Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A real scare!

Last week I had the joy of doing something I've loved doing since I was a boy. Going to the high school basketball finals in East Lansing with my dad and brother. I've been going since I was 10 years old. Almost always we go and watch four games on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (not to mention the college games at night). It's a time of basketball gluttony. That doesn't include the Melting Moments Ice Cream cookie sandwiches which we've named sin cookies.

This year we arrived and got settled in for the first game. I sat down in the chair and leaned back and felt a sharp pain in my mid back off to the right side.

Right where my liver is.

Instantly I became worried. One of the unintended consequences of cancer is you become paranoid. Every weird feeling, pain, itch, or twitch and you're constantly wondering is the cancer spreading. Is this a new symptom? How serious should I take this? Maybe it's just a stomachache, maybe it's cholangitis. How do I know the difference?

As I leaned back in the middle of the Breslin Center thoughts of emergency rooms, missed basketball games, and unknown futures raced through my head.

I slid my hand up my back under my shirt to see if it was sore to the touch and then it hit me.

IT'S A ZIT!!!!

Whew. I've never been so happy to have a big zit on my back. I know this maybe verging on TMI but I feel like a prepubescant boy again with all the zits the chemo is giving me.

I am not much of a worrier. When difficult thoughts come into my mind I can usually take them captive and move on without being dragged down. It's different when I feel something physical though. For some reason it's much harder for me to have faith that God is in control of my aches and pains as much as He is in control of my future.

Matthew 6:34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

As I go through the daily grind of living with cancer for over a year, I've noticed certain patterns or rhythms. One of these is that when I focus on today, what I'm supposed to do today or in the short term, I tend not to worry about it. However when I start dreaming, or thinking about the future and all the what ifs and unknowns, then the worry and anxiety tend to rise. This is completely opposite of what Mathew 6:34 tells me to do. I know that God provides me the grace to deal with today.

2 Cor 9:8-9 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

When my faith is so small that a zit can derail me emotionally, it ought to be a yellow light flashing in my eyes saying, where is your focus today? Do you have triggers that tend to derail you? Is there a child you worry about constantly? How about the college fund, or retirement? Maybe it is your job or your spouse or (fill in the blank here). What part of your life gives you the opportunity to forget that God will provide the grace no matter what you face? Because some day it might not be just a zit, and at that moment God will show Himself again just like He has done time after time.  So forget about the worries of today, and abound in every good work that you can!


Susan said...

Thank you, so needed to hear this, not that you had a zit, but the reminder of not to worry about tomorrow. Since not being able to work I am on a rollercoaster of wonder about our financial future but God has provided for us every step of the way. When the worry creeps in He has provided for us. I needed to be reminded again to trust in Him. My family has been blessed by me not working with so many things that have brought us closer together as a family and closer to God. You and your family have blessed us so much with your journey. I wish you were not going through this trail but oh what joy to read your posts! We pray, laugh and cry with you!
Susan Hancock

Sharon Hallack said...

" that I can abound in every good work..." wow that really hit me! When I worry I'm certainly not allowing good work to occur, nor am I "abounding" (to be plentiful or rich)
Lauren "just happened" to have this open when I sat at the computer this morning...Nothing "just happens" with God...Thanks for reminding me.
Love you guys! Celebrating HIS resurrection today!

Ryan said...

Sharon and Susan,

Thanks so much for your encouraging words and support. We are so blessed by all you have both done for us! Thanks again.