Fear, Part 2
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Ten months ago, almost to the day, I first wrote to you about fear. It was a Wednesday much like this one. I sat in the passenger seat typing as Tony drove toward Pittsburgh. Austin rode in the backseat. Back then, we were on our way to an ophthalmology appointment in search for answers. When we left that day, all we knew was greater fear. That night, as usually I did, I went to check on my babies after they had fallen asleep. I would lay my hand on their chest and wait for it to rise. This time, I stayed at Austin’s bedside a little longer than normal, and for the first time, I worried that whatever was making him sick might take his life.
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Fear. It’s such an ugly word, and it makes us do all sorts of crazy things. Fear of missing out caused Eve to take that first bite. Fear of an unknown future drove Saul to a psychic, and fear of persecution left the disciples running into the night, abandoning their best friend. It makes me anxious, disrupting my sleep and messing up my mornings. Fear. It’s definitely one of Satan’s tools.
Jesus warned us about this when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). There is a solution, however. Isaiah writes, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (26:3). So why is this so easy to remember, but so hard for me to do?
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Bright and early tomorrow morning, Austin will have a needle injected into his chest where a port accessing a major vein is located. This is to administer the contrast given during his MRI. I hadn’t even heard of a mediport ten months ago. Now, I am so thankful they exist—it has saved Austin from many painful IV pokes! The scan is looking for new tumor growth, and while the doctors have remained hopeful, I don’t know what they will find. Nor do I know what they will discover from his spinal tap. And I’m afraid . . . even filled with dread at times. I’m so afraid we will start back at square one, get knocked down before we have even had a chance to get our bearings.
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Back in February, I had just begun my challenge of reading through the Bible in a year . . . or two. Well, I am just now somewhere in the middle of 1 Samuel; so, it might take me a while. It’s not because I haven’t been reading my Bible. I have. But my heart and mind have a hard time staying in one place at a time. One thing I seem to do consistently is begin my day with a Psalm. This morning as I read, my eyes fell on words that I hadn’t seen since that cold day so many months ago:
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.”
This was certainly no accident. God was reminding me of my focus. He is the one directing our lives. Nothing we experience comes without first passing through His hands. The question then becomes not what will the results be of Austin’s tests, but rather what will we do with those results?
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“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul has always been one of my favorite Biblical authors, but lately, I keep finding myself returning to his divinely-inspired words. Maybe it is because they resonate with me—I feel like I can relate to him now more than I did in the past. I love that Paul counted his suffering as a privilege when it gave God the glory. He so beautifully surrendered his life, the good, the bad and the really terrible, all to the Lord. In one letter to Timothy, Paul encouraged him to keep fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), and as Paul came to the end of his life, he reflected on how he had fought well until the end (2 Timothy 4:7). Oh, may it be so with us.
Early on, Austin claimed a theme song for his journey with cancer. “Good Fight” by Unspoken has been an anthem in our house. No matter what comes tomorrow, let us keep fighting the good fight.
To Him be the glory!
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I know many of you are fighting your own battles and are afraid. How can we pray for and encourage you? One reason I believe God has allowed this storm in our lives is so that we comfort others with the same comfort He has offered us (2 Corinthians 1:4).
If any part of our story this year has had an impact on your life, I’d love to hear it! Please share it with us!