“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5
It could be relatively easy to allow my lung cancer to imprison me. To let it put me in a box, sort of like the one in that famous mime sketch, where there appears to be no way out.
Learning of the existence of the disease within my body definitely created one of those forks in the road of life where a decision had to be made. A decision bearing major consequences, not one of the daily inconsequential ones we make like, “Which shoes shall I wear?”
The choice here was, “Do I give up to the cancer, or do I give the cancer up to God?”
Do I get in the box, or not?
I have learned that simply having cancer defines a life to a certain degree. It most definitely impacts that life, and the lives of those who are close to the afflicted individual, in a major way. It can even be said that it does confine one in many ways, since there is the treatment that will surely restrict movement and will likely even dictate a lot of what can, and can’t, be done in the weeks and months to come.
But it doesn’t have to become a prison.
I would suspect there are many who might be prone to thinking that cancer has imprisoned them, and looking at it as one whose life has undergone dramatic changes, I can understand the mindset that allows that to happen.
I can understand it.
But I cannot accept it.
What I can accept is that the direction of my steps has changed several times in the last eleven years, and each time that direction changed, it was definitely a radical change. Being like most people, change – particularly radical change with an uncertain or unclear outcome – made me nervous.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
So, with the onset of my lung cancer and its initial treatment, the direction of my steps has changed again. Quite drastically, it’s true. Fortunately, because of the changes in the past eleven years guided by a new relationship with the Lord, I am better able to view this nature of the change in a clearer, more positive light.
When it comes to prison, I am – fortunately, or unfortunately (there is an argument for both) – somewhat of a subject matter expert. I also am well-versed on the subject of freedom in prison, so if freedom exists, then the bars do not.
The translation of all of this quite simple, really.
While this cancer has, in fact, created limitations on my life – much like the physical bars and fences around Oakdale FCI, where I was imprisoned – the cancer is totally unable to contain my spirit, because I know the Lord.
And when you know the Lord, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
So while I am pretty certain I will not enjoy the cancer I have, I know I will enjoy the freedom I will experience in it.