What's Faith Got to Do with It?
Last updated: July 2019
I know, I know. It's a taboo subject these days. But, let's face it, faith plays a huge role in the way many patients and their loved ones deal with lung cancer. Faith has traditionally offered comfort to those who face grave circumstances. It often alleviates fear, and it can bring a feeling of peace in the midst of great turmoil.
Because I am a Christian, this is the tradition I know first-hand and will address in this column. I invite anyone who comes from another perspective to share his or her experience in the comments section. We all have much to gain from understanding one another's experiences.
My faith preparing me
Long before I was ever diagnosed with lung cancer, or any cancer for that matter, I sometimes found myself lying in bed at night contemplating how I would respond if I were diagnosed with cancer. This happened repeatedly over a period of years. Why? At the time, I didn't really know, but looking back, I now firmly believe God was preparing me for what was to come.
I was just 37 years old when I was diagnosed with concurrent primary cancers of the uterus and ovaries. While I was surprised, perhaps even shocked at the diagnosis, I was not fearful about its potential outcome. I had, in effect, practiced for just this situation in those quiet nights of contemplation. I felt the peace that comes from knowing I have a loving God who will see me through whatever trials I must face. And when it is my turn to be called home, He will welcome me with open arms. This is my belief, my understanding, and it takes away all mortal fear.
Looking forward with hope
So, when I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 16 years later, my reaction was much the same. I can't say I expected the news my doctor provided, but when it was delivered, I felt a sense of "Okay, let's get on with things. God's got my back. Here we go again." In fact, as the early weeks and months wore on, I actually found comfort in thinking about the very real possibility of my life coming to an end and what that would mean in a spiritual sense.
Don't misunderstand, I am not suggesting dying of lung cancer is a good thing...I'm not by any means. What I am saying is that I literally dreamed of walking into Jesus' outstretched arms welcoming me into His eternal kingdom. That will be more joyful than I can even comprehend.
I knew then, as I know now, that only God knows the timeline of my life, and I will work to gain and maintain the best health I can along the way. When my last breath is drawn, however, I will look forward with a smile of comfort and peace. This helps me every single second of every day of my cancer trek. And I hope many, many others are comforted in a similar way as they walk this road we share together.
He's Always There
Here is a song I wrote that expresses how my Christian faith sustains me throughout this journey.
He’s Always There
I know my Lord. He set me free,
When life’s wounds would soon have conquered me.
The words were clear. “You’re sick, it’s true.”
But Jesus said, “I’ll make you new.”
With a tear in my eye, and in His voice,
Christ Jesus said, “I am the choice.
Lay your trust at my feet. Then turn away.
Your work’s not done, nor is your play.”
“Go out to the world, and to those you know.
Plant the seeds of my love, and help them grow,
For even in trial, hurt and despair,
You need not ask, I’m always there.”
I thank you Jesus, great physician.
You spared me for my one true mission.
Use me for your greater glory.
Count me in your wondrous story.
Editor's Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on June 8, 2019, Karen Loss passed away. Karen was a valued member of the lung cancer community and an incredible advocate and avid writer. She will be deeply missed.
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