Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Stool is Kicked Out

Yesterday I got my biopsy results. My wife and I had prayed and prayed. The closer we got to the appointment, the more urgently we prayed. We prayed in the car. We prayed all the way into the building. Out loud. Must have seemed a little weird to the people we were walking through. Prayed in the elevator. Prayed in the waiting room. Prayed desperately in the appointment room. "God don't let them find it to be malignent cancer."

And it was.

It felt like our last medical hope was kicked out from under us just like that. The tumor on my kidney is 6 inches across. No wonder I'm almost always feeling bloated and can't eat much.

Despair really overwhelmed us. Our worst fears gripped us and we wept and wept. Just sat and cried. How can it be that every time we look for an answer the situation turns incredibly worse? How can it be that every time we look to God to bail us out here, He turns the tide against us? How can it be that our last medical hope - physical hope is now gone? The worst case scenerio. Renal (kidney) cancer. A really big one. And spreading to the liver and lungs. Now confirmed.

How do you tell your children? When their young tender hearts have been praying that God would take away the cancer? When they have prayed with you many times each day with all the faith they could muster? We had to look them in they eyes and tell them of the results. No one should ever have to do that! It's the hardest thing in the world! And it hurt so bad to have to do it.

With my family in absolute despair around me, my strength began to fail. Up till now, I had been fighting for peace. Fighting for joy. Fighting for strength. Fighting for hope. And I could feel the battle turning. How can a man be strong for his family as they desapair around him? What does he say to console them? When the stool gets kicked out from under him?

It all began to slip away and I began to think of Job. You know the guy from the Bible who had everything taken away by God. Oldest story in the book. God allows then enemy to take away all that Job has to test him. And Job mourns and calls out to God in anguish.

The self-pity began creep in and my strength of faith began to show signs of cracking. My family could see it and it did nothing to help them.

But then the comparison didn't fit. Remember Job. There was at least one very different thing about my situation from Job's. And the difference was a HUGE one!

People.

Job was surrounded by accusing friends who did nothing to support him. They tore him down. Even his wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Job's friends worked systematically through his life to erode his faith in God and his hope.

But as the evening came, some friends and family came. And some called. And some prayed. And some listened to us cry out shamefully. But they didn't judge. And they didn't despair. Some brought flowers. Some brought snacks. Some brought words of encouragement. Some brought appetite (thanks bro). All of them brought us such encouragement!

God uses His people so powerfully! It's amazing! They really are His hands and feet and voice! They really are an extension of Himself! Literally.

My wife and I pondered yesterday the story of Elijah and the the showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. Where Elijah offers to the people a chance to find out which god is really God - Baal or God. After giving them plenty of time to see if they could get Baal to light a fire under his sacrifice, Elijah orders that the sacrifice to God be doused with water. Several times. And that a big trench be dug around it to hold lots of water. Let there be no doubt that this was going to take a extremely HUGE miracle. And God sends fire to consume the entire sacrifice. WHOOOMP!

Why did Elijah (and God) want a bigger demonstration? Because it brought greater glory to God! It was that much more unbelievablely great! It was that much more awe-inspiring! It will be told with wider eyes and louder voices. It will be told for that much longer and be told that much more. To God be the glory!

Maybe that's what He's doing in me. Maybe He wants to push the envelope a little more. Maybe trust in God isn't really trust in God until that's all you're holding on to.

I don't know what God's purposes are in this. But the stool has been kicked out. My friends have supported my faith at just the time I needed them. I'm still believing that God has a purpose. And my family has survived despair.

As small sign of encouragement, I had a half-decent night's sleep - first one in a long time. Thank you God! Today I will look to God for strength and find it. Each of my family will too. I'm humbled and the tears flow freely, but not in despair.

16 Comments:

At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Dan said...

I am praying for you Dwayne

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Twyla said...

Medicine may have no hope for you, but your hope is in God alone.

More in my email to you.

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DH,
I opened your blog with eager anticipation. And no... it's not what we prayed for... and I don't know what God is going to do here. But Mark and I will pray that you have strength for the moment.

People have been asking if I've been "lonely" in the office. You didn't spend a lot of time here this past year, but it's still different... and yes... a little lonely in a way.

Keep talking to us DH...many people have mentioned that your blog is a ministry. How true! Even to me :) God can use you - questions, fears, trust, faith, weaknesses and all, just as he used David. You're writing your own psalms! I believe we as a body are learning to know who Dwayne is more in the last few days than we have in the entire four years at Living Hope. Authenticity - it's our value and you're modelling it as you've never done!!!

And we will continue to read and listen to your heart, listening to a man who, like Job, suffered, but, Praise God, had friends who were willing to share in his sufferings. Never forget the picture of all those open hands at the prayer meeting.

Moira

 
At June 30, 2005, Blogger dan said...

What can I say ... I'm gutted! I'm sad. I'm still calling on the Lord to change the physical.

::dan::

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep writing and sharing Dwayne. You have people all over the world praying for you and your family. And when you have moments of despair (you are human) we will lift you and yours up- carrying you as brothers and sisters in Christ!As your friends and as your LH community. We aren't called Living Hope by coincidence! We care about you so much.
You talked about being humble in your blog. The other day one of my clients told me that she heard a "lightbulb" phrase that explains humility and for the first time she got it."Humility is the ability to stand and the willingness to kneel." I see humility in you whenever you speak - whether to my face at church or in your blog. What a gift that is to me and many others.

Praying you can spend sometime in the sunshine with your family, that you find strength one day at a time and that your soul in nurtured in the way it needs to be today.

Blessings,
Wendy

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwayne & Janet.
We continue to pray and share your blog with others that we may expand the number of saints that will intercede for you. B&K

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Clarence said...

We weep for you and with you in these times when God's hand seems to have a hard back and a soft palm. Your laments fit.

Jeremiah's perspective on peace may reflect some of the journey: Jer 4:10, 6:14, 8:15, 14:19, 30:5, 30:10, 33:6, 33:9, 46:27.

(This may seem trivial to say at this point Dwayne, but your writing is good, very good. You are real and yet amazingly focused amidst a torrent of rock-splitting emotion. God is using you through this medium and I personally thank you for your courage and perseverance in sharing.)

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Darren said...

My brother and I were talking about faith the other day. I had asked him to pray for you Dwayne, and told him that I really hoped that I had at least that mustard grain of faith. There were mountains that needed moving. He thought that God might also recognize the tiny bit of faith in all of us, and collectively we could bring that mustard seed amount into reality. I know that God's throne is being petitioned on your behalf, Dwayne, and often. I truly feel that we are sharing in your suffering, as I can't hold the tears back myself.

I wept the other day when I read that you FEEL the prayers of the saints. I remember very well the peace that that feeling was to me, as I didn't know if God could hear me through the fog that I was in.

I love you, my brother, and it would hurt me deeply to lose you. Therefore, I am doing everything I can to keep you here. Selfish, I know!

I can't help but have this song going through my head...

"Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PTL for a decent rest! That's an answer to prayer!!

I agree wholeheartedly with the people here who have pointed out your gift for communicating clearly and ever so captivatingly with the pen/keyboard! The gift you've been given to do this is amazing! Please continue to use it!!

I wanted to remind you of a few very familiar words of King David. I know they are very nice in other translations, but I find something solid and enduring about the KJV (besides, my memory recalls it that way).

"He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. FOR THOU ART WITH ME. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me... Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Praying that God will show himself near and constant,
Joanne D

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our Lord and Father weeps as you weep Dwayne... as Janet & your children weep..... surely as He must have wept and turned away as His Son cried out in the Garden. God heard your prayers as you rode in your car, walked through the hospital, sat in the waiting room. He heard the trusting prayers of your boys. We know that He only needs to blink and your suffering would be gone, but for some reason, beyond our human understanding He is holding out... He knows the plan He has for each of you...and right now as we all "present our request to God" He only promises "His Peace, which transends all understanding"... nothing more. May your boys know that God heard them and will continue to hear them.. and all of us, and that He is a merciful God. May we lift you Dwayne, as a corporate group of believers, and ask God to heal you... in His timing.. but to heal you completely....."by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, we present this request to our God!"
Peggy K.

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwayne and Janet,
Our hearts ache for you and our prayers are with you. May God encourage your heart in the same way that you have ministered to others in similar situations in the past (thinking of when my mom was in the hospital). Peace that passes all understanding to you!
Leesa and Bobb (Lacombe)

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwayne, Janet & the kids,
My brother, this news was forwarded to me from Leroy (one of the NBI trinity)....Remember when you, Leroy & myself prayed fervently for God to send us our angels that would feel sorry for us and become our wives...Do you remember God answered those selfish "little" prayers and gave each one of us an angel. To God those prayers were not selfish or little!
I am weeping deeply for you my brother. I am so saddened by this news but I have been encouraged at the same time by your journal. Isn't it pretty cool, how God uses another man's weakness to create strength in another?
May I encourage you with these words from Oswald Chambers book, "My Utmost for His Highest":
"Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing...Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life, gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation."
Dwayne & Janet, our prayers will be lifted to our wonderful Lord & Savior. May God keep you in His arms and we will pray for a miracle-however He sees fit!
Byron, Brenda & the girls (N. Battleford, SK)

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Karen said...

The woman with the issue of blood had endured much suffering under the hands of many physicians & had spent all she had & grew worse. She KEPT SAYING if I only touch His garments I shall be restored to health. She touched Jesus with her faith. I believe He is being touched by many faith prayers by you and for you. Thank you for your ministry while hurting like I can't imagine. God bless you and your family. My prayers are with you.

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwayne,
I have had tears daily for you and your family, and you are on my mind CONSTANTLY. I will continue to pray and petition God for you. Additionally on another note, I recieved a call from the Mayor about an event on July 14th we need to attend to. What do you think?
Your brother,
Cmdr. Len Fein

 
At June 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DH,
Thanks for your openness in your words. Please let us know if there is anything you need that we can be of help with. I will of course ask our team here to pray. I hope to come your way very soon and will call you this weekend.
Brant

 
At July 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Dwayne,
we don't know one another,however I keep checking in on your journey. You are a source of encouragement for me. Please keep writing. I'll continue to pray for you and your family that God will provide for you and be with you through all of this. God is there with you, never abandoning you. Footprints...

 

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