Not long ago I had a big scare.
It came at the most unexpected time and in a very unexpected way. My husband Ron and I were enjoying a cup of coffee one lazy Saturday morning, when I decided to sort through the small stack of mail that sat before me on the table. I went through each piece, mindlessly tossing the recently-opened envelopes and their contents – mostly junk mail – in the recycling bin. Suddenly, between sips of coffee and conversation, I came across one envelope in particular – the envelope – one that contained a letter that could change my life.
I had to read the letter twice, for my mind could not register what my eyes were reading. It said that something had shown in my latest mammogram and that my doctor wanted me to undergo further tests. Shock, fear, sadness, even disappointment – this had been such a pleasant morning – slowly sipped through my bones. Did I have cancer? Would I have to go through chemo, maybe even a mastectomy? Would mornings like these become a thing of the past?
My initial reaction was to quickly stuff the letter back in the envelope and try to keep it out of my mind until I had a chance to speak with my doctor. Easier said than done! Fear and trepidation assaulted me all weekend. On Monday, at my OB/GYN’s office, her nurse told me not to worry since most of these findings were false alarms. Then she gave me my orders for a second mammogram and an ultrasound, “just to make sure.”
As soon as I got back in my car, I called the imaging center, wanting to get things going now, but was surprised to hear that their “earliest” appointment was in five weeks! Did they not understand the urgency of my situation? I sat there, clutching the steering wheel, wondering how in the world would I be able to handle the uncertainty and the fear I felt for that long.
An old worship song based on Romans 14:8 played in my mind during my drive back home:
“And if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord; we belong to the Lord.”
I pulled over and leaned my head down. “It is true, Lord. Whether I live or I die, my life is your precious hands. Each one of my days, my entire future is yours, and I can find rest in that.”
Peace flooded my mind. I could feel God’s embrace assuring me that – no matter what lie head, no matter the outcome – his love and his strength would sustain me. I could be sure of it. And that was the greatest, most important “finding” I could ever get.
The weeks that followed went by rather quickly. For long stretches of time I forgot about the tests. Still, once in a while, I would remember and wonder if the kind of life I had been blessed with would radically change… or end earlier than I had hoped for. But every time these thoughts crossed my mind, I would go back to that moment of realization and assurance I’d had while driving my car from my doctor’s office, the moment that brought such understanding and ensuing comfort. Whether I live or die, no matter what I have to face, my life is in God’s loving hands and they will carry me.