44. Hidden treasure
Two years ago, after many years in the making, we finally moved from the Northern Highlands, to the beautiful place in Perth we now call home. For many reasons, it was such a critical move, and at times, had felt unbearably out of reach. Through that (very long) season, I was taught how to wait, with patience and with trust. With many hiccups and hurdles, when the move eventually happened, every element was perfect. God knew when, where and how this needed to be. Added to which, if my idea of perfection had been the blue print, the end outcome would have been so much less than what God eventually gave to us.
As I reflect now, it seems that most of my adult life seems to have been spent waiting for something… Small things like a good holiday, along with big things like a much-wanted child. But what do you do where there is no ending? When what you’re waiting for has no definitive resolution? When the very thing you’ve been hoping for seems tantalisingly out of reach? This is the position we now find ourselves in…
Before this journey with cancer, I had always very naively thought that once cancer was gone, it was the happy end of the story. But as we’ve found along the way, with a disease of this nature, the medics speak about remission, not cure. Only when you’ve passed the ten-year mark, is the cancer considered to be gone. Ten years is a long time to be waiting for those words, particularly given the statistics on breast cancer re occurrence or spread. I can understand how the fear from this could feel all consuming.
Two weeks ago, we were told that whilst the main tumour had indeed gone, active individual cancer cells were still present through-out the tissue removed. Undetectable by scans, these were the unknown silent traces left. It was not the news we expected or hoped for. What did that physical evidence mean? Could it have already spread? Did it leave me feeling unsure? Had it rocked my spiritual faith? Questions that could not be avoided.
My beliefs have never been a blind faith or some psychologically induced, glass half full optimism. So, as I examined everything I’d known and experienced in my life, a re-strengthening started to surge through me. Circumstances, situations, experiences that could only have been through God came flooding back to mind, in a way that seemed to underline once again, everything I held true. I believe what I believe for a reason. I’ve lived it, known it and seen the tangible manifestation of its truth over and over again. Had this rocked my beliefs? Not one bit. God is God and I know Him, unchanging, everlasting.
But in the uncertainty of the not knowing, was this faith enough? Enough to stop the potential nagging worry, haunting doubts and precarious uncertainty? Pressing into these questions, a warmth spread within me; a deeper treasure revealed through this challenge. It was the knowing realisation that I don’t need to hear a Doctor say, ‘it is gone’, to live everyday with contentment, joy and a rested heart. The presence of Jesus within and around me is my answer. He is my peace. It’s the reality, the closeness and the constancy of this relationship that helps me realise I can live everyday with an abandoned heart that’s simply bursting with life – whatever.
So how do I now live in freedom from worry, doubt and uncertainty, particularly when every other day there seems to be another sad news story about this awful disease? For me, it’s two things. Firstly, it’s faith. Faith that everything I believe is true; whether I see the evidence or not. It’s not just a statement or something I’m willing myself to have hope in. Neither is it dependant on what I see or experience happening around me. The word of God is The truth I actively trust. I believe I’m fully healed, whether there’s proof or not. His word confirms it – and is my compass, my anchor and my certainty.
Secondly, it’s to do with proximity. Freedom and peace have nothing to do with being officially told I am cured and cancer free. It’s all to do with how close I am to my King. The vibrant tranquillity of mind He fills me with every single day is more precious than any words from a Doctor. So, no more waiting for that formal ‘cure’ to be proclaimed; my care-free life doesn’t start when we get to hear those words. My abundant, joyous, peaceful life is now, in the beauty and dawning of every single day. And I intend to live each one to the full.
'They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.' Psalm 112:7-8 NIV