Another butterfly

I told myself I was done writing about cancer. For most of 2015, it dominated my mind in both good and bad ways. My faith was stretched and desperation for God multiplied, but my fear and pessimism also increased too. It took months to feel like I had finally thawed and woken up from what felt like a really bad dream, and by the time 2015 turned to 2016, I felt ready to jump back into other things—thinking and writing about normal life like I used to.

But I guess God had a different plan (doesn’t it seem like He always does?). Back in 2014, I was told it’d be years before I was considered officially “cancer free.” I recently found out why they wait so long. A couple of weeks ago, I had a CT scan that showed a small questionable area in my neck and smaller questionable spots in my lungs.

Yeah, it’s not what I wanted to hear either.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve just kept thinking that what I feel and what I know are not the same, and that’s really really hard.

What I’ve felt:

  • This is unfair.
  • This is scary.
  • This is heavy.
  • This doesn’t make sense.

What I know:

  • He is just.
  • He is loving.
  • He lifts burdens.
  • He does everything for His glory.

What do I do with that?

* * *

Today rolls around, and I sit in a chair to have yet another neck biopsy. And the nurse uses the ultrasound machine to try to find the little troublesome spot, rolling the cold machine over and over my neck, going out of the room and coming back in three times. When the doctor comes in and sees the images, she tells me there’s nothing there—that the spot appearing on my CT scan must have just been normal tissue that appeared abnormal.

People have been praying for this. I’ve been praying for this. But I had little faith—not that God could but that He would. Why would He heal me? Does He really care how I feel?

The answer is yes. He cares a lot.

* * *

Every time I hear the worship song “We Fall Down,” I picture angels singing it in heaven and all around us as we sing on Earth. The other day, I heard this song again and was struck by the fact that angels—who witness every horrendous act under the sun—are not crying around the throne, “Why? Why? Why?” or “How could You? How could You? How could You?” But rather, “Holy! Holy! Holy!”

For the last few weeks, I really felt like crying out “Why, God?” But each day, I tried to choose instead to cry “You are holy,” because that is what I will be saying for all eternity.

And today I’m not just choosing to say it, I’m feeling it. He is holy.

He is holy because there was something on that CT scan that is not there today. He is holy while there are likely still spots of cancer in my lungs. He is holy when He gives, and He is holy when He takes away.

“Christians do not say, ‘I do not understand You at all, but I trust You anyway.’ Rather we say, ‘I do not understand You in this situation, but I understand why I trust You anyway. Therefore I can trust that You understand even though I don’t.'”
-Os Guinness

I could write on and on about God’s possible purposes in allowing this neck scare and this possible recurring cancer in my lungs. And I truly do believe some of them are evident. But I’m realizing that I shouldn’t have to find purpose in the midst of suffering to have peace—I can have peace because I understand His character, regardless of circumstance.

So I don’t have answers. I don’t have reasons. I have a doctor who is optimistic, a support system that rocks, and a God who loves me more than either of them ever could. And He showed that to me today through a miracle. So I’m clinging to 1 Peter 4:19,

“Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

I’m thankful for your prayers, and I know that He hears them even when He seems deaf to our cries. I know that He is good even when His shoulder feels cold. And He is present even—no, especially—in the quiet.

He’s certainly proven that today.

What I said after my first diagnosis is still true today: When you come to a bump in the road, you don’t stop your journey or change directions. You continue over it, knowing what’s on the other side. God’s on my every side, and He’s on yours too—whom shall we fear?

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