Be Not Afraid

31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 3 Keeping a Faithful Heart in Light of Suffering

“Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

This was the reading at mass yesterday, and after hearing it, I knew what I needed to do. Today, as soon as 8 a.m. hit and I knew doctor’s offices would be opened, I called and scheduled my next PET scan. This scan will tell whether my oncologist was right in thinking that the remaining active cancer in the tumor in my chest would die out over the past two months since I finished chemo, or whether there is still active cancerous activity (in which case I will most likely begin another form of treatment). Last week, I received several calls from the PET scan center, requesting that I schedule an appointment. The first time I saw “PET/CT Center” on my missed calls list, my heart sank. My face got hot, and I had to swallow slowly and hard the lump that formed in my throat.

Although I know it is in my best interest to have a scan as soon as possible, so that if I need more treatment I can begin as soon as possible, I put off calling to schedule an appointment for days. Though I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the spiritual and emotional suffering and consequential growth I’ve experienced through the past few months, I’ve tried hard to block out most memories of the physical pain and discomfort. It’s both unbelievable and a blessing how memories of physical suffering can so quickly dissipate in our minds. And yet, as soon as I started getting calls from the PET/CT center the memories of multiple tries to find a viable vein in my arm, mouth sores, bone pain from shots that increased my white blood cell count, and the sharp, shocking pain from my chest tumor itself came flooding back into my mind. Although I know that I’ve grown stronger through the past few months of surgeries, chemotherapy, and hospital stays, I still fear physical pain and suffering.

Perhaps because I’ve endured many emotional lows throughout my life, just as we all have, from heartbreak in high school and loneliness after moving to yet another new city, it comes naturally to unite my self to Christ in emotional suffering. After all, scripture reminds us of this:

“…Jesus wept.”
John 11:35

Knowing that Jesus knows my heart and is with me in every tear I cry has always helped me face emotional suffering with hopefulness, no matter how small that hope may be. But I admit that I struggle to face physical suffering with the same hopefulness. I fear pain and discomfort, and the thought of enduring more treatment or tests or surgeries scares me and reminds me of how weak I truly am.

But thankfully, even despite my weakness and fears, I’m realizing more and more that in physical suffering we are perhaps even more united with Christ than at any other time. For Jesus so longed to unite us with the Father that He endured physical pain that most of us, thankfully, can’t even begin to comprehend.

And so today, I made my appointment for a PET scan with hope in my heart, knowing that no matter what the future brings for my body, whether it be pain and weakness or health and strength, Jesus will be ever-present.  I am willing to accept whatever God has planned for me, for I know that God is present in all things, and all I need to do to overcome any suffering I face is to keep my heart faithful to Him.

Here are the lyrics to a song I’m currently working on:

Faithful Heart

Like a child, on unsure legs,
I stumble and fall.
Searching and sifting,
through the dust and debris,
longing for a glimpse of your face.

And there’s a burning within,
stirring my soul,
and I am yearning,
to transcend the tears,
the sadness and fears of this place.

Won’t you teach me to live,
and serve in this world,
ever keeping my eyes fixed on you?

Make my heart bleed red like yours,
Make my eyes shed tears like yours,
Make my hands bear scars like yours,
but keep my heart ever faithful to you.
Keep my heart ever faithful to you.

Let all suffering I feel,
bring me closer to you…
every tear that I cry,
and every moment I sigh,
bring me ever closer to your light.

And I will carry this cross,
for as long as you ask me to.
For to kiss the scars,
on your hands and your feet,
this is my great delight.

Won’t you teach me to live,
and serve in this world,
ever keeping my eyes fixed on you?

Make my heart bleed red like yours,
Make my eyes shed tears like yours,
Make my hands bear scars like yours,
but keep my heart ever faithful to you.

Take my life completely,
to You I give all.
I give my life freely,
for You are my all.

Make my heart bleed red like yours,
Make my eyes shed tears like yours,
Make my hands bear scars like yours,
but keep my heart ever faithful to you.
Keep my heart ever faithful to you.

Oh God, keep me faithful to you.

My prayer for you and myself today is that we face the suffering in our lives, whether it be of the mind, heart, or body, with hope in our hearts, even if it’s only a sliver. Let us know that Jesus is with us in all of the ways we suffer, and that it is in our suffering that we are able to come closest to Him. May we delight in the opportunity to come so close as to kiss the scars on His hands and feet, and look forward to the day when we will be united with him and suffering will be no more.

Thank you for joining me on my 31 day challenge!

Previous days:

Day 1: Be Not Afraid
Day 2: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

And click here to read all the other wonderful blogs joining in on this challenge!

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26 comments

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 4 Facing Fears with Laughter | Be Not Afraid

  2. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 5 Listening to Your Heart | Be Not Afraid

  3. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 6 Daring to Love Myself in Order to Love Others | Be Not Afraid

  4. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 7 Opening Up My Idea of a Remarkable Life | Be Not Afraid

  5. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 8 Giving Voice to My Fears | Be Not Afraid

  6. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 9 Being a Bearer of Joy | Be Not Afraid

  7. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 10 & 11 Give Everything (Plus Prayer Request) | Be Not Afraid

  8. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 12 Switching My Focus | Be Not Afraid

  9. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 13 Reaching Out | Be Not Afraid

  10. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 14 & 15 Letting Go | Be Not Afraid

  11. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 16 Giving Voice to My Dreams | Be Not Afraid

  12. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 17 Putting Fear into Action | Be Not Afraid

  13. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 18 Clear Eyes, Full Heart | Be Not Afraid

  14. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 19 Strength, Wisdom, Courage, and Clarity | Be Not Afraid

  15. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 20-22 Facing the End of Things | Be Not Afraid

  16. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 23 Showing Delight in Others | Be Not Afraid

  17. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 24 Embracing the Dawn | Be Not Afraid

  18. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 25 Saying No and Letting Go of the Guilt | Be Not Afraid

  19. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 26 Find Love, then Give it All Away | Be Not Afraid

  20. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 27 Doing what I Have to Do | Be Not Afraid

  21. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 28 Snow in October | Be Not Afraid

  22. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 29 People Should Know | Be Not Afraid

  23. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 30 Finding Myself Surrounded in Beauty | Be Not Afraid

  24. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 31 Keeping Faith and Hope Alive | Be Not Afraid

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