About 6 months after I had completed my first course of treatments, I started having severe pain in my shoulder. It took the doctors awhile to diagnose it (it turned out to be "frozen shoulder," something I'd never heard of) but in the meantime, that little voice in my head was relentless and had convinced me the cancer had spread to my bones. I laid awake at night, frightened by the yet-undiagnosed pain in my body. My thoughts really ran wild, but God was teaching me a lesson about dealing with fear and learning to trust Him.
One thing He taught me was that God doesn't recommend that we shouldn't fear -- He commands us not to fear!
" The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8
"Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you." declares the Lord. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9
"So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." Matthew 10:31
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6Furthermore, He tells us about the SOURCE of fear:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7So if God didn't give us the spirit of fear, guess who did? Fear is one of the greatest tools of Satan, and whenever he starts whispering in my ear, I try to remind myself of this.
Even knowing this, fear is still a difficult struggle for me. I have no fear of death -- I know that I'll be with the Lord, but I do worry about the sickness and suffering I may go through before death. Sometimes when I'm feeling just too overwhelmed, I imagine myself climbing onto God's lap, burying my head in His strong chest and His arms surrounding me. How comforting it would be if I could actually experience His physical touch and I long to actually feel His hand holding mine.
One night I had a dream that I was on a mountain trail on the edge of a rocky cliff. I was walking with a man who was protecting me. There was an enemy who was chasing me and there seemed to be nowhere to escape. Then my protector took my hand and together we jumped off the edge of the cliff. Although I couldn't see it when I jumped, it turned out to be not that far down, and we landed safely.
The next morning, my devotional was on Psalm 73:23-26:
"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."I got chills! It was like King David had written these words just for me over two thousand years ago! It was clear God was trying to tell me something -- I was heading into a difficult or dangerous path ahead, and even though I couldn't see how things will turn out, God will be holding my hand and I will land safely.
When Satan tries to whisper fears into your ear, just hold tightly to the Hand of God.