Never So Scared
Six courage-inspiring thoughts for those facing the fear of cancer.
By Chris Lawrence
When I first heard the news that I had stage IV cancer, I was so scared. In fact, I don’t ever remember feeling that much fear before.
If you know me, many people would say I am not a person who gets scared easily. I like to climb sheer rock faces, ski down steep slopes and raft down churning whitewater rivers—for fun.
But there was something so different about getting a cancer diagnosis. To hear the words, “you have stage IV cancer,” and “incurable cancer,” were some of the worst words I have ever heard, especially because I was a husband and new father. You can read more of my story here.
Up until that point, death, especially my own, seemed far from my thoughts.
And I think, in a lot of ways, most of us spend our lives running away from the reality that we are mortal, that at some point we will die and cease to exist on this earth. Life is far more fragile than we would ever like to admit, whether we have cancer or not.
Which is why it can be so painful and scary to hear we have cancer or some other life-limiting disease. Suddenly the abstract becomes concrete and the far off seems much closer.
A videographer captured this video of me when I was about halfway through my chemo treatments. I look pale, weathered, and you can see my struggle to fight fear visibly on my face.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar place like I did: so scared and struggling to deal with fear and the possibility of your life cut short.
Here are six encouraging thoughts to consider:
1. It’s ok to feel afraid.
If you have just heard some alarming news, and it has completely upended your life, know that it is a very natural occurrence and a human response to be afraid and to feel disoriented. Like one of my cancer survivor friends, Doug, often says, “The first hearing of a diagnosis is like somebody just took a bomb, dropped it down your chimney and it went off.” What an apt description for what it feels like to adjust to the news that you have cancer! Know you are not alone in these thoughts and feelings.
2. You can find your footing.
As difficult as it may seem when you are first diagnosed, you will likely not stay in this place of shock and emergency. You will find your footing and settle in for what is ahead. It doesn’t mean you won’t continue to face challenges, but it won’t be like the immediate shrapnel and fallout of first hearing a diagnosis. You will find a way to start walking up the mountain, one step at a time, even if it’s not a journey you would ever would have chosen.
3. Hope will help you fight fear.
At Hope Has Arrived, we believe that hope is not just a mere whim or wish, but a confident expectation of coming good. If you have hope, then you can make it through the uncertainty and unpleasantness of the present. Our entire site is dedicated to helping you find hope, strength and peace in the midst of cancer. Check out our finding hope and strength & peace section to discover more articles to help you on your journey.
4. There are powerful reasons to always keep alive.
You can find real and lasting hope, even while facing daunting circumstances like cancer or other challenges. Seriously. Some reasons include that you don’t know the future, miracles happen and that people sometimes defy their diagnosis. For more of what I mean, read this article, Seven Powerful Reasons to Always Keep Hope Alive.
5. You don’t have to face your fear alone.
Maybe you have some close friends or family to support you in this journey. If not, you would be surprised the community and support you find might find with others who are facing something similar. If you feel alone, dig into your local support network, or you can also check out the Hope Has Arrived Prayer and Support Group.
6. Spiritual hope waits to be found.
Consider the reality of spiritual hope. So often, we put our hope in a variety of places, yet many of them fail us. What if a hope exists that is certain and undefeatable, a kind you can find not just in the next thing, but in a person? Not just something to hope in, but someone.
The Bible calls Jesus, God’s Son, the Living Hope. “In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).” God gives you hope because he loves you and has a plan for your life. The hope he provides is not something dead, but living, hence his name.
How to discover spiritual hope.
You can find spiritual hope through a relationship with God. Through this life-giving relationship, you can experience a hope, strength and peace you didn’t know existed. Through this relationship, you can find strength to face even the worst situations, no matter how scared you may feel.
To learn more about starting a relationship with God, read Knowing God Personally.
While you might have legitimate reasons to feel afraid, know there are compelling reasons for experiencing hope in the midst of your fear. Wherever you are on your journey, even if you feel so scared, know that even amidst the fear, there is always hope!
For more help with fear, read Fighting the Fear of Cancer.
To discover more hope on your journey, read The Pathway to Hope.
For more encouragement, read these Seven Powerful Reasons for Keeping Your Hope Alive.
Note: We are not doctors and we cannot answer your medical questions. However, we welcome your questions about finding hope and knowing God.