“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
This verse of scripture was sent to us by a couple different friends as Linda and I prepared to fight another round against the cancer that has challenged us for almost thirty years now.
Perhaps you’ve already heard and if not, I will share with you that on February 23rd, following an MRI, we discovered Linda had a tumor on her brain. That same day we met with her oncologist and scheduled an appointment the next day, February 24th, with a brain surgeon.
The surgeon showed us the scan, highlighting the upper right and rear part of her brain where the cloudy mass was located.
Without going into the full discussion on the specifics of the surgery, what they might find and what risks might be considered, let me just say, it was a lot to take in. And then the decision to operate on Monday morning, at 10:00am, in just two days!
It seemed so much was happening so fast and yet we were both struck with a sense of peace in the midst of this sudden storm.
This Was More Than About Us
I think it was Saturday morning as we were preparing to leave the house to go to the hospital for some preliminary lab work, that we both, independent of one another, had this clear sense that this wasn’t just about us.
Yes, we would learn great depths of God’s grace and faithfulness as we always had during these times of testing. But, there was a different and unique sense that this was for and about others as well.
Linda has always said, “When you go through these difficult stretches of the journey, you take everyone you love right along with you.” How true!
We Are Made Strong in Our Weakness
The first verse I ever learned, the night I became a Christian was:
“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Linda and I have often prayed through the years, “Lord, help Yourself to our lives; use us whether in strength or weakness for Your glory.”
I’ll not take the time, space or energy here to address those who proclaim that the Christian should never be sick, never suffer and never be tested. Scripture clearly teaches us that we dwell in corruptible bodies, we will suffer at times and the testing that these seasons of physical, emotional and even spiritual challenges present is the very thing that “fits” us for kingdom service.
These “seasons” teach us how to comfort those we will meet in their affliction, with the same comfort with which we have been comforted.
Scripture says, “Fear not,” fret not thyself, and “be anxious for nothing.”
These admonitions must work in these crucial times of testing or they will work nowhere!
Oswald Chambers says, “All of our fret and worry comes from calculating without God.” I love that, and it’s so true.
Joy in the Time of Sorrow
In all this, Linda and I just want you to know, there really is a peace that passes our understanding and it does guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, even when all evidence to the contrary would seek to influence us otherwise.
I wrote the lines to the chorus of I Have Hope some years ago that say:
I have joy in the time of sorrow
I have peace in the raging storm
I have faith that Jesus holds tomorrow
I have hope, I’m resting in His arms
I will tell you, those lines have a much deeper meaning for us now than when I wrote them. Those words are true for us and by God’s grace they will be true for you!
God Continues to Perform Miracles
Linda did have a tumor removed from her brain at around 10:00am, Monday, February 27th. It was the same breast cancer she’s dealt with for years.
The surgeon got all he could see and said he would recommend some follow up pinpoint radiation.
Linda’s spirit, attitude and cognitive abilities never suffered one bit from the surgery. She spent a couple weeks in rehab getting her left arm and leg to cooperate a little better. They improved daily and I’m confident that by the time you read this letter, she will be home and doing wonderfully.
She’s an amazing woman! And don’t misunderstand, we believe in a miracle working God who could instantaneously remove every cancer cell from her body. We will continue to pray as we have for almost thirty years now that He will.
But He has performed a miracle. Linda is a miracle! She was diagnosed stage 4 nearly twenty-five years ago, and she just keeps on going for the glory of God.
Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (II Corinthians 12:9)
Early on in this present ordeal, our daughter Jennifer texted us another verse Paul wrote that encourages us to be:
“…joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
We have been joyful in hope, patient through the process and prayer without ceasing has been our mainstay.
And in these things we have found Peace.