As the radiology technician clicked away on the computer during the test, gathering measurements and data from a growth that was found, I waited. Impatiently. Trying hard to be still, and to calm my racing heart and thoughts. Everything felt cold. The table, the room, the distracted, distant attitude from this one who seemed to hold all information on my current health status in her very hands.
The doctor had found the nodule on a simple routine exam. Due to the size, she got me in quickly for an ultrasound. It wasn't the first time I had tried hard to stay brave for one of these close up looks at something found on an exam. I’d been there before, yet every time seemed one too many for my worried, anxious soul. I quoted the same verse to myself, over and over in my mind, like a broken record, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you, when I am afraid I will trust in you, when I am afraid I will trust in you..."
My thoughts tried to reason with my heart, "It'll be fine, it's nothing, stop worrying." But no matter what, it's difficult to maintain assured confidence, when you find yourself there in a cold room, surprised by a turn of events, feeling vulnerable, and afraid.
The series of tests and biopsy that followed turned out benign findings, which left us very thankful. Yet again remembering one important thing, that changed my focus from that day forward...
We are not fully in control in this life. And as much as we'd like to, we are never able to prevent all the hard things that may become a part of our daily lives. Struggles come. And often linger longer than we want them to. Illness happens. Takes us off guard. Knocks us flat. Fighting to find purpose in it all.
Most all of us know, either from our own personal experience, or from that of a close friend or family member, the deep feelings of fear that can come about from one little word.
If we could, we'd all eradicate it from this world. No one knows how many “I hate cancer clubs” have been started over the years, but it’s surely been too many to count. Its disease has wreaked havoc on countless dear ones we love, seeking to steal away health, time, and life itself. It knows no boundaries and never comes at a good time. Because honestly, there would never be a right time for something so difficult and cruel.
But in the midst of fears and uncertainties, in the middle of tests, treatments, prognosis, and all that follows, one thing still remains true.
6 words that give hope. That breathe perspective. That remind us He’s still in charge, that He’s never lost control, no matter how bleak times may feel.
“My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:15
Our times are in His hands. He holds all things together, even when they seem to be spinning out of our control. He fits pieces together, that don’t seem to make sense. He holds us secure, safe, close. Our times are not in cancer's hands. Our times are never held subject to the illness that may strive to clutch our lives. Our times belong to Him. And He will never allow us to suffer without any good coming from it, somehow, in some way. He will always use the pain we walk through to bring hope and strength to another soul. To make some lasting impression or difference in this world. Because He has purpose. In whatever we face, day in, day out, good, bad, great times, and tough trials, in it all - He breathes meaning.
I think back to a particular night—it was dark when we arrived back to their house. A recent blow had sent us reeling. My beautiful sister in law, 38 years young, mom to 3 precious kids, had received the news with such courage. Colon cancer, stage IV, with metastasis to the liver. The diagnosis came, hard, cold, seeming too unfair and out of the blue to be assigned to one we love so much. Just before her chemo treatments were set to begin, we joined family and friends, asking God for healing, for a miracle.
As we pulled up, the car lights revealed a big chalk art design written across the driveway. We read it out loud, “We love (big pink heart) MOM!” in sprawling block letters all decorated and cute. Then we saw more. Two huge words on the street in front of their house, lovingly written by a precious 7-year-old artist with a heart that believes in the greatness of our God: “Jehovah Rapha.”
Tears came to my eyes as I stood there looking at those pink chalk words and knew what they meant to precious young hearts who just wanted their Mama to be well. Such huge love. Such huge faith.
Jehovah Rapha. Our God Heals. He is the One who heals.
I don’t know why we have to suffer illness in this world. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people and why God doesn’t always protect us from the things that seem too hard to carry. But I do know this. I know that pink chalk art declaration written by a sweet young girl for her Mom is true. I believe those words, down deep, and if I didn’t, I don’t know how I’d get through life.
God is Healer. He takes all that would seek to destroy us in this life, the sickness, the disease, the anxiety, the worry, the despair, the brokenness, and He heals. He covers. He soothes. He carries. He mends. He breathes hope. He sees. He is with you.
And He holds our times…in His hands.
If you find yourself in a hard place now, don't think for a minute that your days are wasted. He's creating something amazing in you - through you - that's so powerful it could never come just out of easy, simple times. He has good in store. Still. He's building greatness.
Give Him every fear. He'll carry every burden for you, so you don't have to. Grace to you.
"But I trust in you O Lord, I say 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands..." Psa. 31:14-15
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Debbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. Debbie invites you to join her at www.freshdayahead.com, and Facebook and Twitter.