Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV)
We all take comfort in the strength that is promised in this verse. But there is a key word we often forget: “wait”.
Since my surgery on April 24th I have had to do a lot of waiting…
- waiting to get out of the hospital (two hospitals, to be precise).
- waiting to go home from Milan after another week of constant checkups
- waiting to be able to eat real food again
- waiting to be able to read to my kids and pray out loud with them
- waiting for biopsy results
- waiting for stitches to come out
- waiting for be able to preach, teach, disciple, talk, eat without pain(I’m still waiting on that one!)
Waiting has been a blessing in many ways.
- It has helped me appreciate the patience and hard work of those around me, picking up my slack.
- It has helped me have something to look forward to.
- It has helped me delegate and swallow my pride as others excel at things I love doing.
- It has helped me have time to reconnect with God on a deeper level through prayer, reading and meditation on God’s Word and truth.
- It has helped me see God at work.
And God has been at work!
On May 22nd I went back to Milan with Claudio for my one-month checkup. They gave me more good bad news… an in-depth biopsy of the part of tongue they removed found another carcinoma in situ. So…more cancer, but the doctor does not see the need to take more (up to half my tongue)! You can imagine the roller coaster of conversations I had with myself and those around me. Here is a sample:Pessimistic me: “More cancer!” Optimistic me: “But they got it all.” Pessimistic me: “But this is the fourth time!” Optimistic me: “Well, in situ is the best kind to have because it didn’t spread.” Pessimistic me: “But when will it end?” Optimistic me: “Hopefully now!” Pessimistic me: “But what if it doesn’t?”
John Calvin said it this way:“not a particle of light, or wisdom, or justice, or power, or rectitude, or genuine truth, will anywhere be found, which does not flow from him, and of which he is not the cause; in this this way we must learn to expect and ask all things from him, and thankfully ascribe to him whatever we receive.” [My emphasis] (Institutes of the Christian Religion Book I Chapter II p. 40-41)
Despite the setbacks and the waiting we have much to be grateful for. In fact, God is working above and beyond our expectations and we can only look ahead to all He will do. Here are a few clear signs of God’s blessing and protection:
- The carcinoma was in situ, therefore it did not spread. The doctors don’t even want to see me again until September!
- We are so loved and feel so loved!!!
- When I got back from the hospital I had almost 800 e-mail messages…mostly of encouragement or of people wanting to help. (Now you understand why it has taken me so long to write again!)
- MANY people have sent money to help cover my medical and travel expenses and even just to help me buy books to read during my recovery!
- Despite the burden of work of the ministry, our co-workers/family have encouraged me to take all the time I need to get better.
- God has amazingly mended some relationships that are very important in our life and ministry.
- We have had and will have several outreach opportunities:
- Music outreach
- Soccer outreach
- We have had some precious family times!
What more could we ask for? This very well may be one of the best years of our life!
Here are just a few important requests:
- Pray that my tongue would heal enough to get back to preaching and teaching, since Dann and Liz leave on June 13th for their 8 month long furlough. I will be taking over several of their responsibilities in their absence: youth ministry, men’s ministry, staff leadership and…administrative duties (Lord help me!).
- That God would help us to catch up on so many things that I am behind on because of my illness and that we can manage our time and finances better.
- For Sunday’s baptisms and the choosing of our first deacons.
- That we can continue to improve at training leaders, in order to bring this church to independence.
- Our residence papers. Apparently they won’t renew Melodee’s residence papers without further documentation, including a marriage certificate with an apostille from Michigan that is translated and legalized.
Thank you for sticking with us as I continue to wait on God’s renewing of my strength, meditating and delegating!