“Considering what your body has been through the past year,” the radiology technician remarked, “you seem to be handling this well.”
I can understand her statement. In less than a year, I had made four visits to this specialist facility in Johannesburg. On this day, I was to undergo another biopsy to analyze some indeterminate tissue found during my mammogram and scan procedures last week. My last mammogram and then subsequent cancer surgery and radiation treatments had all happened less than ten months ago.
In my perfect world, where everything is supposed to work the way I would like it to, I shouldn’t have even been back. All cancer and its signs and markers were supposed to be eliminated and I could just check in for my follow-ups and be given the ‘green light’ to get back into life. However, since I am not in charge of the world and don’t have any kind of influence on creating a ‘perfect world,’ here I was; laying face down on the table about to experience my second major biopsy in less than a year.
I’ll just say this about the experience yesterday. It’s not much fun.
After the biopsy, though, the technician said, “You are doing well. I know this was not what you wanted, but you were calm and accepting of all of this. It makes a huge difference in your recovery. Those women that accept their breast cancer experience come through so much stronger. If we catch the cancer early enough, there is a 95% survivor’s rate. Breast cancer is not a death sentence.”
I thanked her for her kind words.
As I read these words from the book of Numbers, the technician’s compliment echoed in my mind.
God spoke these difficult words to Moses, “…Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:12 NIV
Moses had failed to trust his God. And what made this action even worse was that he had shown this mistrust of His God in the presence of the Israelite nation. Just for a little background, Moses had struck a rock to bring forth water for the ungrateful Israelite nation out of anger. Then, Moses rashly took credit for the wondrous act when it was really the LORD who had caused the miraculous water to flow. As a result of his position with God and his leadership of the Israelite nation, Moses was doubly accountable for his actions. Moses had disobeyed a direct command of the LORD, failed to trust his God and done this in the sight of everyone.
So, as I thought about yesterday and how I responded to having another biopsy and considering the possibility of having to deal with cancer again, it dawned on me that I am just as accountable as Moses for demonstrating my trust in God regardless of my circumstances. For just like Moses and the Israelites, I find myself in a similar place just ten months on from my first diagnosis. Moses and the people circled the desert in search of the PromiseLand and found themselves in a desolate place; hungry, thirsty and in great need.
Here I am; hungry, thirsty and in great need for a good biopsy outcome once again as well. What will my trust response be to my God? In the presence of others?
What if cancer is back?
What if it isn’t?
Will the biopsy results affect my trust in my God?
If my behavior was any indication yesterday, my hope and my prayer is that it does not.
Here is what I know: regardless of the outcome, my God already knows what is in that tissue that was extracted from my body. He is already preparing things in the future and preparing me for whatever is ahead. I’d like to continue on without having to return to a surgeon’s table or for more cancer treatments. That would be my desire for my ‘perfect’ little world. That would be a relief. However, God is in my future. And that is enough for me.
I want to be known for my trust in my God no matter what happens and no matter who is or who is not watching and observing me. In the meantime, I will wait for the biopsy results and wait for the answer of my God.