Sep 19

Fear is a Liar

Sometimes things move very quickly once you or a loved one gets a life-threatening diagnosis. I guess that’s good because you don’t have much time to think about it, but it also makes life feel a little like a surreal out-of-body experience: Can that really be me/us everyone is talking about?

My cancer was discovered on a Tuesday and in less than a week I saw the surgeon, had blood taken, got a chest X-ray, “cleaned out” my colon (again!) and had the tumor removed.

Three days later, at 7 a.m., the surgeon and his resident delivered the pathology report as I lay alone in my room. I could tell from their body language that the news ­wasn’t good. They stood against the wall at the end of my hospital bed, as far away from me as they could be.

“Cancer was found in five of twenty lymph nodes,” the surgeon explained matter-of-factly. “You will need chemotherapy and radiation.”

I cried, but no one moved to comfort me.

“Have you ­ever known anyone who ­under­went chemotherapy?” he asked, seeming to grasp for words to continue the conversation.

I nodded, recalling the two people I had known most recently—both of whom had died! I started hyperventilating.

Still, neither doctor moved toward me, but instead the surgeon called a nurse to help me breathe into a paper bag.

“Do you want me to call your husband?” the doctor asked, still at the foot of my bed. I nodded between sobbing gasps into my little brown sack.

Now I was ­really frightened. I desperately needed Ralph. But, for whatever reason, the surgeon did not telephone him. So for several hours I lay in the room alone with my fears.

 

Get a grip on yourself, my head told my heart. What are you so afraid of? Nausea and vomiting? You were sick night and day for six months with all three of your pregnancies. Mouth sores? You’ve had them before. Needles? You’re not afraid of them. Losing your hair? It’ll grow back. Don’t be so vain, my head stated matter-of-factly. But my heart ­didn’t buy it. I just cried harder as I stroked the waist-length hair that I desperately wanted to keep.

Yes, that’s what ­I’m afraid of, I admitted. I ­don’t want to look sick for my children and my husband. I ­can’t imagine watching my hair fall out. I disliked the vanity of my feelings, but it was how I felt.

I ­couldn’t even get my lips to form the word chemotherapy. The fear of facing that, for me, was worse than the initial shock of cancer.

My surgeon obviously did a good job operating on me as I’m still alive and well 28 years later, but his bedside manner wouldn’t have earned such a high grade. It was incredibly impersonal. And not to contact my husband for almost five hours was very unprofessional. I don’t think I should have gotten that bad news all by myself or been left alone for all that time.

But…God used that doctor’s “mistakes” to draw me closer to Himself and help me to face my deepest fears. As I named my fears, they lost much of their power over me and I began to find courage.

Name your fears and lessen their power. Then believe God supernaturally will give you courage to overcome your fears and to live with the uncertainties life brings. Fear is a liar. Are you going to believe a liar or the truth of God’s Word?

I hope Psalm 27:1, 3 can be your prayer today: The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?…Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. 

 (Copyright 2012 by Lynn Eib, 50 Days of Hope)

[1] M. Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled (New York: Touchstone, 1993), pg. 23.

To hear “Fear is a Liar” music video, open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQTnREEtuNk