Psalm 121:7-8 (NIV)
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm�he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
We must see all our help laid up in God, in his power and goodness, his providence and grace; and from him we must expect it to come: "My help comes from the Lord; the help I desire is what he sends, and from him I expect it in his own way and time. If he do not help, no creature can help; if he do, no creature can hinder, can hurt. [Matthew Henry]
Where do you put your hope and trust when you get a bad report from the doctor? How do you get some control of the situation? Author Phyllis Ten Elshof says that, when battling the fear of recurrent breast cancer, she first tried to find comfort in statistics:
"You're gonna be okay," whispered the lady in pink as she wheeled me down the hall. "Eighty percent of breast lumps aren't cancer."
I stifled a sigh. So far, statistics had not been in my favor. My breast lump, which was big enough to be seen by the naked eye, hadn't shown up on a mammogram. Mammograms are effective only 80 percent of the time.
The volunteer's prediction wasn't accurate, either; I did have breast cancer. So why, years after surviving a mastectomy and treatment for breast cancer, was I still drawn to survival statistics like a mosquito to a lamp�especially after hearing that a fellow survivor had recurred?
The size of my lump plus five positive nodes drove down my five-year survival rate to less than 25 percent. What's more, I, like so many other cancer survivors, had learned how senseless statistics were in forecasting survival. As one doctor said, "Maybe only 10 percent of patients with your type and stage of cancer are cured, but within that 10 percent, your odds are 0 percent or 100 percent."
So what drove me to statistics? Perhaps it's the kind of fear that drove King Saul to consult a medium on the eve of a battle that would later claim his life (1 Samuel 28). God had stopped communicating with the king through ordinary means, so Saul tried to conjure up the spirit of Samuel to tell him what to do. Saul got the message all right, but it knocked him to the ground.
Cancer knocks us to the ground, too. Still, rather than running to statistics (or doctors that quote them) to ease our fears, we should trust in our Heavenly Father, who alone knows how long we will live.
[Phyllis Ten Elshof, What Cancer Cannot Do (Zondervan, 2006)]
Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip�he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.