Fear is real, but God is a lion

There are definitely some days I really struggle with words. I have all of these thoughts in my head and right now, I’m just struggling to figure out which ones to say and which ones not to.

This brain tumor of mine (affectionally named “The Nugget”) has become a real reconciling part of my life. I love to read facts, documentation, studies, blogs, etc., as long as it is not fiction. Having a brain tumor has opened up a whole new world of content for me to read. I bet you would not believe the number of people who have brain surgery around the world every day. Apparently this is an every day thing. I’ve learned all about what the lobes do, what they don’t do, what the right side and left side do, what diets affect us, what stress does, what a MRI really does (and does not) do, and so much more.

I think that’s the hard part. For me, brain surgery is scary. There is real fear in this. All of my joking aside, there’s a real part of me that is actually terrified. I know God has this, yes. I know God has a plan, yes. However, that doesn’t stop my human emotions from standing on the sideline yelling, “Hey! We’re over here!”

I looked through my bible and “fear” is mentioned 274 times. “Do not be afraid” is mentioned 70 times. “Do not fear” is mentioned 17 times. It seems like this is a point God is trying to drive home. Sure, there’s lots of different reasons God uses this phrase. Different reasons, too; Jesus’ birth, Gabriel appearing to Daniel, angels appearing to various people. I believe that what God is saying is that His power is bigger than us and while it can seem overwhelming, we aren’t to be scared. We are to fully lean into Him and trust Him.

You know what I would fear? I would be fearful of fighting this battle if I wasn’t a Christian. I would be fearful of fighting this battle if I was a “Christian” in words only and not really believing all of this. If these were just words to make me comfortable, I would be fearful. But, they aren’t.

I’ve always told people that God uses tragedy or trials for two reasons:

  • To bring you closer to Him
  • To bring others to Him through you

That’s a hard pill to swallow because sometimes I wonder why He chose me. Listen, there are days I don’t want this. There are days, especially as surgery gets closer, that I get more fearful and I wonder why God chose me. I am grateful He trusts me with it, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with it. I’m actually anything but.

But, I still wake up each day and genuinely feel thankful that I woke up. I can’t say I was like that before October. Taking me through intentional days of thanks shifted something and I know that’s why God had me there in that specific season. No questions asked. I can see it looking back. But those days were hard. There were days I scrolled through my camera roll and asked myself, “What am I thankful for today? Haven’t I said enough already? Surely I’ve covered the big stuff.” But, God kept pushing me. And they weren’t short days of thanks. When I sat down and really thought about what I was thankful for, it was meaningful and deep. It felt intentional and it felt purposeful. It felt genuinely thankful. And I know it was intended to set me up for where I am today.

I don’t know where this tumor is going to lead me. I know the chances of a glioma being benign are super rare. But, I also know that my God is still in the miracle business and He has a story to tell. I also know even if it is benign, it’s very likely to return. Science proves that. But science doesn’t consider God. Science tries to put God in a box and define the edges and doesn’t account for His grace, His mercy, and His story.

But God, my friends.

There have been so many times God has stepped in. Even my own testimony is a miracle itself. The birth of my son and daughter, my marriage, where they attend school, even my job and the boss I have. It’s all proof that God lines the path. That He alone puts people exactly where they are needed and when they are needed. And nothing more (or less) will be done.

I love the book of Daniel.

“Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”

Daniel 3:26-27 are probably my most favorite because not only does it talk about them coming out of the fire, but it takes it step it a further...”and there was no smell of fire on them.”

To be thrown into a furnace is one thing. To be not burned is a second miracle. But the 3rd miracle? Not even the smell of fire. You’re locked in an extremely hot furnace. Okay, not being burned is a pretty cool party trick for God. But not even the smell of fire – when you are completely surrounded? Y’all. It’s like God is reminding me that He alone can do amazing things with a brain tumor. Sure, they’ll take out parts of my brain. They’ll take out the tumor. But only God can make it like it was never there. And my God is still in the miracle business.

Some days, I think He’s really frustrated with our world. We’re a bunch of crazies down here. People hurting each other, hating our neighbors, gossiping, talking ugly, and it just feels like we’ve lost our way. But then, God does cool things. He takes someone like me, broken and not even the best person around, someone who still struggles with my own faith some days and He tells me one day, “Spend the next 65 days being thankful. And nothing else.” Then, He reveals a brain tumor. Then I hear Him nudging me in various different things day after day and I’m just encouraged to follow and obey.

God is real. He’s as real as the computer I type on. He’s as real as rain and storms, as real as the cars we drive and touch. You may not be able to see Him, but you can’t see oxygen either. But you have faith that it’s there. You trust that when you walk outside, you will be able to breathe.

Faith works like that friend. It’s believing in something and knowing it’s there, even though you can’t see it. The cool thing about God though is that the closer you get, the louder He is. His voice becomes more clear and you know when it’s Him talking.

I’m thankful He loves me. I’m scared, but I’m leaning into Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

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