Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Right People, Right Place, Right Time

About one year ago my symptoms began to appear. We had no idea the journey that we were about to begin, and it would take another three months before we would have the diagnosis. Looking back over the past year, it is obvious that God has placed each stepping stone in our pathway and securely placed our feet on each stone along the way. Early on I prayed that God would place the right people in the right place at the right time to help us deal with cancer. This has been an amazing journey, and God has been faithful to answer this prayer.

One of the first people that God sent my way was a dog. No, I mean a REAL dog. At our house, dogs are people too. Pepper came along the morning after I was told that I had Stage IV lung cancer. I just needed something to laugh about, and there came Pepper bouncing into the water fountain. I never thought watching a dog try to catch water as it spurted from a fountain could supply such joy. Even today, I still smile when I think about Pepper going from spout to spout trying to catch that water.

Another person that God used was my Gamma Knife nurse. We were introduced the day before at my pre-operation appointment. On my way out of the clinic, she said that she would see me bright and early the next morning. I replied with, "You be sure to get a good night's sleep." She thought that was pretty funny, but early the next morning, there we both were. She escorted me all morning and pushed me all over the hospital. She was Johnny on the spot all morning with information about what was happening and what the next step would be. She seemed to sense that I needed information to deal with the situation and that silence was not good for me. During our talks, I learned that she is not a Christian and no longer practices the faith she grew up in. She now is on my prayer list.

When I had to be admitted to the hospital after my third chemo treatment, God sent another nurse to minister to me in a special way. After seeing me reading my Bible, she shared with me a message she had seen on television that day about healing. She looked at me and asked if I had faith that I would be healed. When I replied, "Yes," she walked over to my bedside and placed her hands on my chest and then prayed for my complete healing. I doubt they teach that in nursing school.

To prepare me for the clinical trial, I was treated to a day of tests and scans. One of the scans was a bone scan. I had not had a bone scan before and was concerned because it seemed like each time a new test was done, cancer was found somewhere else in my body. After completing the bone scan, I went for blood work and an EKG. When I entered the room for the EKG, I noticed a Bible on the technician's desk. As I was beginning to lie down on the table, she asked if I believed in God. When I replied yes, she asked if I would like to hear some music. When I said that I thought that would be okay, she started a song on her computer. I don't recall the title of the song, but it was about how great God is, and I was reminded that no matter the outcome of the bone scan, God would not be surprised and had the situation under His control.

There have been friends and family members who just seemed to know when I needed a phone call, text, or an e-mail for encouragement. Others have brought us food and nourished us both physically and spiritually. We will never be able to thank them enough for standing with us during this time.

God has taught me over the past year that He will answer prayers at a time, place, and way of His choosing. I look at people differently now knowing that God has placed each one of them in my path for His purposes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sin and Love Held Him There

He had led them back to the garden. Whenever He wanted to be alone and pray, this is where He would go. They had just finished the Passover meal, and He had washed their feet. There had been an exchange between Him and Judas; Judas had run from the room and had not returned.

Now Jesus and the remaining eleven had returned to the garden. Eight of the disciples had stopped to rest. Peter, James, and John went on ahead with Jesus. Jesus told them to watch and pray and then went on to pray by Himself. A short while later Jesus returned to find them sleeping, and He encouraged them again to watch and pray. They could tell by the way Jesus looked and acted that He was in anguish. But they still couldn’t stay awake, and he returned again to find them sleeping. He woke them and told them that His time was at hand.

They could see the mob coming up the hill. Judas was leading the mob, and Jesus went out to meet them. Judas stepped forward and kissed Jesus on the cheek, and the mob moved to arrest Jesus. Peter leaped forward to defend Jesus and pulled his knife, slicing off the ear of a servant. Jesus admonished Peter to put away his knife. He didn’t need Peter to defend Him. If He wanted to, He could call down the angles in heaven and they would lay waste to the mob, but that was not His plan. Jesus was led away by the mob to be tried.

Jesus didn’t defend Himself at the trial. He was led from place to place, beaten multiple times, mocked and spat upon. And still no retaliation would come from Him. He was made to carry His own cross until His strength was gone. The Roman solders nailed His hands and feet to the cross, and the taunting continued as they gambled for His clothes. Look at Him there, hanging on that cross. Blood pouring down His face from the crown of thorns pressed into His head. His body bloodied and bruised from the beatings. His shoulders have been dislocated and His legs strain to keep his body upright, gasping for air. Jesus Christ was experiencing complete and total humiliation.

Would He call the angels now? The angles had to be ready, incensed by the treatment of God Almighty by a world that didn’t deserve Him; they could have come and taken Him back to heaven where He belonged. No, He would not call on the angels in heaven. He stayed there on that cross, but why? What held Him on the cross? The soldiers? The nails? None of these kept Him hanging on the cross. It was the sin of the world, your sin, my sin, and His love for us that kept Him there. Isn’t it amazing that while hanging there on that cross Jesus Christ could see my face and know that the only way I could enter heaven was for Him to die on that cross, and He chose to do it any way?