When the News Is Good or Bad

Yesterday was an emotionally challenging day for me. As I woke up anxiety surrounded me. My heart beat faster, my thoughts raced, and even though I kept telling myself, “God has you in his hands” my anxiety level soared.

Then I got on Facebook. And guess what? God even uses Facebook posts to send me reassurance that he loves me and cares about my challenges. First, I read some scripture someone posted about God’s presence. Then a friend of mine posted a skit. The skit was about the very issue I was facing and even more amazing, one of the key players, Mrs. Linda, shared my name.

Then one of my friends posted a podcast where her husband was the keynote speaker for a fundraising event at a hospital. He related his journey and how God put him in the path of people who were just what he needed. He shared how God was with him every step of the way.

After hearing his story, I bowed my head and prayed, as tears rolled down my cheeks. I asked God to reassure me that no matter what the outcome of this visit, I would use it to glorify him and share his blessings with others. I surrendered my heart (which I seem to find myself needing to do on a frequent basis) and my health to God during that conversation. I had a sense of peace and knew that God’s presence was surrounding me. My anxious heart was beating normally and my thoughts focused more on God, who knows my every need and loves me with a great depth of love. God got my attention and reassured me that all my cares could be cast on him.

My daughter picked me up and as we drove to the doctor’s office, I sensed God’s presence with me even as we discussed the possible scenarios that may be before me. As I talked with her, I replayed in my mind the months that had led up to this day, including the hospitalization that resulted in a CT scan of the abdomen, which surprisingly showed a spot on the left lower lobe in my lung. This was followed by a regular CT scan a couple of weeks later, and then a wait of a month just in case it was an infection that needed to clear up. Then another CT scan with contrast followed. Then came the recommended PET scan. The PET scan came back with some red highlights.

By this time, a lot of options had been discussed and my doctor felt strongly that I needed a biopsy done. As he discussed the one-inch mass with irregular borders, I followed along in my mind. I knew he was convinced it was the dreaded word–CANCER. By this time it was a primary concern for me also. Because of the location, my only option was to have needle biopsy. The radiologist, too, felt we were dealing with possible cancer. Lung cancer. I never smoked. How could this be happening?

As the day of the biopsy came, my sister (who is a nurse) accompanied me to the hospital. I survived the procedure despite my rising anxiety levels, and then the waiting began. In the scheme of things, five days is not long. But when you are waiting for what could be life-changing news, it seems like forever.

As my daughter and I waited for the doctor to enter the room, I actually felt much calmer than I thought I would be. It helped that my 3-month-old grandson was with us and we watched as he cooed and smiled. The doctor greeted us and then sat down at his desk. He pulled up my files and reassured me that he just wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing anything as he reviewed the results.

Then I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “It’s not cancer.” I could have danced around the desk and hugged him, but I managed to restrain myself. Even though I had given it to God and asked him to use me no matter what, I really was relieved that the “what” wasn’t cancer.

The doctor told me that he had been certain it was cancer and he was relieved to tell me it wasn’t. What I do have is treatable and in actuality, I had the same thing in 2015 (only then I was very sick with it). So I am extremely grateful that I have been down this road before and know how we need to proceed.

But I got to thinking about this. Would I still have praised God if it had been cancer? Would I still have had peace and put it all in his hands. I like to think I would. God is good (and he would have remained good even if it was cancer). He answered a lot of prayers that have been going up on my behalf. He led me on a journey that deepened my trust in him and made me treasure life even more.

I know there are some of you reading this who did not get the good news that it wasn’t cancer. You may be on a journey that is difficult and long. But in the midst of it all, God is there. He knows your burdens and trusting in him makes all the difference in the world. As my friend, Don Sigler, said when he had cancer, “I am in a win/win situation. I win if I overcome cancer, and I win if I die, because I will be with the Lord.” His win was to be with the Lord and cancer free forever.

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” I pray that I will always know the joy of the Lord, even if it is in difficult circumstances because I am in a win/win situation.