Carmen and I have been absolutely overwhelmed at the exposure my last post received. The famous Christian philosopher, C. S. Lewis once remarked on suffering in this way: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” This has certainly proven to be true in our lives and in the responses of my readers. God has indeed used the suffering He has placed in front of us to rouse our attention and our dependence upon Him. And it appears that God has used our trials to minister to thousands of readers as well.
Paul and Timothy describe the result of their suffering in 2 Corinthians 1:9 – “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Granted, the context of our circumstance and that of the apostles in the first century differ drastically, but this is exactly how we have felt since our first update. We felt that God had delivered to us a death sentence and we did despair. I, in particular, experienced bouts with doubt and even some anxiety attacks as I endeavored to navigate the feelings that accompany such dire circumstances. But God has proven Himself faithful. He has show me my absolute inadequacy and inability to help my wife, forcing me to lean on His power, His goodness, and His sovereign grace. I have begun to learn how to rely not on myself, but on the God who reigns over all creation. He is good and has been good to us.
In the past month, God has led Carmen through a successful double mastectomy on September 11th (yet another reason to never forget that fateful date). The doctors removed two large tumors from her right side as well as all of the lymph nodes on that side as well. God has brought about a swift and eventless recovery from the surgery. He has set us up with the most excellent doctors in the area. And…here’s the best news…get ready…He has used the surgery to remove all of the cancer from Carmen’s body! Her scans have come back clean!
Despite the clean scans, Carmen is still facing chemotherapy. In fact, we are sitting in the chemotherapy room for her first treatment as I type these very words. While we dread the reality of chemotherapy in the coming months, we know that God is working for our good and that He will provide the strength we need to make it through this trial. He has already proven Himself in mighty ways thus far and we, like Paul and Timothy, believe that: “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10). And we continue to ask for your prayers as we stare down chemo, just as Paul and Timothy asked for the prayers of the saints as they endured trials much worse than ours: “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:11).
It is our prayer and our hope that as God proves Himself in our trials that you see us struggle well. We ask you to watch us. We ask you to read our words. We ask that you stand with us and support us. And we promise that we will do our very best to make much of Jesus as we struggle. We pray that God will speak loudly and clearly through the megaphone of our pain so that deaf ears will be roused and dead hearts awakened to His marvelous goodness! Many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessings God has granted us.
Please forgive me for not posting recently. I did not feel I had anything worth saying until now. This morning as I sat in the oncologist’s waiting room, I read through 2 Corinthians. What a balm that was for my wounds. God came through in the clutch to deliver a warm blanket for my soul through His Word!
Are you hurting? Are you suffering? Are you going through a trial? Then I entreat you, open your Bible and read Second Corinthians right now. Paul and Timothy show us how to suffer well for the glory of God and in the hope provided by His Son Jesus. May you be ministered to as I have been through God’s living Word.
I plan to write again in the next few days. Stay tuned!