I went running on a busy street close to my house today. I did most of the running on the street, although I frequently had to run on the shoulder of the road to get out of the way of passing cars. As I was running on the shoulder, I noticed several items that had been thrown out of cars recently. More specifically, there were lots of beer cans and an occasional empty pack of cigarettes. Apparently the consumers of these items felt they needed to get rid of the evidence before they reached their appointed destinations, whether it was the local high school or maybe even their own homes. In other words, they were ashamed to be found with such items in their possession. They were trying to cover up their actions, even if it meant littering the road.
When I was undergoing chemotherapy, I also felt the need to hide something, although it really wasn't evil or sinful. At the beginning of treatment, the oncology team warned me that I would lose my hair as a result of the chemotherapy. To prepare for this, I asked a friend of mine who worked for a pacemaker company if he could give me a scrub hat to wear at work. You know the type...it's a simple surgical hat you see worn in operating rooms as illustrated by medical shows on television. I felt it would be a way I could still look somewhat professional in my work at the hospital while covering up my bald head.
Yet, to my amazement (and to the shock of my oncology team), I never did completely lose my hair, although it did thin quite a bit. But even though my hair looked atrocious, I decided not to wear a scrub hat. I felt like there was no need to be ashamed or to hide what I was going through. Maybe it was a subliminal message I was sending out to the world such as, "Look at me! I'm going through cancer treatment. Yet, I'm still able to work, go to church, etc." It was a testimony to the world that I was an overcomer and wouldn't be hindered by my cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The Bible exhorts us to not be bashful in proclaiming Christ. Matthew 5:16 says, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (NASB). Years later, I'm glad I didn't try to hide everything I was going through with cancer. By giving the public a glimpse into my illness, I was building a foundation for a ministry. In simple terms, the light that was radiating off of my balding head was a picture of the glorious light God was providing within my soul as He was delivering me from cancer. When I tell people now of what it was like to go through cancer, there is no doubting my testimony. They heard about me fighting cancer. But, even more so, they saw it!