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Fear NOT!

Like many cancer survivors I have an ongoing battle with fear. Once you've had cancer, it's hard to overcome that nagging fear that it will come back.

One thing I have had an ongoing battle with, is fear. I know that's something that my fellow cancer survivors can relate to, as well as many other folks. Once you've had cancer, it's hard to overcome that nagging fear that it will come back. Every little ache & pain is accompanied by a little voice that says "the cancer is back, the cancer is back!"

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 4:6

Furthermore, 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 1:7

So 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 the devil tries to whisper fears into your ear, just hold tightly to the Hand of God.

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Mike King September 25, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Erin, it’s really great that you’ve been able to deal with your struggles with fear through your faith in God, and that you’re still cancer free. Yes! I on the other hand, being an, shall we say, ‘indifferent agnostic’, have taken an alternate path. The incantation that leaps to mind when I encounter feelings of fear comes from another source, and goes like this: I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. (Thanks to Frank Herbert) That litany comes from a book I read when I was about 12 years old, and has stuck with me ever since. And when those feelings of fear encroach, I face my fear, and I hold tightly to the hand of my wife Kim. Incidentally, the 5 year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis is in 2 weeks. Hard to believe how that time flies, isn’t it? Keep up the excellent blog, and continued good health!
Erin Vidovich September 25, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Hi Mike! Thanks for your comment and encouragement! Also, congratulations on your upcoming 5 year anniversary (that's great!) and on conquering your fear! I am actually not cancer-free now, but am fighting on! My story continues -- stay tuned!
Arthur Christopher Schaper October 05, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Erin: I have noticed your posts about the cancer in your body -- I write "in your body" because in Christ we identify with Him -- and our new identity, our new life in Christ casts out all fear: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 10) The root of fear is condemnation -- and you need not feel condemned because Jesus has paid for all your sins. "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17) The love of God transforms us into children of God (1 John 3: 1), and thus His love is perfected in us because of what Jesus has done for us. The more that we renew our minds to this truth (Romans 12: 2), then we find all of our fears get thrust away: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4: 18) Once again, fear is based on punishment, a sense of wrongdoing, but in God's eyes, we are as righteous as His own Son (2 Corinthians 5: 21) The "trick" for us as believers is that our minds need to change into thinking along the line of Truth -- which is Jesus! (John 14: 6) I have written so much -- I encourage you to meditate on all that He has done -- and believe that He who gave His own Son can also release healing into your life! (Isaiah 53: 5)
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