"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16
We often refer to the significant decisions in our lives as "life and death" decisions. The stakes are high and the right decision is crucial. So, we do our part using all of the resources God has given us, researching our options and carefully weighing the risks and benefits, bathing everything in prayer. But sometimes, despite this process, the "right" decision remains unclear, and we find ourselves in a swirl of ambiguity.
As I navigated the real life-and-death decisions associated with cancer - what kind of surgeries should I have? Which doctors? How much chemo? - the quest for the right decision became a quest for the "perfect" decision. So, I pushed harder, to be even wiser, more judicious, more diligent; as if heightening my efforts in response to the seriousness of the issue would make it all clear. But my increased effort only increased the weight of the pressure.
I learned that the decisions I faced during cancer were just like the other important decisions I had confronted throughout my life. No matter how diligent or wise or judicious I might be, there was always a chance that I would miss something or that some of the pieces would be missing. The best I could do was simply my best. I could spend hours, months and years second-guessing my decisions; but there was no second-guessing my relationship with God. I was confident in Him and my relationship with Him.
In the bible, we read about David who was a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He achieved success as a king because he inquired of the Lord (e.g., 2 Samuel 2:1). We are to be like David and inquire of the Lord for all of our decisions. If we feel drawn to a particular oncologist, then let us be confident to rest in her advice being faithful to petition God for her wisdom. If we experience God's peace as we ponder one choice over the other, then let us rest in Jehovah Shalom. If the Lord speaks to us through the scripture, then let us believe and obey.
It is overwhelming to navigate the decisions of cancer, particularly if we try to do it without God. So, ask Him for wisdom and direction. Then, be open to the answers He is giving you (John 8:47; John 10:4, 27) and walk in faith without looking back or second-guessing. He was there for me at every decision point, waiting for me to seek Him, waiting with an answer. I want that and believe that for you, too.
(photo courtesy of Daughter of the Woods)
Joellen Putnam is the founder of ACTIVATE THE CURE, a prayer ministry for those who are impacted by cancer. She is also a cancer survivor who lives in Connecticut with her husband as well as her daughter and son (when they are home from college).