After seven years, my cancer returned. I was aware that my particular type of cancer had a tendency to recur, so I was not shocked, just disappointed; but also grateful that I was under the care of a knowledgeable and vigilant physician who was right on top of things. I resumed my former course of treatment, which was relatively benign as far as chemotherapy side effects are concerned. Okay. We’ve got this.
After 6 weeks of treatments and a 3-month hiatus, I underwent another look. Visually, things appeared fine. But biopsies taken of the normal-looking tissue revealed that the cancer had not responded to treatment at all. More tests would be necessary as well as a referral to a different doctor for a different kind of treatment.
In the meantime, I had been dealing with several health issues less worrisome than cancer, but still of concern. My thoughts immediately went to something I had often heard from my parents’ generation when they were my age: “getting old is not for sissies.” That implies that one needs to be strong to face the challenges that inevitably come with aging. And where does a senescent body obtain strength?
My next thought was “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV). Blessings upon blessings, I am not expected to summon my own strength to fight the physical and emotional battles of this disease! The joy of the Lord is my strength. But cancer and joy don’t usually occur in the same sentence. However, Jesus is my joy. God is sovereign and His will is best for me. I take solace in knowing that Jesus loves me and will work all for good and His glory.
I was reminded of the statement of faith, the Heidelberg Catechism. Question One asks: “What is your only comfort in life and death?” The answer: “That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation…”
Joy? I belong to Jesus. He has died for my sins and freed me from the power of sin and death. He cares for me and orchestrates all for my salvation. Yes, JOY! Strength I could never summon on my own allows me to sit back and watch for what God will do next. I know that whatever He chooses will be best for me. And that, dear friends, gives incredible peace.