What I can’t figure out is how to say, “My father, Anthony Davis, has cancer.” I can’t figure out how to say it because it seems so fatal, so unreal. The thoughts that haunt my waking and lying down are in need of green pastures, in need of quiet waters, in need of a whispered assurance that—it’s going to be alright. It IS going to be alright.
I have known in the back of my mind that my father was sick, but it was in the back of my mind for a good reason—I didn’t want it in the front of my mind. Now that he has been diagnosed with cancer, it is in the front of my mind. While I was busy with the concerns of life, death sauntered in and announced what I knew but had tried to ignore—we are all mortal. Our eventual death has been a reality since the Garden, and it is only the comfort and protection I enjoy that allowed me to forget this truth.
The dark thoughts that parade through our minds are from the valley of the shadow of death, and it is there that we now walk. Above us are mountains of hopelessness and despair from which flow rivers of doubt and faithlessness. Beside us are deep shadows in which lurk all the evil our imaginations can conjure. Dark fears swirl all around us—but we are not alone. We are oppressed by shadows, but we serve a God of true light. The giver of life has vanquished Death and only these shadows remain.
There is a time to say you believe—and a time to believe. I believe in a God that can save, that can heal, a God who does all things for His glory. It is this God that we trust with our eternities, with our lives, and for now—with our health.
I have not been into this valley, nor have I walked this path before, but many others have. I have seen death before but not like this. I am more than ever reminded of my own mortality, that I am frail and in need of His goodness and mercy as a cure for the doubts and fears that haunt this valley.
My Father has not had cancer before, so this particular situation and these specific fears are new to me. Yet Scripture says, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2Cor. 4:8-9). And as we walk through this valley of the shadow of death we are a little afraid, but not discouraged. And if we become discourage, as we are prone to do, come along side us and whisper, “You are not alone.”
Deut. 31:6, 8; Josh. 1:5; 1Kings 8:57; Eccl. 4:10; Heb. 13:5
Copyright©2007 Hudson Russell Davis
It’s good to hear from you through the alumni site and your blog. I lost my dad to cancer after a 5 year battle that ended between my Jr and Sr years of college. Dad and I were very close and had a great relationship. It has been over 8 years. I miss him often, and I have found that by far my deepest mourning has come in the past 2 years.
I hate not having my dad available to me, but it is a wonderful and powerful reminder that God did not design us for death. My dad’s death and the feelings that have come from it have been an incredible avenue for the power of the gospel to work in and through me, and to minister to others who have lost loved ones. I wish my dad were with me when I have questions and insecurities and feel like I need him, but I wouldn’t change God’s plan and have seen the fruit of it, including my wife, Jessica’s salvation, and the way God has used it to produce his fruit in me.
Since losing Dad, I’ve found lighter trials sometimes harder to bear, because I do not see my complete inadequacy and fall before God, but rather try to handle them with a little help from Him. I’m praying for you and your dad–for his healing, and that God would use this pain in both of your lives to conform you to his image.
Take courage, for He has overcome the world and conquerred death.
Thanks for sharing this, Hudson. It is a difficult thing, watching a someone close to you battle cancer…and one aspect of that difficulty is knowing how to talk about it with others. Often, your emotions don’t line up with those of whoever it is that has just asked you about him. It’s weird, hard to put into words, and yet seemingly more “real” than the rest of what is going on in life. I guess you could use the word surreal. Thank God that we “still haven’t found what we’re lookin’ for.” Keep pressing on, brother!