“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 ESV
God IS strong
Five years ago, I completed a 2 year battle against 2 independent cancers. It would be untruthful to say that I was not afraid. I was frightened of the painful treatment, my future prospects and how this challenge would affect my family. The day after my first diagnosis, I rummaged through my drawer of scripture notes and study guides, and I found a bookmark. I do not recall where I got it, but the message spoke to my heart. I carried that card for 2 years.
The laminated card inspired me to open the book of Joshua. As my cancer journey progressed, I found myself reciting Joshua 1:9 repeatedly while laying in the MRI tube, on the operating table or strapped to the treatment table. As fear welled up in my chest and in my mind, I’d call out to God in prayer. He always answered just as He did for Joshua. I felt His presence and was not alone. I was safe, loved and guarded. The fear dissipated. I was calm and at peace and felt fortified to deal with whatever was to happen next.
Saint Paul states in a letter to the Phililppians,
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
The book of Joshua is not about finding strength to do God’s will. It is about trusting and accepting God’s strength that enables us to get through battles. Joshua trusted the Lord with his entire being. Because of his faith, not his strength or power, the walls of Jericho fell. In the same way, when we relinquish control and trust God and His faithfulness, the walls of fear also crumble.
Lessons learned during my cancer battle:
- God is faithful and He is always with us.
- I do not have to try to be strong. His strength is enough.
- There is peace when handing over control to God.
- Ask God for strength and courage, even in the day to day challenges
- It’ll be ok, even if it’s not ok at the moment. God’s got it covered.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”Romans 8:31 ESV
“But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”Psalm 66:19 ESV
“‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him.”1 Kings 19:11-13 ESV
The story of my battle
The following 2 blogs were posted 2 and half years apart on my local newspaper’s website. My story was originally printed in the health section of the York Daily Record because I was one of the weekly health bloggers. After years of writing about and living a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to be open with the community that sometimes cancer (or other illness) still happens.
Blindsided: Healthy living advocate battles eye cancer – York Daily Record – April 10, 2014
Surviving cancer, twice, changes your priorities – York Daily Record – December 31, 2016.