Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hope - Part 1

First,  my apologies if you have been checking to see anything new just to find the same old thing.  After learning that the Tarceva did not work, I needed a break.  I had grown wary of building my hopes up just  to see them dashed on the cold, hard rocks of reality.  Each time I would rebuild just to find that there were pieces missing.  I awoke one morning with the idea in my head that if I was looking for hope, I should start with the Bible.  I decided to look up each verse with the word hope, write it in my notebook, and then write my feelings and thoughts about each verse.  Just in case you are interested, in my NASB translation there are 31 verses in 21 different books of the Bible.  What follows are some of those verses with what I wrote. 

Job 17:15 Where now is my hope?  And who regards my hope?

I know just how Job feels.  I feel like all of the hope I had when this started is being slowly drained away from me.  I need something to plug the hole.

Psalm 9:18 For the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.

I think at this point I would consider myself one of the needy.  I need some good news; healing would be great.  I feel like I have been forgotten.  Is God hearing me?

I would also say that I am afflicted.  My hope will not perish forever.  I just pray that God sends a lifeline soon.

Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is in you.

The bottom line is that I am losing faith in the doctors and medicine.  Why am I the guy that things don't work for?  I have to put my hope in the Lord to provide the healing.

Psalm 71:5 For you are my hope; O Lord God, you are my confidence from my youth.

When I look back through my life, it is easy to see where God worked on my behalf.  Is He working today?  Is He trying to bring me to the point where I recognize He is all the hope I have?

Proverbs 19:18  Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.

Is God disciplining me?  Part of the word discipline is disciple.  In all of this frustration and disappointment, is God trying to teach me something?   I must be a slow learner.  I wish He would hurry and finish the lesson or at least let me peek at the lesson plan.

He does not desire my death.  God's desire is for me to be completely healed.  I guess the healing will come after the lesson is complete.

Jeremiah 17:13  O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame.  Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.

Could it be that there is someone watching me that has turned away from the Lord?  Will He eventually use my healing to draw them back?  I need to find this person and give them a hug.

The Lord is the fountain of living water.  I need a long, cool drink!

Well, there are the first few verses.  I will admit to having more questions than answers, but I have faith that God will answer them in His timing as we continue our journey down this road called cancer.

Thanks once again for all of your prayers for healing, encouragement and support. 

Love you all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Do you ever stop and think about the people you call friends?  I am not sure that I have ever really given it much thought.  I know that there are some people that I hold a little closer than others.  With the way things are today, people just come and go through our lives.  We move on and make new friends.  Some friends we stay in touch with because our lives are intertwined.  Other friends just stay on our Christmas card list.

One thing that I am learning is that DeLayne and I have great friends.  We have friends that come mow our yard and take care of our house while we are gone.  Friends that have brought us snacks or meals to show they care.  Some of our friends just have a knack for showing up when they know we need a laugh or a hug.  Others just seem to know when we can use a phone call to check up on us or an e-mail to encourage us.

I have wondered how these friends know what we need when we need it.  I guess my only explanation is that God prompts them.  During my quiet time last Monday, I read a Bible verse that perfectly describes this kind of friendship.  In Philippians chapter four there are some great verses for cancer patients:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."  But right there in verse 14, Paul describes the kind of friends that DeLayne and I have:

"Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction."

Notice that he says "in my affliction."  These are the friends that are in the battle with you.  These are the kind of friends that we are blessed to have surrounding us now.

I guess, if there was one piece of advice that I could give young people it would be this:  Build your life with and surround yourselves with the kind of friends that will share in your afflictions.  They will make a difference in your life.

Thanks for being our friends!

Love, Chris and DeLayne

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blessed Assurance

Well, here I sit.  In slightly less than forty-eight hours I will again be injected with a radioactive glucose solution and placed in a machine to be scanned from the tip of my nose to my belly button.  The results of the scan will show if the lung cancer has continued to advance or if we have struck a blow against this beast in my chest.  As I think about this, I can't help but think that I should feel more anxious about this next week, but strangely I don't.  I have shared before how I was told that the battle would be long and hard but that I would be healed.  Even since that time, God has continued to give me assurances that eventually I will be healed.  I pray daily that he would let me in on the time line and plan but He has chosen not to do that.  Until such time He chooses to give me more details, I will have to live with the assurances He has given me.

One morning after beginning the Tarceva, I could feel fatigue beginning to set in.  I had finished my morning devotional reading and asked God to give me a little extra for the day.  The Bible that I use is the Life Application Study Bible.  At the beginning of each book, there is an introduction and blueprint for that book.  After asking God for the little extra, I randomly opened my Bible.  I looked down to see that my Bible had opened to the introduction to Matthew.  I thought I must have missed by a page or two and flipped back and forth.  Not seeing anything else, I had decided to just close my Bible and get on with my day.  That's when I heard this slightly exasperated voice in my head say "just read the introduction."  As I read, I remember thinking to myself, what does this have to do with fighting cancer.  As soon as I reached the final paragraph, my eyes began to tear.  There were these words:

"As you read this Gospel, listen to Matthew's clear message: Jesus is the Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Celebrate his victory over evil and death, and make Jesus the Lord of your life."

Jesus has already fought this battle for me and I look forward to the day that we can rejoice in His victory.

After coming home from the hospital from the bout with pneumonia, I was unable to get comfortable in bed one evening.  Instead of lying there thinking whatever random thoughts popped into my head, I decided to go lay on the couch.  After reading a little from another book, I felt that I should read my Bible.  I said a prayer along the lines of 'God, I am not feeling too good tonight.  Please show me something that there are better days ahead.'  I opened my Bible and there before my eyes was Malachi 4:2.

"But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall."

That, my friends, brings a whole new meaning to sunrise.

Finally, I am going to tell you something that after you read it, you may be tempted to call the guys in the white jackets.  The Bible talks about angels and how we are each given one.  However, I may be the only person who is going to admit to actually seeing his. 

While I was going through all of the diagnostic testing, early one morning I was asleep in the hotel room.  I was having a dream, and in my dream I was in the same hotel room and facing the door to the bedroom. Suddenly I realized  that there was a man standing in the door way.  I remember thinking, "Why is that man in the doorway?"  He was dressed in either a robe or gown that was tied at the waist.  Slowly he walked across the room to my side of the bed.  As I looked at him, he bent over and laid his hand on my chest.  The sensation of being touched was so real that it startled me awake.  I have thought about this for several weeks trying to figure out what it all meant.  I have finally concluded that this was my guardian angel simply telling me that he is in this battle with me and watching over me.     

As I head into this next week that will determine what direction we go next, I am leaning on these blessed assurances.

Thanks once again to everyone who is out there praying for me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Finding the Right Gear

Whenever I get to ride my bicycle, I notice that there are times that the pedaling seems effortless.  There is a natural rhythm to my legs and breathing.  That is when I know I have found the right gear.  There is a lot of life that is the same way.  We find ourselves in a rhythm and we just roll through the day feeling good about our lives.  Then something comes along and knocks us out of our natural rhythm and we find ourselves desperately looking for anyway to find it again.  On a bike, that's when I realize I am riding uphill in way too big of a gear. 

For me, fighting cancer is very similar to this.  If I can find the rhythm between taking the medicine, eating, sleeping and other daily activities, I begin to feel better.  My biggest problem up until now has been being able to find that rhythm and stay in it.  Every time I think I am about to find the right gear something else comes along and knocks me out of my rhythm.  The last two weeks pneumonia has been what's done this to me.  Just when I think I have the pneumonia under control, the side effects from some of the medicines kicks in and I have to start all over again.

Last Tuesday was a day that I had to start over again.  Monday had gone well and I was beginning to feel like I was getting there.  Then Monday evening, I noticed a strange taste to my food.  Then just like that, everything started tasting bad.  Tuesday morning I had to choke down my breakfast and I could feel my energy level begin drop from the lack of food.  As I got in my truck and headed to work, I began to ask if this was ever going to end.  I was driving to work when I realized that I was pedaling uphill in way too big a gear.  I was one stop light away from turning around, going back home to bed and pulling the covers over my head when I was reminded Who is large and in charge.  As if on queue, a song by Casting Crowns came on the radio that fit me perfectly.  The title of the song is Praise You in This Storm.  I won't retype the lyrics here but if you would like to read them go here:

God used this song to provide the kick in the pants that I needed and remind me that no matter the circumstances, I am to look to Him for help and praise Him.  I will not lie to you and tell you that right now I am able to praise God for cancer but slowly He is teaching me to give Him praise in the midst of this storm.

Sometimes the problem is not the gear you are in but who is pedaling the bike. 

Thanks once again for all of your prayers.