Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cancer, Change, and Other Things that Scare Me

I don’t think I ever liked to be scared. When I was about eleven or twelve years old I went with my parents to one of their friend’s house for dinner and desert. The adults stayed upstairs playing cards while us kids went downstairs to watch TV. A movie was on – Godzilla I think. Not a particularly scary movie – more fun than scary. But it was on “Creature Feature” on the local TV station. At every commercial break I would hide my eyes as the movie was about to come on because the title screen for “Creature Feature” was Lon Chaney as the original Phantom of the Opera. Godzilla didn’t scare but the Phantom sure did. I hated it. I don’t think I ever liked scary movies.

Now that I’m older, there are other things that scare me more than images from classic horror movies.

Today I spent two hours with a good friend who is in the hospital recovering from surgery. He found out this past week that he has colon cancer. The word - “cancer” – has a very scary ring to it. I’m scared that my friend may die. Of course, I know he’s going to die sometime – we all will. Unless Jesus comes back during our lifetimes, no one gets out of this life alive. But just because something is inevitable doesn’t mean it isn’t scary.

Thankfully, we think that the doctors caught the cancer early enough and it is very treatable. But still…. Scary.

Only thing that scares me is change. The night before I got married I knew life was going to change forever for me. And I was a little scared (but also very much looking forward to it – love will do that to a guy). When I found out I was going to be a father for the first time, I was scared. Having children changes everything. Each time I’ve moved I’ve been scared – a change of scenery scares me a little bit – the unknowns of it.

Change is the only constant, I’ve heard. I don’t “do change” very well. Maybe its because I’m a Lutheran-Christian. Change doesn’t come easy for me in my “tribe” of Christianity (as Len Sweet calls it). Which is kind of silly, really. I’m mean, of all the tribes of Christianity, Lutherans might be the ones who should embrace change best of all. It was Martin Luther that profoundly changed the Western World in the 16th Century AD.

Lon Chaney – the master of change in the early movies; Martin Luther – the great changer of the 16th Century; Cancer; Moving; all of these changes are scary to me.

Why do things have to change? Wasn’t I happy before things changed? Well, sure. But I must admit, I was getting a little bored, too. I was looking for change, even though it was scary.

I must face the truth – change happens. I think it is safe to say that change has to happen. Sometimes I wish it didn’t. Isn’t there anything that doesn’t change? It seems the older I get the more change there is. It seems like the world is changing faster and faster each day.

What doesn’t change? The love of my wife? Ok, yes. She told me she loved me 20 years ago and has told me every day since. But no, that isn’t right either. Her love for me has changed. Because I’m not the man she fell in love with 20 years ago. Her love for me – while still very strong, rock-solid even – has changed through years. The same can be said of my love for her. Today she’s not the woman I married. She’s even more beautiful and lovely today! My sons have changed over the last 14 years. They are growing up. My calling as a pastor has changed through the years – I’m still growing up.


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Where there is cancer and the many changes that it brings, Jesus is there changeless – He loves and strengthens and, when it is God’s will, even heals!

There there is a change in location or ministry or career– as scary as that is – Jesus is there changeless – He loves and strengthens and heals the fear and hurt that sometimes come with change

Change is inevitable. Jesus Christ and His love for You is the only thing that will never change.

And the next time I’m scared of change, I’ll remember this. Without change, there would be no butterflies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I am on the cusp of change and I needed to be reminded that Jesus is here with me.

Liz (aka Ninny)