Guilt, Regret, and Second Causes

Marissa’s tumor is large. Her cancer has been there for awhile–growing, changing, spreading. Young women especially ask her all the time how she found the lump. Because they are scared. If it can happen to someone they know, it is real. It can happen to them.

But Marissa does not have a typical lump. She has a 10 cm mass that she thought for a long time was normal tissue. It wasn’t that she worried about it and put off telling me or anyone else. It was just that she didn’t give it a second thought. She knew to be wary of lumps, but this did not fit that description and she was not worried.

When we were on our way to the surgeon’s office to get the results of the biopsy, we talked about the possibilities. We talked about regret. She mentioned that if it was cancer (which of course it wasn’t–we were just exploring the what if’s!), it would be hard not to feel regret that she hadn’t noticed sooner.

We talked about God’s sovereignty–how He controls the mighty expanse of the universe and the smallest atom. How her story was written before the foundation of the world. How God supersedes our plans and our actions to bring about His purpose.

For He performs what is appointed for me. Job 23:14

There were a few tortured days following the diagnosis. I would wake in the night with my heart pounding wondering why? Why didn’t we find it sooner? Why didn’t they see it on her heart MRI done over a year ago? Why didn’t any of her many doctor’s appointments include an exam that would find this mass? How could I have failed my daughter so miserably?

Guilt, regret, and second causes. Swirling thoughts of doubt. The voices in my head were not kind. They were not reassuring.

They were not true.

I don’t believe everything I think. God is the only source of truth. When my mind or my feelings don’t line up with His truth, I realign my thinking. I read His words. I speak truth to myself. I remember His character. I remember Who He is. I remember that He is good.

I don’t understand all the mysteries of His providence. I don’t know how He will use this trial for good. But I know it is from His kind hand. And I trust Him.

I form light and create darkness. I make well-being and create calamity. I am the LORD, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:7

4 thoughts on “Guilt, Regret, and Second Causes

  1. Amen. We would all do well to remember your words: ” I do not believe everything I think.” Thank you, Colleen, for saying it so well.


  2. It’s so good to know that our times are in God’s hands. It’s helped me a LOT with loved ones.. where they are, what they are doing, their safety, their health. It does help with the “no regrets” part.


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