It's not easy to believe in the providence of God. The provisions of God. That of all the things of life, it is God who provides. Providence. Because if you believe in God's providence (God's providing) and in His sovereignty, you also understand that there isn't a single solitary thing that happens in your life that could possibly be happening outside of His control. In other words everything that happens is the outcome of the sovereign overruling of God. When I say it is not easy to believe, I mean that it is not easy to "live". It's easy to intellectually "assent". It's another thing to "live".
I want to say that my post is not meant to be a discussion of the providence of God. This is not a theological discussion. It's more of a commentary on how I am dealing with cancer.
I'm feeling really good right now. My last "real" chemo session was in July. By "real" I mean the infusion of a cocktail blend of carboplatin and paclitaxel or "carbo/taxel" for short. (I'm continuing to receive the clinical trial drug, Avastin, or a placebo every 3 weeks for another 16 sessions. But I don't call that "real" chemo.) In spite of the harshness of the "real" chemo and the resultant harsh side-effects, there was something vaguely comforting about each session. It's comforting to know that, in spite of having this insidious disease, somehow the chemo is doing major battle damage to the cancer cells growing in your body. With each session my body took a major hit and I was glad of it, for that meant the chemo was hitting the cancer cells as well. And hopefully, harder.
Anyway...I finished the actual chemo in early July. And living "post chemo" I find that I am apprehensive of every twinge, every bodily nuance. In my pre-cancer days a stomach ache would have been "something I ate" or hip pain would have been "arthritis or bursitis". Now my mind worries "cancer" every time I notice some odd thing happening to my body.
Here I am, a believer in Christ and one who believes in God's providence in all events of my life. In my earthly thinking, I worry. In my spiritual thinking I recognize that God is totally in control here. I will live exactly as long as He plans for me to live. And I will experience (good or bad) everything that He intends for me to experience. And it will all be for my good and for His glory.
So last night, I was lying in bed, thinking about this morning's scheduled CT scan. I began to fret. What if the scan shows a change in the lymph nodes or finds a small tumor beginning to grow somewhere in my body? What if? What if? What if?
You see, I've already had two good reports this week. The results of genetic testing brought the report that my ovarian cancer is not caused by defective genes. It is, as the geneticist explained, "environmental". That is good news because that means my daughter does not have the gene. And my nieces are not likely to have it either, unless they acquired it from another side of their family. Defective BRCA1 and BRCA2 indicate a heightened risk for ovarian AND breast cancer. But...the result came back negative. This was a huge relief to hear that.
And I've just finished routine blood tests. My CA-125 came in at the same level as before. Again, this was good news.
So last night I was lying in bed. And thinking. About today's CT scan. And worrying. And I finally had to recognize that if God's plan for me is that I will live long life, then I will live long life. And if His plan is that I endure a recurrence (and all that it entails) then I will endure. As a Christian I see God as the supreme ruler of the universe, the one to whom we all owe love, devotion, and obedience. And just as a soldier on the battlefield follows his commander with complete obedience (to the point of death), then I, too, will follow my Lord with that same obedience, even to the point of death.
This morning I drank my pre-scan drink and went over to the hospital for the scan. I am amazed at our small-town service for the doc has always been able to give me his readings before I ever leave the premises. And today's reading was "no change" from the previous scan, no detectable cancer. And that is good news. And it is God's providence. And I am grateful.