Kaity Kasper


Do Not Fear

Its been a little while, and there are lots of reasons for that.  I've been juggling being back at work more with an unexpected preliminary read of my post-chemo CT scan.  I will get into that more as I know more, but for now I'll tell you that Dr. McGuire has labeled my disease as "stable" as there appear to be no changes from my mid-point CT and this most recent one.  He proposes entering me into another clinical trial - and doing more chemo - due to some nodules, lesions, and other things that have been showing up on my CT since the beginning.

Here's the thing - he can't tell me that any of those things are actually cancer.

So I'm not quite sure I want to pull the trigger on even more grueling chemo when we don't even know that there is cancer there to be targeted.

I am seeing Dr. Carter this week, along with Dr. Boardman and another oncologist who is new to my case.  And I'm visiting Dr. Bush next week.  I am 99.8% sure I know what my game plan is, but I want to get through those appointments before unveiling it all here.  So sit tight a little longer and send prayers that my cancer is, in fact, gone, and that what we are looking at is nothing more than benign signs on a life well-lived (so far).

*   *   *

I've heard several times in the last few weeks that many people believe the phrase "do not fear" appears in the Bible 365 times - once for every day of the year.  

I did not count to see if this was true.

But I do know that its in there a lot.  Enough times that it has made me wonder what the fact that I have feared in this whole process has to say about the real state of my faith.

*   *   *

There is a lot I love about social media.  Especially with something like this - a journey that lots of people want to be kept up on - it can be super useful.  And we all know the big downsides - social media can suck our time from places where it would be better spent and triggers a whole lot of FOMO and envy and comparison.  

A little over a year ago I did a bit of a social media clean out.  My preferred poison is Instagram, so I decided to start there.  I curated my feed so that everything I see supports either my spiritual development, my recovery, or my yoga practice.  The idea was to make Instagram a positive place I could rely on to help keep me grounded in the most important areas of my life.

It worked.

For awhile.

And then I started to notice how many Christians were shouting from the social media rooftops about how if we believe we will not fear.

I started to fall down the self-doubt hole a little bit.

*   *   *

Do not fear.

It seems so easy.  So obvious.  If its really true that God has it all handled, then what do we have to fear?  If He already knows what He has planned for us, and our only desire should be to do His will, where is the room for fear?

Do not fear.

But the thing is - there is a whole lot to fear in this world.  Divorce, cancer, losing a parent or child, infertility, loss of a job, HIV, war - the list could go on and on.  Every single one of these things are well deserving of a fear response.  And hard as I try, I don't see a way out of that.  Even with the relationship God and I have had for so long. 

Honestly, I don't really care how strong your faith is.  If any of those things don't bring some level of fear to the surface for you, I have to believe you have your head in the sand at least a little bit.

So what does that mean when God is so clear so many times in scripture?

Do not fear.

Where does the fear fit in?

*   *   *

Fear has been a pretty present partner in this cancer journey.  In the first few weeks after my surgery, it kept me from breathing most days.  Now, so many months out, there are still days when I can feel it sitting on my chest like a elephant, but most days it hangs out like an annoying gnat buzzing around in the back of my mind.

I've had some guilt over this.  I am told by my God not to fear, but here fear sits, and ever-present character in this chapter of my story.

So is my faith weak?

Or have we been reading those verses just a little bit wrong?

*   *   *

Do not fear.

For so long I read these words as a command - shouted down by God as He sat in the heavens, disappointed in how I've behaved or how I've reacted or how I feel.  From a distance He screamed for me to just get it right already - to just leave it to Him.  For goodness sake already, do not be afraid!

But as I've wandered the road of the past several years - particularly the miles that have comprised the last several months - those shouts have quieted down to not much more than a whisper.  These words come to me now from from a shouting distant God, but from the God who is my friend, my companion, my protector.  These words are whispered not out of frustration or in an attempt to clarify demands, but as a means of comfort - of a reminder that while we may feel fear, He is there with us anyway.  Much like a father assures his child that there is no monster under the bed, God tells us not to fear as a means of soothing us when we are in our most frightened state.  The words may not make the fear disappear, but just hearing them serves as a reminder that even in our fear, God is there. 

The monsters can't get us so long as He is around

*   *   *

Just as things started leveling out and it seemed normalcy was on its way, the world turned over again and the road ahead turned back into the dark.  I walked out of Massey wracked with sobs last week - unsure what was happening.  Unsure I knew how to handle this latest turn of events.  Fear gripped my heart and clung on tightly. 

And then I heard Him whisper.

Do not fear.