The Tough Task Of ‘Watchful Waiting’
For the past several years, I have been been receiving treatment for prostate cancer. It has been nearly a year since my second mildly invasive procedure to remove the disease that lingers within that one small gland. So far, I have elected to not have it surgically removed. And thankfully, I have not experienced any pain during the entire process.
Recently, I had a video consultation with my urologist to discuss the feasibility of a second treatment to remove the small amount of cancer remaining. His recommendation was to “watch and wait” for another six months. So, I have taken his advice and am awaiting the results of my scan to evaluate my progress.
Since I have been dealing with this cancer for quite a while, waiting a bit longer before my next treatment is reasonable. I have accepted what I call the “tough task of watchful waiting.” When first diagnosed, I researched all the alternatives available. Prostate cancer is rarely aggressive and usually grows slowly; statistically, very few men die of prostate cancer these days.
My attitude to this affliction is centered on my faith in the Lord. My Christian journey has been filled with many trials, as well as many blessings. And as a follower of Jesus, I have come to understand there are many times to “watch and wait” on the Lord. In studying the Bible, I have encountered this concept of watching and waiting quite often. King David wrote in Psalm 27:13-14, “I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Excellent advice from the man who was known as “a man after God’s own heart.”
All of us have faced anxious moments these past few years. They might not have included a serious diagnosis, but the pandemic, the uncertain economy, and the ever-changing working environment have brought about unprecedented changes for most of us. From a business standpoint, I cannot recall a more challenging time for earning a living. So, I have learned to work harder and smarter.
In the insurance business, my preference has always been to meet clients face-to-face. However, that has become difficult under health restrictions. I have strived to become even more responsive to my client’s needs and preferences. Due to the pandemic, however, many have become difficult to communicate with as their lives also have become more complex and challenging.
Here is my “secret” to watchful waiting during these trying times. First, we must develop and maintain a strong and consistent prayer life. Christ followers must understand the significance of putting on the armor of God every morning. As the apostle Paul exhorts in Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” We must resist the great temptation to succumb to our spiritual enemy’s wiles.
Paul continues in Ephesians 6:18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Yes, my prayers are not just for my personal needs, but also for the many people God has put in my path – as well as others I barely know who diligently work for our Lord and those He puts in their paths. In this way, I am striving to do my part as a vibrant member of the family of God!
© 2022, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.
- Have you ever experienced a very situation – perhaps a health issue or financial crisis – that required a considerable of waiting before it could be resolved? If so, how have you responded.
- How do you understand the term, “watchful waiting”? What are some of the benefits, and the difficulties, of having to do this?
- What are some of the challenges you have encountered over the past year, whether related to the ongoing COVID pandemic or circumstances totally unrelated to that? Has your tendency been to try and resolve the situation quickly, or have you been receptive to a “watch and wait” approach? Explain your answer.
- When you encounter formidable obstacles and different kinds of adversity, what role – if any – does your faith play in how you respond to them?
NOTE: For more about what the Bible says about this topic, consider the following passages:
Psalm 130:5-6; Luke 12:35-37; Ephesians 6:13-17; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:6-9