren’t even singed! In fact, in that last story the king saw someone like an angel (Jesus) walking around in the fire with the three friends. He was with them. They knew that from the beginning and so they had no need to fear. They were completely free.
God’s Word says that I’ve not been given a spirit of fear. (II Timothy 1:7) His Holy Spirit brings guidance, counsel, comfort, companionship, truth, peace, love, power, and so much more. Fear is not in that list! God’s Spirit shines a spotlight directly into the murkiness of fear and dispels it, showing the way through.
If I draw closer to God and keep learning to know Him more, fear will have less power to trip me up. Knowing who I really belong to, and all that He is capable of, pretty much obliterates fear altogether.
There are so many good Bible verses about fear. God’s Word helps me in my struggle against being afraid:
Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
All of Psalm 91 (go read it – really, right now!)
God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory. Isaiah 12:2
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. I Peter 5:7-9
[Jesus said] I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. John 16:33 The Msg
Here’s a song I’ve learned recently that encourages me immensely! My favorite phrase is “When my strength is gone, I find You mighty and strong. You keep holding on.”