In the early days of my lymphoma diagnosis, I was experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety are God-given emotions that we all experience. It was a daily battle to not let these emotions control me. The temptation was there to let it paralyze me and to spend my days on the “pity pot.” But as a Christian, I knew there was a purpose in my cancer and that God had a plan for me. He didn’t give me this cancer so I could lay around and be depressed, but to use it for His glory. I had to choose to think on truth. That is why doctrine is so important.
In the months preceding my diagnosis, my pastor had been preaching on having an eternal perspective and to not be consumed by the here and now. Little did I know that in God’s providence, his excellent teaching was preparing and equipping me for this battle. If the Lord chose not to heal me, I knew He was preparing a place for me in his heavenly kingdom. In that I could rejoice. One of the verses Pastor Matt gave me to focus on was 1 Peter 1:3-9 (see below).
My dear husband sat me down every morning and we started our day reading through John Piper’s devotional, Don’t Waste Your Cancer and looking at my cancer through God’s eyes. The book consists of 11 short devotionals, each of them dealing with Scriptures that illustrate God’s hand in the cancer of one who has trusted in Christ alone for their salvation.
My pastor’s wife, Kim, gave me the book, Future Grace, also by John Piper. He stated that the root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus. As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety.
I started to journal all of the things the Lord was showing and teaching me. I believe He was slowing me down so I could sit at his feet and learn more about him as I now had the luxury of spending hours in the morning reading the bible, books and devotionals. When I would become fearful and anxious, I would look through my journal and focus on His promises for me.
I had gotten to the point of acceptance-that I have cancer and that it could take my life. But as a Christian, I also had hope–hope that if the Lord chooses, He could heal me; and if not, He has given me the gift of salvation and a hope of being with Him in eternity forever.
Fear and anxiety was (and still is) a battle I fight everyday. It’s faith versus feelings; it’s truth versus temptation; it’s God’s Word and promises versus self-pity and despair. But through it all, I know that God’s grace is sufficient for each day and in that I rejoice.
Following are some Scriptures that have helped me fight this battle. I pray they will be a help and comfort to you:
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. (Philippians 1:12 NASB)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB)
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NASB)
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NASB)
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. (Psalms 56:3 NASB)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NASB)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6, 7 NASB)
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NASB)
The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NASB)
Psalms 33 and 34.
If you are suffering with a disease you must live with or with chronic pain, then I pray these passages are a comfort to you as you meditate upon them.