20
Oct
18

Our unwelcome, uninvited visitor

uninvited visitorWe received the official word on the morning of September 21.

That was the day we found out that most of our attention and energy, for now, will focus on dealing with my wife’s cancer diagnosis.

It was the last thing either of us was prepared – or wanted – to hear from her doctor.

But there it was; unavoidably real… clinically stark… terrifying.

At first, it was like an explosion that knocked us both off of our feet.

It left us dazed, reeling, and with an intense ringing in our ears. For several minutes we just stumbled around the house blindly, saying, “Wait… what?” to each other.

Many of you have been on the receiving end of this exact hammer blow and know all too well what a game-changer this news really is.

Somewhere in your brain, you know that very soon there will be a mad flurry of activity. Phone calls will be made, research will be done, appointments will be set, references will be checked, schedules will be changed, tests will be run, and prayers will be said.

But right now, it is just the two of you and this 800-pound gorilla that appeared out of nowhere and took a crap in the middle of your living room.

It is all a little too much to process, and so you choose not to do what you really can’t.

But there, in the middle of all of the smoke and wreckage and feces, you look around and notice a few things.

And you start to wonder;

  • Was it purely coincidence that years earlier I had served alongside a pastor whose spouse just happens to be one of the pre-eminent gynecological oncologists in this area… someone whose name came up repeatedly when discussing specialists to see?

  • Was it purely by chance that three weeks earlier I made an appointment to meet with my counselor that very morning at 11:00 a.m.?

  • Was it total happenstance that we had tickets to go with our friends to the Billy Joel concert the exact same night as this diagnosis?

In another stage of my faith life, I might have said that the only acceptable evidence that God had actually intervened in a frightening, life-threatening situation was when people saw an unexpected and miraculous reversal of that situation.

For example,

  • The sea instantly becoming dry land…
  • The blind person suddenly regaining her sight…
  • The wheelchair-bound paraplegic jumping up and dancing for joy…
  • Cancerous tumors miraculously vanishing.

But age and experience have taught me that there are a whole host of other ways God intervenes in our lives… actively sending a continuous stream of little alerts to us, each designed to say, “I’m here. I’ve got you. You will never be alone for one second as you go through this… even during those times when you feel like you are.”

I know that lots of you have faced news like this in your lives and somehow found the means to cope with it. I take great strength from your examples… even the times when you just had to, “Fake it ‘til you make it.”

I think I’ll be doing that a lot.

But it is also greatly reassuring to know that the One who made me and made my wife is right here with us, holding our hand and guiding us through.

“For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear,
I will help you.’”

– Isaiah 41:13, NRSV


4 Responses to “Our unwelcome, uninvited visitor”


  1. 1 Yvonne L Short
    October 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    So sorry for both of you as I recall times we were told of my husband’s cancer, aortic aneurysm, dissected artery, adrenal failure, and how we were kept in a room waiting for his immediate death because of the dissected artery. When it didn’t happen he was sent home. Cannot begin to tell you of the sleepless nights listening to determine if he was still breathing.

    I pray you find the best physician in whom you have faith to guide you through the days ahead

    Blessing to you both.

  2. 2 Marguerite
    October 21, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    prayers

  3. October 22, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    How right you are! We are so good at praying and then wanting to dictate to God how He’s going to answer those prayers. But you have arrived at a stage of maturity where He can work out His perfect will in and through you. He will reward you for your continued trust in Him. I will be praying for you and your wife.

  4. 4 Warren Molton
    October 22, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Sad and beautiful.

    Powerful photo you chose for this posting.

    The Lord promises to go with us through the Valley of the shadow of death, but not to helicopter us out.

    I look forward to our next session.

    Agape,

    Warren


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