By Alex Anderson, Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church
Not long ago I asked my wife a drilling question, “What would be the most important advice you could give to another person who ‘just found out’ that they had cancer?” She went completely silent for a few moments, then looked straight into my eyes and without a hint of hesitation said, “Deal with the fear first.”
She is now 4 years 7 months cancer free herself. When she and I found out she had cancer, it was a crushing blow. For a short time, we both went into a state of shock. At the time we were in our forties and very healthy people for the most part. On the way home from the doctor’s office we were just silent. We sat letting all of the questions run through our minds. What does this all mean? What were her chances of survival? How would it affect her daily life? On and on the mind-numbing thoughts just rolled…until it became obvious to us that we were letting ourselves be led down the primrose path of fear. Before we got home, somewhere on I-75, we prayed.
“Lord, we know we live in a ‘fallen world’ and that sickness and disease is prevalent, however we refuse to give in to the fear it can bring. We now stand against not only this disease but also the paralyzing emotions that are trying to take over our minds. Give us courage and clarity to follow the steps that we are trusting that you will set before us. Health is a divine blessing. Now use our good doctors as well as your miraculous hand to bring healing and restoration to my wife’s body.”
What we have learned during this almost five-year journey is: “faith, hope and love” gives us an unfair advantage over fear. Fear doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in the face of great certainty or faith. When you know inside of your heart that you are going to win, then hope springs up. Not like a daisy in the cracks of your driveway but like an oak tree in the backyard where the kid’s swing hangs. All this is possible when you have a loving relationship with God. I mean come on. Think of how you feel when you know that “special someone” is always calling and wanting to hang out with you. You know that love is strong with that one. It brings confidence and puts a little spring in your step…a little “zippity” in your “dooda.” Well, when trouble comes your way, you are going to call those who love you the most, right? And the bigger your loved ones the bigger the mountain you can move with them. Well if you cultivate that kind of relationship with God, then when you have a big mountain, you have big help.
In our case, not to brag, but we have been hanging out with God in a loving relationship, full of a lot of trust, for decades. The mountain-moving kind of trust and love didn’t happen overnight, but it did grow year after year as we would go to our God with stuff.
The point here is that some people try to rely on their own knowledge, wealth, contacts, and influence and most of the time it’s enough to navigate the rapids of life. But on rare occasions more is needed-a lot more-to handle the death dealing, dirty little secrets life can throw at us. Sometimes we need God’s help and he loves to do his part.
God got quite busy with us. He lined up some of the finest physicians as well as a host of others to help us. But that’s not all he did. The biggest miracle of all was his peace and guidance. I mean we could tell inside of our hearts when to say “yes” to that and “no” to something else even though logically it made all the sense in the scientific world. What all our doctors and our friends and loved ones could not do was to “hear” from God for us. Nor could they own the mountain of potential life and death decisions we had to make.
With God’s loving help we were somehow able to see the end from the beginning and that made all the difference when it came to dealing with fear and the disease that had viciously attacked my wife’s body. We held onto it with all the faith, courage and tears we could muster…and it worked. Not because we were magically directing our destiny, but because we trusted someone much bigger than us who, from His perspective, could see it finished in our favor. And we trusted Him with that. Our best interest is always His first interest.
We are no more special than you. If you just got “the news,” then stop what you are doing right now…yes in the middle of all the fear and emotions screaming in your ears, and pray. Don’t pray a nice little Sunday School prayer. Pray a dangerous prayer like we prayed. It doesn’t mean you will instantly have all the answers, but by God it will put fear on notice that you will not give in to its trickery and you will not lay down and just let “this,” whatever this is, win.
“With God, all things are possible to him that believes” ~Jesus Christ
Be Life Giving
Alex Anderson is a Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church, Bradenton, Florida.
To read other life-giving articles by Pastor Alex, go to http://belifegiving.blogspot.com/.