by: Tammy Goddard
When our children were very small, we taught them to hold our hand as they walked beside us. They usually held our index finger since our hands were so big and theirs were so small. We did not hold on to their hand and drag them where we wanted them to go, but instead, we wanted them to hold on to our hand and willingly follow us. This was just one more way we established their submission to us as their God-given authority. Although this was the normal practice while walking together, there were times of danger when we as parents would wrap our hand around theirs and hold on tight. There were even times when we reached down and picked them up and held them up with our hands to protect or comfort them when the way was rough.
On April 21, 2010, I began to learn a sweet and comforting lesson about holding hands with my heavenly Father. Joshua, our 25 year old son, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cancer of the Lymph system. The word “cancer” is always a frightening word, but when it is found in your young, seemingly strong and healthy son, the word is even more shocking and terrifying. I experienced fear like I had never known before. Josh was not sick, and other than the enlarged lymph gland that they removed, he had no symptoms that normally appear with this type of cancer; nevertheless, when the PET scan results came in, he was found to be stage four. The cancer was in its last stages and had spread to many of his organs. His doctor prescribed six months of chemo therapy treatments.
At this point in my life, I would have told you that I was walking beside my Heavenly Father holding on to His hand. I was submissive to His leading in my life. My prayer life was stronger than it had ever been and I knew the power of His Word. I knew that flooding my heart and mind with truth from His Word would bring peace, comfort and strength. This cancer was a new test of my faith. I did not want to follow God down this path. If this is where He was leading me, I did not want to hold His hand anymore. I struggled against Him much like a small child struggles against a parent when they do not want to follow.
I needed to get rid of my overwhelming fear. When I read, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear….” (1 John 4:18), the Holy Spirit revealed to me what the real problem was that I was doubting God’s love for me and my family. I took my Bible and copied out eleven verses on God’s faithfulness. I reminded myself of the fact that God was indeed faithful. I then wrote out nineteen verses on God’s goodness. I needed the reassurance that God was not only faithful but that He was good. Next, I listed ten verses on God’s love for me. I flooded my soul with these three truths: God is faithful, good, and loving. The fourth truth that I studied was that the God Who is faithful, good and loving was in complete control. I had fifteen verses that I used to assure myself that God was in control. I then started a daily ritual of meditating on these Scripture verses. Every time the fear would overwhelm my soul, I would cast it out by dwelling on these truths. They strengthened my faith in God’s love for me.
After about three months of watching my son go every two weeks to receive another round of chemo, God did something extra special for me. There were still days that I struggled against the hand of God. I told God that needed something more. I asked Him to do something extra to show me He loved me and my family. One particular day, when I was having a very hard time with this whole situation, as I walked through a shopping mall, I found a message written by God to Tammy Goddard. I looked up and saw this beautiful wall plaque with these words written on it: Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” As tears ran down my face, I thanked God for his patience with me. I felt as if He had reached down and lifted me in His arms and said, “I know this is hard for you, so you don’t have to hold on anymore; I am going to hold on to you.”
Two years have passed and my son has enjoyed a healthy, cancer-free life. Baby Kaylee has been added to their family and he now has three beautiful children and a sweet wife. In August of 2012, two malignant lymph glands were discovered and the doctors have told Josh that his cancer is back. He is now stage 2 and will be getting a stem cell transplant. I am so glad I didn’t let go of God’s hand during the good times. I am so glad He does not let go of my hand in the hard times. Isaiah 41:13, “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
I still have my four pages of typed Scripture verses that I meditate on throughout the day, but the struggle is over. I know as the song writer wrote years ago, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand; But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”
Who is holding your hand?
(Since the writing of this article, Josh Goddard has been found free of cancer; Praise the LORD!)
Faith Baptist Church