Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: Cancer and Trust
By Joy Bach
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Cancer is prevalent in my family. I had sisters with breast cancer and one who had both breast and colon cancer. All the horrible implications of that word flew through my head. Is that what I had?
I truly wish my immediate reaction had been to place it in God’s hands. But for 15 minutes, it was all about me. I stayed stuck at the intersection. As my mind cleared, I knew I had only one choice……..trust.
The words of my favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, came to mind. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to give you a hope and a future”.
Those words told me that God knows what He is doing. I didn’t have to like it, but this was my journey for now. I called my doctor. He saw me that day, then called to consult with a Gastroenterologist. My appointment with the specialist was scheduled within hours. Gastroenterologist is a big word. It means, “the doctor who looks for cancer in your colon”.
I understood the urgency. They had seen my family history. Various tests were scheduled.
Suddenly, the weather forecast was irrelevant. What I had for dinner no longer mattered. There was nothing on television that had any importance. My life became so focused…on God…on prayer…on scripture…on the circle of people around me. I wanted to plead with God to make everything ok, but refrained. This happened to other people. Why not me?
At night John, my husband, and I would lie in bed and hold hands. No words were necessary. We would awake in the middle of the night and reach for each other. When I talked about “what if I had cancer”, he would change my wording to say, “No, it’s what if we have cancer”.
Plans were placed on hold. Dinner with friends canceled. We drew in tight together and with God. We were helpless to change the outcome. We had to trust God’s wisdom.
As the word “cancer” was floating around in my house, I did a lot of thinking about my life. I thought about what I would do if I was told I had cancer. What would I change?
Then I wondered why I would have to wait until I was told I have cancer.
I have been working on me for years now, feeling God was calling me to reach out to women who have been damaged by life. In my few free moments, I would work on writing a little something or maybe on a speech. But my life schedule was a different meeting every evening Monday through Thursday. That didn’t leave much quiet time for God…for meditation…for creating words…words to reach others.
These were good meetings, accomplishing good things. But they really weren’t taking me in the direction I felt I had been called. I removed myself from three of them. I couldn’t give up choir. That is where I get filled again.
Without knowing the final outcome of my medical tests, I decided to take the road called “Trust”. My focus turned to the future…however long it was.
And so I waited.
I drank awful stuff…and then had to drink some more. In the pre-dawn darkness, John and I headed for the hospital. I didn’t make it all the way. It’s a good thing McDonald’s is open 24 hours.
The next few days were a blur. I spoke with family on the phone, but have no recollection of doing so. I slept the days away.
And then, having recovered from that, I had the privilege of drinking more horrible liquid…that had the consistency of chalk. It’s amazing what the medical world does to a person with a health problem.
After several weeks, the diagnosis was given. Big words were used to describe procedures. Lovely pictures were presented to me, along with explanations of my insides. But the words that became music to my ears were, “I removed four “pre-cancerous” polyps. We caught it in time”.
I have no formal plan yet. I just know it is time for me to “do” something more. My desire and passion is to help others along their journey. If God had to use the word “cancer” to get my attention, then it worked.
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