“What disease do you fear most?” This survey question has been asked of thousands of Americans and citizens of other countries, and the answer is always the same – CANCER. Psychologists have published long explanations for this universal dread of . . . shall we say, malignant neoplasia. You can read one publication here. Apparently, many people see c_ _ _ _ _ as an enemy, lurking in their bodies, evading detection, until it is too late, stealing away loved ones, isolating, and just when it seems to be gone, it comes back. I think a deeper reason for the fear is that for many people cancer equates to certain death. But doesn’t everything lead to death? The other less feared diseases are usually Alzheimer’s #2 and then stroke or heart attack. Perhaps cancer reigns king because it allows the individual to be fully aware of a long protracted death. So is it the fear of death itself, at the root? Is it the fear of having lived yet not accomplished a deeper but unknown purpose in life? Is it the fear of having to let go of all that we have ever known (loves ones, career, material possessions)? Or is it the fear of what lies in store after death?
An earlier post highlighted the good news that cancer death rates have been on the decline, and you might think that this should allay any fear of cancer. But if the fear of cancer is actually the fear of death itself, then no amount of knowledge will change the fact that we are mortal.
Mark Twain once said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” The prophet Daniel lived fully according to the purpose given to him by God, and he had no fear of death. We are all created in God’s image, and He has a purpose for each one of us. Whether we seek and claim it, is up to each individual. Check out the antidote.