“I’m scared that your cancer will come back. I’m scared that you will die. Mom, even if you do live 30 more years, I won’t be 50 yet. Who will take care of me? Who will make sure that I’m going to be safe? Who will fight for me? …Mom, I lay in bed and worry about this at night.”
Cancer has threatened our girl’s already vulnerable security. We have walked through this fiery furnace for years and years. For her, the biggest, ugliest kind of scary, even worse than death …is being alone or abandoned. My healing and recovery are going very well, but her fear is part of our journey with cancer too. She needs assurance she’s not going to be left alone. I expect we all crave that assurance, if truth be told.
I endeavor to respond to her with honesty, but I also feel the need to temper my words with as much grace as possible. There are many people who love and cherish her, but none more than God. I reminded her that my latest scans were clear and I would continue taking good care of myself and follow up with my physicians. We have no promises that the cancer will not recur, but as believers, we have the assurance that we won’t go through any fiery trial alone.
John and I have been studying the book of Daniel. God has amazing timing! Chapter 3 of Daniel details the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. He and I had been chewing on the scripture for days.
In case you don’t know the story, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. King Nebuchnezzar erected a golden statue of himself and demanded that all the people bow anytime music was played. If they didn’t, he would put them to death. The three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego refused. The king got bent out of shape, but gave them another chance. Again, they refused saying ” If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” The king was outraged by the audacity and ordered that the furnace be heated 7x it’s normal heat. He had them bound and thrown into the furnace. The guards who threw them in were killed by the intense heat. The king was astonished when he looked into the furnace to see that they did not burn, they were walking around and there was a fourth man in the fire with them. The king called them out. All the witnesses saw that their hair was not singed, the ropes they had been bound with were burned off, but their clothes didn’t even smell of smoke. Nebuchadnezzar declares, “…there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
If you are going through a fiery furnace yourself let me tell you, you are not alone. Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego experienced, you will not go through the fire by yourself. Beth Moore teaches that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego had confidence that God was “able” to deliver them “from the fire, through the fire or by the fire.” We hope to escape “from” the fire altogether. But if we have to be in the fire we certainly want to be delivered “through” the fire. If not that, then Lord let us be delivered “by” the fire. Whichever way, let us keep our confidence that the “God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us” from the fiery furnace we face.
Bethany has struggled for years to feel safe in attachments to the people who love her the most. It has been her lifelong fear that she will be alone. The health crisis our family has faced has stoked the fire of fear of being left alone in a world that she is unable to negotiate without considerable help. While we can’t fix this for her, we can encourage her that she is loved and cherished by others, that we have set a plan in motion for her if something should happens and that God will not abandon her.
So many folks are experiencing fiery trials today. I can’t help but think of the folks in the Philippines. There are those who are serving our country on foreign soil and are away from their families. There are those who don’t know where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep tonight. There are those suffering from depression, addiction, isolation, fear and anxiety. Some are watching their families collapse or face unexpected challenges. There are those who are facing down life threatening illnesses. Some are grieving the loss of security, health, family, income, dreams, jobs, relationships or home.
Let me remind you “…there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
Please pray for one another, be gentle with one another. Remember, you never know what fiery trial someone else is facing.
We love you,
Cindy and John