“Where Can I Go to Get Away from You?”
How does one begin to describe the blessings of the Lord Jesus? He is rich beyond measure towards those of us who belong to Him!
The greatest possible blessing is His presence! The poet and king, David, wrote in Psalm 139, “You have beset me behind and before, and laid Your Hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! It is high, I cannot begin to understand it! Where can I go to get away from You? If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Your Hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘surely the darkness shall cover me,’ even the night shall be light about me. Really, the darkness cannot hide You, but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to You.”
This has been a wild, jam-packed, and blessed day. We’ve been gone from home for 13 hours. But every second of the day, God has given us a supernatural, real sense of His presence! He was with us in the car traveling; He was sitting in the room during conferences; He was in our thoughts as we asked questions and tried to absorb information and make intelligent decisions.
As I looked at the others in the waiting room at UNC, and listened to their talk, my heart was torn for them. What a lonely, desolate journey Life is without the Savior. Those living without Jesus are like sheep wandering on the hillsides, trying to care for themselves, trying to protect themselves – so vulnerable, so desperate.
I praise the Lord Jesus for calling me into His pasture, for adopting me into His family, for continually being with me, no matter the circumstances Life brings to me.
The second greatest blessing He has given to us is the treasure of Love. Since making our situation public, our phone and emails have overflowed with messages of love. God has poured His love into the hearts of so many people for us, and it is truly humbling! “We love you!” “I just had to write to tell you that I love you!” “How can we help?” “We are praying, praying, praying for you!”
The wonder of Christ’s Body here on earth is indescribable. What a miracle is our connectedness, even though most of us have never met in person. Our identification with Him makes us to be joined “at the hip.” Love is the first-fruit listed in the “fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians chapter 5; it is a by-product of His Spirit flowing through us. And Jesus said that it is our love that separates us from the rest of the world, and gives the world a clear definition of Jesus-followers. He said very simply, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35). It is so simple! May God help us to grasp the simplicity of His way!
A big thank you to all of you who have written or called! God bless you for your love for us and your standing fast in the hard work of prayer on our behalf.
The last blessing that I want to report of this day is the blessing of His “making our paths straight.” Today we met 2 very important people – the oncology doctors who will guide our medical care in the coming weeks and months. These total strangers are suddenly in a very important place in our lives.
But our Lord has given the “cream of the crop” to us! We discussed the diagnosis: endometrial papillary serous carcinoma. And they confirmed what we had come to understand about this disease. It is without doubt the most aggressive cancer of all the uterine cancers. And it has the worst prognosis. We don’t know my “stage” yet, but assuming the best stage, you could flip a coin to determine if I live or die. If it has spread even a little, the survival rate is 40%. If it has spread more, the rate drops to a mere 20%. These rates assume complete surgery and full chemo and radiation to follow.
Do these statistics make me anxious? No. Honestly, no. Why? Because God doesn’t operate by statistics. It is as easy for Him to make me one of the 20% surviving as to make the sun stop rotating (as He did when Joshua was fighting a battle and needed more daylight). Nothing in nature is too hard for Him.
The thing that is “hard” for Him is to break our wills, so that we embrace His authority as Savior and Lord. It still baffles me that God controls the planets, oversees the smallest level of microbiology, empowers the huge hurricanes or volcanoes, yet He restrains Himself when it comes to the will of Man. He will not violate the privilege of self-determination, of free choice, of will, that He placed in Man in the Garden.
How I pray that He will use this experience to soften our stubbornness towards His love, His will, His plan!!! What stubborn fools we are to think we can live independently of Him! Oh God! Open our eyes and break our wills!
Looking to the future, the earliest they could schedule surgery is in 10 days, on Friday, August 21. Tomorrow we return for the pre-operative testing. This will include blood work, EKG, and a CT scan of chest, abdomen, and pelvis. The purpose of the CT scan is to help us establish a “stage”; in cancer language, this means determining the level at which the cancer has spread. If the scan shows that the cancer has already spread to other parts of the abdomen or the chest, then we will know that we are dealing with a Stage IV (4). This has the worst prognosis and requires the most aggressive treatment.
If the CT shows no spread, then we will have to “stage” the cancer during the surgery. Now, are you ready for some fantastic medical news? In our nation there are 4 hospitals that are doing robotic gynecologic surgery. Yes, I said “robotic” surgery. Is this high-tech or what! Open-incision surgery is the least desired, since healing is longer and risks of bleeding, infection, etc. are higher. Laparoscopic surgery is more desirable, but robotic is the best of all because it allows much better visualization/magnification and also fine technique/mobility of instruments. My 2 doctors have been pioneers in this robotic surgery, and it has been done commonly since 2005. Isn’t God good to not only put me in an excellent hospital, but also to give me state-of-the-art surgeons?? Excellence is His way!
Thank you to everyone for praying for us! Let’s continue to look for His glory!
August 10, 2009