Well, I am just now returning from Houston after my latest round of tests. It appears that my Lord has different plans for me right now than we anticipated. The tests revealed yet some residual active cancer in at least one new lymph node. Yuck! We were pretty surprised as we all expected a clear set of reports this time. Disappointed…yes! Fearful…no (at least not for long)!
We now await the final lab reports and the doctor’s recommendations. He says it most likely means a new round of chemo and radiation to attack this remaining enemy. I guess I will get another chance to “enjoy” Houston for 6 more weeks or so. Not sure yet when that will begin, but I once again ask for your patience, and your prayers, as I return to the “active battlefield”. As always, we trust God in these days and know He always remains faithful and in control regarding His children…and His ways are not our ways. We praise Him in ALL things. (although we must acknowledge that is is not always easy)
I ask you to lift up my dear wife and family during this unexpected development. They all immediately gathered together in Atlanta to pray for me (and each other) as they received the news of the latest issue to be faced. I have been blessed with such faith-filled prayer warriors in my children…. and of course my wife…no one could wonder if God is “aware” after hearing (loudly, and persistently) from them as they pray. Other close friends have been equally amazing, and I am so grateful for such support and “intercession”. I am in great hands. Prayer matters.
I am sure this report is unsettling for some of you…but we must remember that it is not at all a problem for the God who made us, and loves us, and is with us in these fires. I imagine that you (as with us) were ready for this unpleasant chapter of my life to be “over” so we could all get back to “normal”. It is that way with us,,, that we all get “problem fatigue”. We can rise up to pray and be strong and keep each others’ challenges and needs in our thoughts and prayers….for a while. And then we get tired of it, and want the situation to go away. Amen! But sometimes God has other plans and purposes. Sometimes we apparently need “longer” in a fire to refine us and make us and test us and reveal His love for us and His power in different ways.
I remain confident in my eventual full healing, and will enter this next phase with peace and optimism… because that is what God has commanded and provided for. Make no mistake…I do not “like” this news, and was not anxious at all to re-enter the world of radiation/chemo etc. I was preparing to emerge soon and rejoin all of you in our quest for excellence in life and business. I will yet do just that…although it seems a bit later than I thought.
These “interruptions” and detours are part of what makes us into more “useful” leaders and influencers. It is all in how we respond, and in whom we trust. The Bible is clear that suffering and disappointments and setbacks are a part of each life. Jesus said to his disciples; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
We are taught that our eventual victory has already been won through Christ…and we are asked simply to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength ….and love others as well. We are taught to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. We are commanded to “Fear not”! He has our back!
As I sat in the waiting area yesterday for my endoscopy, I was again given a great opportunity to gain perspective. The procedure was supposed to happen at 10 AM, but they needed to add something after reviewing the PET scan…so I waited in my little gown and bed for 5 more hours (with no food or water since the night before). The area is filled with others awaiting their similar tests…..quite an “equalizer”. I overheard a lady next to me explaining to her doctor that she has three cancers at the same time. Breast, kidney and leukemia! Wow. She has been battling it for more than two years. I prayed for her silently and recognized again how each problem we face is often “better” than what others face. Good perspective.
I like to remember daily (and share with you) that we too often keep God too small. We act often like He is just a little bit bigger than we are…a little bit more powerful, a little more forgiving, a little more able to affect things. In the beginning, we were created in His image…and yet for thousands of years man has tried to portray God in our own image instead…and then blame Him when things aren’t as we want. Some people fear Him incorrectly as though He is a heavenly mean old man who is looking to zap anyone who is not living right. A “spoil-sport.” Others see Him as a cosmic “force” who perhaps started the universe, but then looked away as it runs it’s own course….unable or unwilling to intervene. The Bible is clear that He is “huge” and sovereign and loving and trustworthy….and is willing to have a personal relationship with any of His children who ask and trust. Christ came to show us this way…..and validated all of His claims through His miracles and resurrection. He offers eternal life! This one on earth is but a blink of an eye.
Is God big enough for our “problems”? Maybe this will help put it in perspective. Light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second (that’s fast!). At that speed, it only takes about 1.5 seconds to travel from the earth to the moon (about 240,000 miles away). It takes light about 8 seconds to get from the sun to the earth (93 million miles!). But it takes six years to get to the nearest other star and that is still in our own galaxy of more than 200 Billion stars!
There are as many as 500 Billion galaxies each with hundreds of billions of stars. For light to travel from the farthest edge of the known universe, it would take 12 billion years (at 186,000 miles a second). So much of what we see in the sky as we look at these thousands of stars from multiple galaxies, is actually light that originated millions (or billions) of years ago…those stars may not even be in existence any longer…but we won’t “see” that until the light reaches us. I think we might be gone by then. I’m talking BIG! (feel small yet?)
So what’s the point? God created all that, and exists outside of it all! He is not limited to three dimensions, and He is not limited by time. He is, and always was, and always will be. That’s big. That’s who we worship and serve. That is who wants a relationship with His creation (you and me) ….a personal one. Amazing.
So…..you have Business problems? Marriage dramas? Financial setbacks? Health crises? He says “Fear not”! He has a plan. We are in His hands. But we must acknowledge Him, believe in His son who was sent to provide the gift of salvation, healing, and eternal life….and trust Him to meet our needs. According to His time and perfect will….not ours. That is why peace comes easier.
So, I am ready! I am grateful. I am expecting miracles because He is able. And I trust His timing and His promises. Regardless. You all give me great comfort and strength. Your prayers and encouragement are incredible. Thanks for being there. God is always with us, and for us.
Now, I will get even more time to read/write etc. It sure is a different chapter…but one that will bless me I know. Please continue to seek God’s favor on our family during this time of trial and faith testing. We are all still processing this newest information…but with you as friends and prayer partners…and God as our deliverer…we are at peace, and have on the “full armor of God”.
PS. As I finish this…John Maxwell called me from China! We shared the latest news and he prayed for me before his meeting. He was reminded of a famous quote from Charles Spurgeon: “God is too good to be unkind, and too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.”
Let’s trust Him in this. Are ya with me?