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I was stunned. This was not the news I was expecting.
“You have atypical ductal hyperplasia or ADH,” the doctor said. He went on to explain that ADH is an abnormal growth of cells within the breast ducts, which is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
My ADH was first discovered during my annual mammogram in November of that year and confirmed by another mammogram in early December. I then had to have a needle biopsy in both breasts a week before Christmas.
After the biopsy, the surgeon called and explained the results to Phil and me. Based on the biopsy, he recommended scheduling a lumpectomy in early January.
My first thought was, Seriously? I’m blind, for heaven’s sake! Haven’t I already met my quota for suffering?
Well, that was my first thought, and it was quickly followed by an endless stream of the “what ifs.”
What if it’s cancer? What if they don’t get it all? What if I need radiation? What if this is only the beginning of something far worse?
While my mind was racing, evidently Phil’s Ph.D. mind was calculating my odds of recovery. “It will be okay,” he said with quiet confidence.
It didn’t feel okay to me, though—that’s for sure. And maybe the reason was that we really didn’t know it would be okay.
Life is uncertain. We all want to live out a story that makes sense. We want poems to rhyme, puzzles to be solved, and weather predictions to be accurate. We just want everything to be okay, and so we manufacture some form of certainty to banish the anxiety of uncertainty.
But the truth is, we really don’t know whether or not it will be okay. And, maybe that’s a reality you are struggling with today. You may be facing a scary medical diagnosis or another uncertain and unsettling situation—and you are asking, “Can I trust God when life is scary?”
Sister, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”
On this episode of the 4:13 Podcast, KC and I talk about how Proverbs 3:5-6 became a sort-of spiritual to-do list that I could just follow during my lumpectomy, so I didn’t have to continually try to think and process. So, if you’re hurting or you know someone who is, we give you three things from Proverbs that helped me.
3 Ways to Trust God When Life Is Scary
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart. When I lay on that hospital bed waiting for my procedure to begin, all I prayed was, “Lord, I trust You. With all I’ve got, I trust You.” Simple words, I know, but not always easy to pray—and mean.
But, when we’re hurting, what do we have to lose? I lay there with nothing but the potential of a very bad outcome. Trusting God at that moment was the least risky and wisest thing I could do. So, I did. With my whole heart, I trusted Him with the surgeon, the doctors, the outcome … the future.
Friend, to trust God with all of your heart means you hold nothing back. You don’t just trust Him with the good stuff, you trust Him with all your stuff. We often hold back part of our hearts out of fear and a desire to self-protect. But this is God we’re talking about. He is totally worthy of your trust because He is totally trustworthy.
So, if you’re hurting and you really don’t know what to do, trust Him with all you’ve got. When you do, you’ll find He really is all you need.
- Lean not on your own understanding. I didn’t understand the why and the timing of my cancer scare. I was diagnosed just as I finished filming my Missing Pieces video-based Bible study. The subtitle of that book is, Real Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense. Bingo! It made no sense to me, but it didn’t have to.
When we’re leaning on our own understanding, we’re relying on ourselves, our wisdom, our plan.
Think about it, what happens when you lean on something? You rest your weight into it and expect that it will steady you and hold you up. Girl, our understanding isn’t always strong enough to lean on. We don’t see the whole picture, so we can’t understand the whole plan.
It’s okay if you don’t understand. You don’t have to understand everything to trust God with everything. There is a great relief you experience when you release your need to understand and just trust God anyway.
So, if you’re hurting, don’t lean on your own understanding; lean on God instead.
- In all your ways acknowledge Him. After the call with the surgeon, Phil and I sat in silence for several minutes. My soul was churning and processing. When all the pieces hadn’t fallen into place as I wished they had, a tidal wave of fear washed over me.
But instead of being a wave of emotion that drowned me, it cleared my head and awakened me to the truth that God cared for me. And, as I begin to acknowledge Him in all my ways, it helped me to understand that no matter the outcome of my surgery, even if “it” wasn’t okay, I would be okay.
When you’re hurting, you may not know what to do, but there will still be lots of things you need to do. So, in whatever you do, in all your ways, acknowledge Him.
To acknowledge means to know and to recognize. When you trust God with all your heart, you are acknowledging—knowing and recognizing—Him as fully trustworthy.
When you lean on Him rather than your own understanding, you are acknowledging—knowing and recognizing—that His ways may not be your ways.
When you acknowledge Him, you are affirming what you know to be true about Him and you are then able to see that truth in your situation.
If you’re hurting, acknowledge Him, know and recognize that He is with you, caring for you, supporting you, and making sure that you will be okay.
Friend, the result of these three things is that “He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). You don’t have to know what to do. You can trust Him, lean more on His wisdom than your own, and acknowledge Him. You will be blown away as He does direct you and your path.
In my situation, the surgeon was able to get the scary cells and all the compromised tissue out and my margins were clear. Of course, that is the best outcome I could have hoped for. But my healing journey didn’t occur with the outcome, it happened all along the way—as He directed my path.
He put me on a path of trusting Him no matter what. He guided me down a path of dependence on Him rather than dependence on me. He cleared the way before me to acknowledge Him and know Him and see Him in my hurt. The best comfort and healing don’t come from a great outcome. It comes from a relationship with God along the way.
So, remember, no matter how scary life may feel and how hard it may seem to trust God, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books by Jennifer Rothschild
- Missing Pieces: Real Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense Bible Study
- God Is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
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