Missing Cancer

“Ugh, I miss it”.

This was the headline in the Washington Post that caught my attention last night. The story presents a combat veteran who today finds himself living in a trailer three miles from Rock Springs, Wyoming, where the wind blows and the landscape is lifeless. I have been there. My sister lives in this town of 23,000.

With military service behind him, this man has a difficult time returning to civilian life. He can’t keep a job, and he has little patience with people who have no idea of what he’s experienced. If he could, he would go back to war, not because he misses combat, but because he yearns for camaraderie and brotherhood; the intensity of the moment. He misses those with whom he shares a deep bond. He longs for those who understand.

As I read the article, I found myself identifying with this man in ways that surprised me. Deep feelings welled from within.

I too, feel myself withdrawing from those around me. Activities that used to bring happiness no longer do so. Areas of service, which brought significance and purpose, now feel like drudgery.
I feel like I’m letting so many down. I don’t like it, but I can’t change it. Faking normalcy doesn’t work either.

About the only thing that makes me happy is spending time with Valerie and the girls, though various mundane exercises such as cleaning the garage or sitting by the fire are comforting.

When we were in our desert experience, the moment by moment presence of God was tactile. Each day was a new day, and we knew that if He didn’t show up, we were finished.

I don’t miss cancer… How could I?  But I do miss the intensity and urgency of that relationship with God. 

I’ve learned the value of walking where there’s no water, no shade, no escape. It changed me, and for that I’m thankful.

What about you? Are you in a desert experience? Will you embrace it and face it with Him? In the surrender of your will to His, peace will replace fear.

When he was in the desert, hiding from King Saul, David said 

“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:33‬

God gave David the feet he needed for the path he was on. That encourages me when little else does.

While I am no longer in the desert, I am on a path that is unfamiliar. It’s not one of my choosing. But I rest in the assurance that while I am isolated, I am not alone.


3 thoughts on “Missing Cancer

  1. Bob Bauer says:

    Ron, you are not alone. I, too, remember the intensity of the times of pleading with the Lord for my wife as she suffered from her involvement. Also, the many prayers I knew were surrounding us provided a sense of companionship on the journey. People care and are ready to intercede when there is such a deep need. Once again we find ourselves on a transitional journey. It isn’t easy to uproot and prepare to go to a new area. Somehow I identify with Abraham. Called to leave the familiar and go to the unknown he followed the Lord. For me, this is a time when I rely on the Lord and on my wife. We almost cannot be away from each other. It seems at times that we are all we have. And we thoroughly enjoy each other. Yes, I sense where you are. You are not alone. I care about you and where you are.


  2. Jean Sperry says:

    Thank you for sharing. I feel I am now just walking aimlessly in circles in the desert at this point…thank God for Fred and the church. God is still real and present.


  3. Kurtis says:

    Thank you for articulating this struggle. Its a familiar one for the missionary who returns from a foreign field as well. I’m humbled by your experience and blessed by your vulnerability. It is a testimony that you trust your Redeemer with both your past and your future; have faced death and fear, and found your Savior stronger.

    “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
    (Hebrews 2:14-15)


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