by Sharon Hughes
They say, “You just have to have faith.” I never liked that saying because I never felt that I had enough of it on my own.
During a routine exam for a sinus infection, a growth was found on my daughter, Shannon’s, thyroid. The doctor didn’t seem overly concerned. “We’ll watch it,” was the response and she went on her way.
It continued to grow and she was referred to an Endocrinologist. He ordered an ultrasound and was satisfied with the results. Again, “We’ll keep an eye on it.”
After a few months, the specialist decided to order a biopsy. It was a difficult procedure. My daughter is strong, but she emerged from the biopsy looking drained and quiet. Again we waited.
“You’ve got to have faith,” kept ringing in my ears during this process. I’ve got to? What if I don’t? I wanted to be one of those strong Christians who never wavered; I read the verse many times, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom.10:17 NKJV). I just worried I didn’t have enough.
Once again, Shannon and I sat in front of the Endocrinologist. He began with the biopsy report. There were cancerous cells and she needed surgery. I tried to stay focused, but my fear made it difficult. He spoke frankly about the need for radiation treatments following the surgery. My heart was pounding and I fought to hold back the tears.
I needed faith, but I struggled to find it. I told God, “I’m afraid. How does this faith thing work when I don’t have enough of it?”
Shannon found a well respected surgeon and had the test results sent ahead. As we sat with him, he explained the ultrasound and biopsies. Her entire thyroid needed to be removed. He said he couldn’t speak with certainty until the tissue he removed was biopsied, but he didn’t think she had cancer. He said although cells were found to indicate possible cancer, he felt removing the thyroid would be sufficient. He saw no reason for radiation treatments afterwards.
The relief we felt was palpable.
She had one last appointment with her Endocrinologist before her surgery and this time I felt confident. The consultation with the surgeon had encouraged my faith. The doctor began to discuss Shannon’s visit with the surgeon and we couldn’t believe his response. He was in total disagreement with the surgeon’s predicted outcome. He felt this was of much more concern than the surgeon expected and was convinced radiation treatments were necessary.
My heart sunk and took my faith with it. How can two well respected doctors differ so greatly? That confident ‘faith’ I had been wearing like a right of passage as a mature Christian began slipping once more.
In the midst of my fear, I had a talk with God. I told Him, “She’s yours. I’m giving my daughter to you. I’m trusting you.” During my prayer, I realized I had been putting my trust in myself, believing that my own level of faith would control the outcome, instead of trusting in the person of Jesus Christ.
Still, handing her to God felt dangerous. No guarantees. If it was in my power, maybe I could muster up enough faith, then offer her to God. Did I really believe He would then be obligated to give me the answer that my faith demanded?
God doesn’t bargain with us, He Fathers us. There are no predetermined magical words that will unlock His heart. In my search for faith, I found grace. It wasn’t about my efforts. Shannon was already the focus of God’s affection.
My daughter had the surgery and the results came back clear. The recovery was difficult, but she was strong and determined. She now navigates life without a thyroid, but there is no cancer!
Shannon said it like this, “In times of disbelief, He is the perfecter of my faith. In my weakness, He is my strength. When I can’t see my way, He makes my path clear. My heart overflows with gratitude to a God who cares enough for my minuscule life to make me a priority.”
He loves us with all of our insecurities, fears, and failed attempts to believe. He showed me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor.12:9 NIV).
His grace allows us to grow in faith. It provides a safe place to explore and discover His heart. It offers a place to become who He intended us to be. His word provides fertile soil for our faith to take root and reach deep into His river of living water, where our faith in Him can grow.
I keep learning about faith, and God keeps giving me grace.
Photo Cred: Chelsea Steller
Sharon lives in East Central Florida where she enjoys writing, paper art, and spending time with her three energetic adult children. Her desire is to live out Isaiah 61 as God opens doors for her to share her own freedom that only He can give.