Have you ever wanted something so bad, prayed so hard, believed, and when it seemed all was going well, it was so good you were stunned with momentary fear and doubt? I have experienced that.
Cheryl finished her chemo and had an MRI to compare with the MRI prior to beginning treatment. The news was exceptional! The tumor has decreased by approximately 80%. The Oncologist cannot feel the tumor and this has been true for several visits. Her words were "You should have a real big smile on your face. This is excellent!" By every measurement, Cheryl has responded to treatment beyond medical expectation.
Our next appointment was a week later with Cheryl's surgeon. We had not seen him since the beginning of the journey. He came in, did a physical exam, and could not find the tumor! He had reviewed all the results of the previous tests and treatment.
We were fully expecting a mastectomy with reconstructive follow-up surgery. He looked at Cheryl, smiled and said, "Why don't we go in there as soon as we can, do a lumpectomy, radiate, and you'll be finished by Halloween." Say what??? What about the mastectomy, reconstruction, etc.? Oh yeah - answered prayer!
Both doctors have consulted together and are on the same page. They believe for several positive reasons this is the best path of treatment and nothing is compromised by this path. One said what is left showing on the MRI may be scar tissue. So, August 11, Cheryl will have a lumpectomy removing enough tissue to leave a safe margin and be followed by radiation and medication.
We were encouraged at our church last Wednesday. One of our very good friends had similar treatment 10 years ago and she is cancer free.
We were surprised and thrilled. But is it real? We have prayed for this. You have prayed for this. Is it happening? Is that doubt? If we doubt, will it compromise faith and her healing?
All of us in our family are trusting God and very grateful for all He is doing and for your prayers. Here is my own journey.
I had initial doubts. It can't be this smooth, can it? Then a bit of anger. Anger at my own doubt and even wondering if any questions were doubt. Of course that is ridiculous. I believe God expects us to be prudent and any work He does will not be hindered by our being wise and prudent. Honestly, I look back and think I was afraid one of us would do something to tick God off and Cheryl wouldn't be healed.
THANK GOD FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE PROMISE OF JESUS in John 16:13, "He will guide you into all truth." One aspect of that truth is the true character of God. His ways are not childish.
I reflected on that first Midnight hour when the Spirit woke me, and over and over I was hearing in my spirit, 'if you ask for a fish, will he give you a serpent?'. That is when we first began to call this cancer "the snake", and said we were on a snake-killing path.
The answer to most prayer, or at least the foundation on which to stand, is in the Scriptures. I am amazed at the bizarre logic of moderates and liberals who say the doctrine of the Inerrancy of Scripture is not a major doctrine. How would one ever know any truth without the authority of God's written Word?
As I worked through my own feeling, I believe the Holy Spirit brought to mind several Scriptures that helped and again assured me of the love and faithfulness of God and that indeed, this is a snake and God is going to kill it.
Jesus looked at Simon Peter and said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked ('demanded', ESV) for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail:..." (Luke 22:31,32 NKJV).
Isn't that great? At the very moment Simon was going to go through his greatest test, and fail, Jesus was praying for him. At the moment Simon's faith would be at it's weakest, the intercession of the Great Intercessor would be at it's strongest on Simon's behalf. And so it was with me. The value of the promise of God given early in the journey would not be negated by a momentary lapse on my part.
Then I thought of Rhoda. In Acts 12 Peter was in jail. The church was in prayer for his release. He was released and went to the house where the church was praying. Rhoda, a servant girl, answered the door, recognized his voice, and was so excited she forgot to open the door! She ran back inside and told the praying church that Peter was at the door. What did this faith community say? "It is his angel."
They were praying and when the answer came, were so astonished they thought it could not be true! So God got really angry and put Peter back in prison. Not true. The church grew and the persecutors were confused.
I remembered a text of a sermon by one of my father's old friends. "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God." (Romans 4:20, NKJV)
I and we are praising God for these excellent reports and for his strengthening in a momentary question, "Is this really happening"?
It has been so long and we are very tired. Very. Cheryl is beginning to regain strength from the devastation of chemo. I'm sort of numb. We are at half-time and we are leading. But there is a lot of game to play. We are very grateful for your continued prayers. I am confidently praying the lab results from the surgery will reveal the snake is dead!
My next blog post in a few days will begin to focus on areas of ministry. Thank you for your love and prayers.