Donald Fawkner

My story of peace in troubled seas

August 2019 my wife, two kids and I returned from an amazing adventure overseas. We spent 4 weeks in Canada, which included studying two papers at Regent College with world leaders in their fields. We came back with a sense of excitement and of wonder at the amazing adventure we’d just had. I was encouraged, recharged, inspired, and really looking forward to what the rest of the year had instore. Life felt like sailing on a calm and crystal blue ocean in a gentle breeze.

I’d had some tests before I left which showed some slight bowl inflammation but it was more than likely nothing to worry about and probably virus related. Just to make sure my GP booked me in for a procedure to rule out anything more sinister.  I didn’t know it at the time, but a storm was brewing beyond the horizon.
Seven days after we arrived back in Aotearoa I awoke after a colonoscopy to find my wife had been called to come in to see the doctor with me. I didn’t think anything of it. Then the squall hit. In his hand were pictures of what was very confident was a cancerous tumor. We paused, with an “Oh!”

The doctor talked us through what was ahead and booked me in for a consultation with a surgeon the next day. He was confident I would beat it but I don’t remember much else of what was said. I was in shock.
As we drove home all I could think was “Well this sucks”. We prayed as we drove and a line from a Rend Collective song “my light house” started playing in my mind: “You are my peace in the troubled seas”. Once the kids were in bed we talked, cried, and prayed more.

I’m a half full kind of guy and I was holding on to what the Dr said, “It looks early, you’ve good shot at beating this”. That night I had a peace I can’t explain. It wasn’t denial. My wife’s sister in-law lost her battle with bowel cancer only 18 months before which was still very fresh in our minds. But as I was lying in bed I realized that God had this no matter what happened. Even if my boat was capsized and the sails ripped apart in this raging storm, I would be ok what ever happened.

I wasn’t going to just lie down and take it. There was no way I was going to give up. But at that moment I knew God would give me the strength to get through whatever was coming my way. Jesus was my strength in this troubled sea and though it felt like the mast on my boat was broken and the boat was being tossed around in the monster swell, my Captain had it sorted.

A week later, I had the tumour and part of my bowl removed and then had to wait for the test results and follow up with the oncologist to discuss the next steps after a six week recovery. The tests showed that the cancer had been removed and the tumour contained! No further treatment was required. There was a big smile on our faces when we found that out.

The whole time the peace remained. God was going to get me and my family through this. To go back to the boat analogy, when I told a friend about the cancer they shared a song with me by Lauren Daigle called “Rescue”. It says,

You are not hidden, There's never been a moment, You were forgotten, You are not hopeless, Though you have been broken, Your innocence stolen, I hear you whisper underneath your breath, I hear your SOS, your SOS, I will send out an army to find you, In the middle of the darkest night, It's true, I will rescue you.

We all face challenges and troubles, and this song helped strengthen me even in the times when I started thinking the what ifs. He hears us and gives us peace in the midst of whatever we face. He gives us peace in the troubled seas.