Within two weeks of the retreat I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, with the immediate commencement of treatment and exploratory scans. Side effects from the drugs began to kick in, leaving me drained of strength, dizzy and experiencing vertigo. On top of this I picked up an infection from the biopsy examination, which took six weeks of anti-biotic drugs to overcome.
Things were happening at such pace, that for a time I was in shock and vulnerable to all sorts of anxious thoughts. Like burning arrows they came flying my way, such as: “I’m growing old before my time.” and “You are finished - there’s no hope.” or “You’ll end your days in hospital.” and so on! I just rested in my ‘shelter’ the best way I could, wrapped in the folds of Father’s robe, so that these taunts, lies etc just bounced off. I had His Word that He would fight the battle and take me through. I was expectant, of miracles even. On some evenings, if fatigue kicked in, I just sat surrendering to Father, even though I felt and sensed nothing, but refusing to doubt.
The worst part was the waiting between the many appointments. I found some of the doctors definitely lacking in communication skills and I was left in personal doubt about the additional treatment scheduled for the new year. All I could do was leave it to God until, at the last consultation I saw another specialist who reversed the decision. I received this as God’s answer, leaving Him the freedom to act in His way and in His time.
The worst of the storm is now over. There is still a battle, but that has moved on to another phase. So far as the cancer is concerned, I believe God has my healing on course. But fundamentally I don’t really think it’s about that. Yes, the enemy was in this, but God allowed it and is using it. He wanted me to have a closer walk with him - He knew my heart - and that meant strengthening me in my weak areas, such as anxiety. The journey continues. I don’t know how things are going to plan out. I have never ever been so unsure about such things, but I am even more sure that He knows, so I put my trust in Him.
There were certain scriptures that I kept returning to such as Psalms 91 and 17 and John 15 speaking of all the benefits of abiding.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High - will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." - You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. - “Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91 New International Version