When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer your world turns upside down. It begins the moment you hear the dreaded words. Instantly fear grips your heart: paralyzing you, consuming you, overpowering you and overshadowing everything else.
Your world is changed and nothing makes sense.
How did this happen?
Why did it happen?
Is this real?
Maybe they are wrong?
Did I cause this?
What am I going to do?
On and on the questions and doubts flow, fear motivating each and every thought until you think you are going crazy!
And you are going crazy, for that moment in time, you are crazy…crazy with fear.
The question isn’t IF you are going to fear but HOW you are going to deal with that fear.
Everyone deals with fear differently.
A combination of these...
Let’s take a look at how Jesus handled fear.
He knew His time was drawing near, He knew the pain He was about to face and He was scared!
So scared He asked His Father if maybe there was another way to save the human race, even knowing there wasn’t. He asked anyway, He was scared and He wanted to make sure all options had been explored.
The Gospels tell us of the night He spent in prayer, Luke even describes the physical agony He endured, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44 NIV
Jesus feared what was before Him. He wouldn’t have been human if He didn’t.
He understands fear.
Fear is not a sin. Thinking fear is sin is a trick of Satan, a trick meant to consume us with guilt or drive us to avoid what is causing the fear.
What you do with fear, that is what can lead to sin. But fear in and of itself is not sin -Jesus lived a life without sin and he experienced fear.
So how did Jesus overcome His fear?
The Book of Hebrews tells us not only how Jesus overcame His fear, but how we can too.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV
Fixing our eyes on Jesus. He is the author of our race, He is the finish line.
But you don’t want to die yet.
I get that. I don’t want you to die, not until your time and that is the whole point. Jesus knows when your time is. He knows the race you have to run, how much further you have to go and the hurdles you have to overcome.
He WILL NOT take you until your race is FINISHED!
And only He knows when that is. No one, no doctor or psychic can tell you when your time in this world is finished.
So if He knows when the end should come, and there is no way for you to know this information, why worry about it?
Your ending is full of JOY- if you know Christ as your Lord and Savior.
So endure this trial, for great is your reward in Heaven!
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3 ESV
Hard times are going to be part of your race.
How you face these challenges, that is up to you.
So how are you going to handle, when and if, your world ever turns upside down?
Are you going to realize your fear and take it to God the way Jesus did? Are you going to walk through the storm, trusting that in the end, there will be joy?
Or are you going to look at the waves, like Peter and sink?
When Peter asked Jesus to call Him out of the boat to walk on water, he was already aware there was a storm going on! That wasn’t something new that occurred while he was meeting Jesus in the middle of the sea.
A storm, with large waves, was already in progress and Peter ASKED to step out of the boat. Knowing that, why did he suddenly have doubts and fears? Why did the waves suddenly cause panic?
Because he took his eyes off Jesus.
When we focus our gazes on the waves crashing down, instead of on the finisher of our race, we will sink! No if ands or buts’ about it.
So keep your eyes focused on your goal- keep your eyes Heaven ward.
You may not be ready to go there yet (or to have someone you love go there) but God may not want you there yet either.
Ultimately it is His decision when you leave this world.
So enjoy the time here, no matter the storms that come.
And remember, if you are breathing, God has a purpose for your life; He’s not finished with you!
Ride through the storms; don’t let them paralyze you in a sea of fear and doubt.