The news reports statistics that demonstrate an increase in cancer and heart disease. Desperate to prevent and cure these, we spend ample resources protecting ourselves and our loved ones. We take supplements, exercise, buy organic, and spend fraught filled hours researching the safest household products. Could my water bottle be killing me? Yet even with all this, careful prevention people die of heart disease. People still get cancer. Each year over 600,000 people die of each, which amounts to more than 1.2 million deaths per year in the United States alone.
I share these statistics because I want you to know that I understand the devastating effects of diseases. I have friends who are fighting and suffering through these and know many who have lost their battles. What I would like to offer today is some perspective and a dose of hope into the devastation and brokenness of modern diseases.
One of my favorite genres to read is medical mysteries and histories. My three favorite examples of these are Quakery: A Brief History of the Worst Way to Cure Everything, The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul, and Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. My family is often horrified by these books, but I just can't get enough. Anyone who reminisces for times gone by and wishes they could live in the olden days should be slapped and forced to read any one of these. I say that jokingly, but our minds are skewed by watching historical dramas on film and wondering at the beauty and ornateness of palaces and castles. Sickness reigned supreme and in our days of nervousness over how many and which types of supplements should we be taking, we forget just how bad life was. Let me explain.
I look forward to a future free from death and misery, but we aren't there yet. Because of sin, we will all die of something. The hope I offer is that by God's grace in preserving my life and your life through medical science and investigation He has given me more time than those who lived before. We are now living longer and enjoying greater health than that of any other time in history. Give thanks for the health (no matter how little) you have and praise God for his gift of salvation!
Everything happens for a reason, as fate would have it, it just so happens -- All ways of saying that circumstances seemed to be aligning themselves in a particular way. We've all experienced something like this. Some people look at these circumstances as chaos. Some see a nebulous "universe" at work. Some see God. I am solidly in group number three.
A dear friend of mine loves to share how God is working in her life. Sometimes people can get uncomfortable if you tell them, "Let me share how God worked in my life." They may think you are going to get preachy or weird, but my dear friend, would just say in the most excited manner, "Hey! You have to hear what happened yesterday. It was a total God thing!" Then she would share a store about how God had worked in her life circumstances and she had seen his love and sovereignty.
So if I could, let me draw you into one of those conversations. Grab yourself a cup of something, I'll take coffee, and settle in. Let me tell you a "God thing."
From late September to mid-March I subbed at Smith Middle School. I covered a maternity leave for a fabulous teacher of digital apps, life skills, and health. The day she came back I shadowed her as she resettled into her classes. It was close to the end of the quarter so she chose to teach a quick stand alone lesson on sun safety. At one point during the lesson she mentioned the importance of dermatologist check ups and watching for changes in your skin. This got me thinking and I realized that it had been awhile since I had gone for a full body scan.
So I made a dermatologist appointment. The first visit was just about meeting the doctor and asking about specific areas of concern, of which I had none. I scheduled another appointment. This one was later in the day and the office was running late. Very late. I didn't see the doctor until approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes after my scheduled appointment. I was upset. I wanted to leave. I should have left. I didn't.
The PA I saw noticed something suspicious on my back so she said she wanted to take a biopsy. It was a small mole on my mid-right back that I couldn't even see. I was hangry (so hungry I was angry) and freaked out. I didn't want to let her do the biopsy. I did.
She took the sample and said that I probably wouldn't hear from them. No news was good news. A week later when checking my phone after school I saw a had a voicemail from the dermatologist. I thought, "No news is good news," and my stomach took a elevator to my throat.
When I called, the nurse said the biopsy had tested positive for melanoma. Melanoma. The word temporarily stopped my heart. This was a Tuesday. She said I needed to come Thursday at 2:15 or 3:00. There were no later dates. Immediate removal of a larger area of skin was necessary to remove the cancer and test for indications of any spreading. I was numb. I managed to tell Jason who immediately said he would be drive me and be there for anything. The next day and a half I just went through the motions of life until I went in for my appointment.
The doctor was wonderful. He explained exactly what he was going to do and talked me through the whole procedure. About a week later the office called saying the pathology results came back clear and I was healthy. Now I have several follow up visits and a cache of high SPF broad spectrum sun screen.
Sigh, smile, sip. Do you see it? Do you see God working? When did He start? The doctor removing all the melanoma? The PA catching the suspicious tissue? Me staying at the appointment way past what my rational self thought necessary? The thought occurring to me that I should make an appointment for a skin check? The teacher deciding to teach a lesson on sun safety? The principal inviting me to sub for that teacher? The circumstances that lead me to subbing? I could keep going back and back until the point when I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. All of it has been a God thing. He orchestrated the situation and for the time being I am healthy and cancer free.
Now, what if I wasn't healthy or cancer free? Would God still be in control? Would he still be good. Yes and yes. He would still be good and I would still be able to look for the little and big ways He is working in my life. I thank God that I am a hot mess because it makes it so much easier to relinquish control of my life and trust His sovereignty.
So that's my story. I've been talking for a long time. I'm going to get myself a cup of tea this time and now I want to hear about a God thing you've seen in your life.
Below is a link to the American Academy of Dermatology's "Find a Dermatologist" page. When I heard the lesson on sun safety I didn't have a doctor so I searched and found Oakland Hills Dermatology in Auburn Hills through Google. I would highly recommend yearly skin checks.
"A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."