Monday I go to the oncology clinic for a whole afternoon.
First, they will do blood work. In the past, my blood work has been normal. I will be eager to see if that has changed.
Then I go for a CT scan. They will scan my whole body to see if the tumors that were there 2 months ago have changed, multiplied or disappeared. I am hoping/praying that prayer and diet, the things for which I have greatest confidence, have had a measurable effect.
Finally, I meet with my doctor. He will give me the results of the blood and CT scan. If my cancer is responding to the thousands of prayers and the changes I have made in my diet, then we will continue the course. If they have not - if the tumors are larger or have multiplied - then I will start immunotherapy next Wednesday.
Setting Myself Up for Disappointment?
I have asked for healing. I have had hands laid on me dozens of times in the past month. I have been prayed for by literally thousands of people. Churches I have no connection to have prayed for me.
I got a note a couple of weeks ago from an old friend that I lost touch with 5 or 6 years ago. Turns out he is in North Carolina. He instant messaged me on a Sunday to say that someone in his church shared that Sunday morning about me, and that their entire church prayed for me. I got an email yesterday from a friend in Chicago saying that they shared a segment of my blog in the Sunday meeting at Willow Creek and that they prayed for me. I have a friend coming to pray for me this morning from Tulsa - yep, coming to my office just to lay hands on me and pray for me. He is too important - a big deal guy - to take time to do that, but he is doing it. I am soooo humbled by all this. A group of PA students in Indianapolis are praying for me with faith and love. An entire summer internship program of students in Redlands, CA are praying for me (pictured above). There are probably 200 or more people who tell me that they are praying for me daily. Another 800 or more have me on a weekly prayer list. Those are just CCHF friends whose entire clinic staffs are praying for me.
Those bowls of prayers at God’s feet are filling up on my behalf!
So what if the tests come back on Monday and the cancer is still there? Worse, what if it has grown and spread? Does that mean that God doesn’t answer prayer? Does that mean that God isn’t going to heal me? Has all this been in vain?
First, God is not a machine. If I want a soda, I put my money in the slot, push the right button, and out comes what I want. Come on! God is a person. It never works like that, and I would not want to serve a God who is like that. I am not the center of the universe. God in His wisdom will do what is best at the time that is best. And it will be good. It always has been. He is not going to change. I hope He does send His power and that the tumors will all be gone on Monday. I hope He uses medicine to show that He has done what only He can do. But if the tumors are still there, I won’t be disheartened. God won’t have abandoned me. He won’t have ignored your prayers, either. He hears, and He acts.
How powerful is it that my cancer has moved hundreds or even thousands of people to pray for someone in love and faith - to direct more than their “positive thoughts” to the person of Jesus Christ on behalf of someone like me! How powerful is it that people doing important work, people in positions of great influence, have interrupted their days to write or call someone like me to encourage and to share loveseat! Oh my! The kingdom of God is forcefully advancing through this. My cancer may bring death to my body. I hope it doesn’t. But until it does, It is bringing life - LIFE - across the Body of Christ! It is a fangless viper, and God is using it to draw me and all of us closer to Him. Win for me, and win for Him!
If God heals me, my hope is that my friends in medicine will come to realize that medicine is not enough. We need the power of God. If God doesn’t heal me, if I die at the end of this road, I hope my friends in medicine will recognize the same thing - medicine is not enough. We need the power of God. And we need to get serious about crying out to Him to do again in our day the awesome deeds that we read about. We need Him to rend heaven, to come down! We need Him to heal our land. In that scenario, our part is to humble ourselves, to recognize that we are limited, and to pray. Doctors are high capacity people - but they are limited. The best we have is still just so much fish and bread. God must break it, must do a miracle with our abilities and resources, however grand they be compared to what others have. The boy with fish and bread was well-resourced. Perhaps better resourced than anyone else on that day. He was certainly better resourced than any of Jesus’ disciples! But his resources seem paltry compared to the size of the need. Our need is greater than any of our resources. It is greater than our combined resources. We should be good stewards; but the best stewardship is not to ration and horde, but to lay all of our resources, talents and skills at the feet of Jesus who can make so little go so far.
I have so little. So little health, so little time, so few friends. I live in a small house in a neighborhood most people in my city don’t even have a name for. I have a small family. I work in a small office with a small staff for a small organization that most people have never heard of, the name of which even my family can’t get right. I have very little. What I do have is too much cancer. Not too much for God. And I have given it to Him. I presented my body as a living sacrifice to Him. The Bible tells me that He receives it as holy and acceptable. My cancer-filled body is an acceptable sacrifice to God! (BOOM!) So my cancer is His cancer now. He can do with it as He sees fit. And all will be well.
I still want to be healed. I am still asking for 7 more years of cancer-free, fruitful ministry. But I won’t be disappointed if it goes a different way. Don’t measure what God is doing by whether my cancer is healed by Monday or not. But keep praying with me and for me. Pray without wavering. Pray specifically. Pray with expectation. I want you to enjoy all that God is doing through this with me!
Stay tuned! I will let you know what happens on Monday.