Another test result and more bad news. Not terrible news but not great. This life threatening disease is not threatening my life enough yet to make it clear on what to do, but it is making more noise. The army (cancer) has invaded my territory (body) and it is attempting to surround me (5 tumors, located left and right sides, both sides of the diaphragm). This enemy is persistent and it is advancing, it continues to press forward.
The battle lines have clearly been drawn. I feel like I am in the middle of an old western where the soldiers were told not to shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes. I can definitely feel the presence of the enemy but I am still awaiting word from the Commander (GOD) to give the command to shoot.
It is the natural course for this type of cancer to press forward, to continue to grow and spread. While there are many treatment options, they all just provide temporary success with attacking this cancer.
It is very much like a typical war scenario between two fairly equal combatants, one advances, the other retreats, the other advances, etc. There will be (and already has been) many battles with this cancer. There is no cure at this point for this type of cancer and there are a limited number of bullets that I can fire, a limited number of battles that I can wage and win. The reality is that most likely one day it will win the final battle. Up until that final battle with it, modern medicine can make it retreat, but some day it will not. Unless God intervenes with a miraculous healing, it will gain the upper hand in the final battle, or so it may seem.
I have accepted this disease as my “thorn in the flesh” and I am able to carry my cup with assurance. The difficult part is in knowing when it is time to drink of this cup or to continue to just carry it. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane about his cup of suffering and that since it was the Father’s will and timing, He was ready to drink of the cup. That he did as he allowed himself to be arrested, crucified and to die. This he did for the Father, for you and for me.
As the apostle Paul said, to die is victory. You see the final battle for all Christians is not the one that deals with this physical body. Instead it is actually the battle that has already taken place. It is the battle that was waged 2000 years ago, on a cross on a hillside. And it is a battle that was fought for me, won for me and, as such, a battle that I do not have to join in now, but I get to reap the rewards of the victor of that battle.
So even in the last battle that I may wage on earth in this physical body, that defeat has already been turned into victory by Jesus. Knowing that I win the war removes all the pressure from fighting each individual battle. It also allows me to fight it my way, on my terms as I feel that God is leading me. It allows me to follow His wisdom, which may fly in the face of conventional wisdom (science).
My gut (not literally, just a feeling) says that it is time to treat. My heart (again not literally) says to wait, mainly because of the side effects of the treatment. Conventional wisdom (modern science) says to wait. Conventional wisdom would say that it would have been more powerful for Jesus to come off the cross and to show the world that He was God. But God knew better, he knew that an atonement for sin had to be paid, that death had to be defeated. Thank God that Jesus paid that price so we could join in the final battle and know that death has already been defeated.
Is it time to treat, is my gut feeling God speaking to me and while I have accepted this thorn and cup and I am not ready to go forward because of the side effects of the treatment? Or is God testing my faith and seeing if it is strong enough to continue to live with the disease without treating it?
For many cancer patients, this is the personal, sometimes most difficult part of the war. Waiting on test results, decisions to be made, just waiting, etc. can be tough. For me, I am content to rest completely in God’s peace, confident and hopeful that in God’s perfect timing he will reveal the correct plan of action. If you too are struggling, whether at war with cancer or some other battle that is raging in your life, I invite you to seek God’s comfort and leadership. It is a guaranteed plan for peace and long-term (even eternal) peace. Amen.