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Growth Resources Online blog, fear, anxiety

In the Shadow of His Ways – 3

My last post was the day my biopsy was done – Thursday, December 14.

And one of the last things the assistant told us before leaving the room that day was that we should have results no later than the following Monday.

Instead, it was late Tuesday evening before we got the call… the call that confirmed cancer.

The news wasn’t really a shock (the radiologist who read my ultrasound said the indicators were all there).

But honestly, what has been as hard to deal with as the initial suspicion… and even the positive results… is all the waiting. All the not knowing.

A full 16 days after an abnormal ultrasound before biopsy. Another five days between biopsy and receiving the report.

And still another two weeks before our consult with the surgeon (which was yesterday, January 3; more on that in my next post).

You may know exactly what I’m talking about. Your problem might not have been cancer, but if you’ve had to wait days or weeks for potentially bad news in a similar situation, you know that period of waiting is a little like having the sword of Damocles hanging over your head.

How do you manage all those days and hours and minutes of not knowing what all this means? How do you keep your imagination from going to the worst possible scenario? Your mind from wearing you out?

I’ll tell you how.

You have to actively and passionately guard your mind by intentionally choosing what you think about. What you focus on. And what you tell yourself.

During this periodic and prolonged time of waiting and wondering and not knowing, I’ve had a few difficult days when I lost the thought battle. Days when I allowed my imagination to pick up a scary scenario and run with it.

And I suffered for it. 

Overwhelming fear. Anxiety. Nervousness. Tightness in my chest, neck, and shoulders.

These unwanted feelings are as predictable as the sunrise if I fail to control my thoughts.

But Mike and I determined at the outset of this journey that we would not allow ourselves to go through this experience without learning the lessons God wants to teach us while we’re here.

And right now, He’s teaching us to trust Him. Trust His ways. Trust His will. Trust His timing. Trust His love. And believe His promises.

The story from Scripture that I keep before me is the one found in Matthew 14:22-33 where Jesus is walking on the water in the middle of a raging storm toward the disciples who are in a boat being thrown like socks in a dryer by the storm’s monstrous waves.

In the middle of all this chaos and threat to their very existence, Jesus invites Peter to step out of the boat and come to him on the water — quite a frightening proposition!

I’m sure you know the story well. As long as Peter stayed focused on Jesus, the storm didn’t faze him. He successfully navigated all the risks and moved ever closer to the Lord.

But the minute he shifted his focus away from Christ to the circumstances surrounding him – the gigantic waves, the cracks of lightening, the whipping and whirling wind – he was overwhelmed. And that’s when he began to sink.

Peter’s story here is our model for this journey. We already know by experience the amazing peace and even joy that washes over us when we stay fiercely focused on God and His promises.

And we know the unbearable dark cloud of gloom and dread that sucks all the air out of our lungs when we focus on the storm we’re in the middle of.

We have no idea what these next few weeks or months may bring.

But we do know that when we see this cancer through Almighty God, it simply becomes the next step in our journey. What’s more, it is no match for our God who is infinitely greater than anything it can throw at us.

Because the truth is that He’s completely in charge of whatever’s going on. He allowed it. And He can fix it if he chooses. Or He can use it as a tool to move us closer to Him, to deepen our experience of Him, and to strengthen our faith in Him.

And when it’s all said and done, that’s all that matters anyway.

Because as Romans 11:36 says, “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.”

May these words serve to encourage and steady you in the midst of whatever storm you’re going through.

Susan Ruth, Growth Resources Online

Because we don’t want to waste this opportunity for learning and growing and gleaning everything God wants to give us while we’re here… and then in turn use it to help others going through their own dark times… we’re choosing to document this journey in our blog every few days.

Our prayer is that you benefit by sharing in this experience with us. And if you know someone who’s hurting right now that might be encouraged by reading these entries, feel free to also pass them along.

Finally, if you find it in your heart to pray for us as God takes us into the shadows, we would be most grateful.   

Christian growth, Christian blog, Christian counseling, Christian coaching, Christian psychology, Growth Resources Online, stress, anxiety, worry, fear, depression

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