When I read about someone who has been told that they have just changed from Rai Stage I to the scary Rai Stage IV, because their platelet count has dropped below 100, I immediately get a cold chill. The reason for the change in Rai was that his latest CBC (complete blood test) done a couple of days earlier showed his platelet count was 96K. This is just shy of the 100K lower limit many labs use for healthy platelet counts.  All other counts were doing fine and there were no other symptoms, but those pesky platelets just wouldn’t cooperate.

I get a cold chill and a worried mind, or at least I use to, because over the last 11 months, my platelets have dropped from 119K to 60K and has been as low as 58K. I feel great, all other blood counts, not being normal, are closer to what they should be, but not those platelets. Does my Oncologist tell me, I may have to start chemotherapy, because my platelet count is so low? Yes he does, but I don’t want to start chemo, I feel great, my other counts our not normal, but not as bad as they could be. Why do I, and all those other people, who have SLL/CLL begin to worry? Because chemotherapy is not a joy ride, and this cancer is differently not a reason to be worry free and joyful.

It may sound like I am complaining here, and in this old body of mine, I am, and I know I will continue to more times than I would like. But my eternal spirit, my spirit that is continually being comforted by the Spirit of Christ, is not complaining or worrying. Why you may ask, let me tell you.

One of the most frequent phrases Jesus spoke to his disciples was, “Fear not.” This tells me two things, first, the disciples were constantly filled with anxiety, like the rest of us. Second, Jesus was concerned, so he comforted the disciples with his own presence and power. With that said, I would like to focus your attention on the formula for worry given in Philippians 4:6-9 (kjv).

The apostle Paul offers three basic steps to dealing with the anxiety that seems to plague so many people today. Knowing that simple denial of the things we are anxious, or worry about will not offer us any workable solution, Paul first says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (verse 6.) The phrase “Be careful for nothing”(Be careful {merimnao} to be anxious or to be troubled with cares)(for nothing {medeis} nothing) is a command not to worry. However, it is not a command to quit thinking. Many people suppose if they simply quit thinking about something, they will quit worrying about it. This simply is not true; since our subconscious mind is capable of thinking and worrying without our consciously being aware of it. Instead of putting our worries out of our minds, Paul says we should turn those worries into prayers. Since we will naturally think about the things that worry us, he invites us to talk to God about them. Notice the word “everything” in that verse. We are to talk to God about everything that troubles us; no matter what it may be. As often as we think about whatever it is that worries us, we are to pray about it.

The promise in the next verse (verse 7) tells us of the supernatural benefit of turning our worry into prayer. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” This means God will protect our hearts (subconscious minds) and minds (conscious minds) with the same peace that Jesus had. The reason it surpasses our understanding is that it has nothing to do with changing our circumstances. The peace, the world has to offer, depends on changing our circumstances; but the peace of God through Jesus Christ, comes as a fruit of the Holy Spirit regardless of our circumstances.

Like I said earlier, even though I may enjoy the peace that passes all understanding, unchanged circumstances frequently come back to haunt me. For that reason, Paul goes on to instruct us to think positively. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (verse 8). Receiving the peace that passes all understanding frees us to think positively about our circumstances. By nature, all worries have a negative cloud of doom covering them. The positive thinking about our circumstances lifts the cloud of doom so we may think even more clearly.

Thinking positive about our circumstances is not enough, however. The apostle goes one step further to tell us, “Those things, which ye have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, do” (verse 9). It is impossible to worry while we are actively pursuing a plan. In order to quit worrying about our circumstances we are encouraged to do the things we know already. We may not know how to get out of certain difficulties, but in the meantime, there are always many things we already know we can do. Being actively involved with the things we know we can and should do helps keep us from worrying about the things we cannot change.

How do I move from my anxiety and worry about SLL/CLL, and how can you move away from the same? Trust Christ, not only for your eternal soul, but also for your daily walk.

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