I was working in the office yesterday sipping on carrot juice and waiting for The Phone Call. You know, the one every cancer patient ponders after scans. Pinned mentally between thinking you feel really good but knowing one sentence could change everything. Again.
I dialed the office number at 11:01 AM to ask if they had results per my doctor’s instructions. I was hoping, as I had bartered so with my younger daughter that morning, that since they had not called the day before, it meant there was nothing to be concerned about and everything to feel hopeful about.
“Let me get your message over to the team,” said the receptionist. “Someone will call you back shortly.”
Two days earlier I had chatted with the doctor before going in for the PET scan. The scan was the one year mark from my second round of radiation (more targeted this time, just on the mass in my iliac artery) and chemo (no port in my chest this last time, just a daily pill) to lasso stage four colon cancer.
“If this test comes back clear, we won’t need to have you come back for another year,” the doctor had said. “The window of concern is from one to two years after treatment.”
I was one year out from treatment. Would the day’s test set me free for another twelve months or reel me in backwards? God, will you please keep me moving forward? I’ve been wounded enough, right, please? But what if going backwards physically is Your choice of “forward” for my life? How much of this is on me to juice and follow the wellness plan, and how much is about me claiming – no, crying out to You – Your promises, and how much is about Your complete control of my life and my submission to Your plan? And what about the hundreds of thousands of other people suffering and dying from cancer? What is this all about? Deep down I know the answer for me. Maybe it’s the answer for you, too. It is all about God’s loving plan for my life. However He chooses for that to play out in life or in death. Wounded thoughts. Crushed hopes? Grace-filled, personally invested, merciful God. No matter what.
The cell phone buzzed and pulled me back to the present. It was the doctor’s office.
“Mrs. O’Connor? Your scans were clear. Everything looks normal.”
And my day went back to … normal. Just like that. Work issues… personal concerns… family needs… but no cancer. Normal.
Are you crushed maybe between physical illness, or spiritual wounds, or brokenhearted over personal battles that you never signed up for? The Lord is close. Don’t run away. Turn around and run. As fast and hard as you can to Him. He is near you today. His Word, as the songwriter says, will not fail you. Not in life. Not in death.
Speaking about turning and running to the Lord, here is one of my favorite songs about turning to Jesus in times of trouble. Sometimes we have to choose to focus our eyes on Him to hold off the crush of life. The words encouraged my heart all this week, along with reading from Psalm 34. Hope the words and music from this song lift you up a little today too.
Verse 1: O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!
Refrain: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
Verse 2: Through death into life everlasting, He passed, and we follow Him there; O’er us sin no more hath dominion—, For more than conqu’rors we are!
Verse 3: His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well:, Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!
Written by Helen Lemmel, 1922. Arranged by Sharon O’Connor.
Before we go our separate ways, a question. Have you been rescued by God from troubles? Upheld by His love in great difficulty? Would love to have you share briefly here in the Comments a verse of scripture or a meaningful quote for others in need of encouragement. Let’s help each other thrive through the “crush”.