Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Worst Day of My Life So Far

Maybe I'm overstating it. Nope. I'm not.

Monday, June 20th I went for a test to get it out of the way. An ultrasound. Reminded me of happy days with my expectant wife. We were expecting a baby and a healthy happy one at that. Ultrasounds offer those rare expressions of joyful expectation. I can still remember with clarity the whoosh, whoosh of a tiny heartbeat. This one was not that.

I had asked for the results to be given to me directly at the end of the test. They do that at this lab. And I was thankful for it. Better to get it straight out and go on. So the guy walks up to me and says, "I'm sorry." And in next 3 sentences of his my world comes completely apart. "We found a tumor on your left kidney, spots on your liver and nodules in your lungs. It looks like you have cancer in each of these and that it is metastasizing. You should see your doctor." I nodded and smiled and shook my head like I understood. I didn't understand at all.

He sent over the results to my doctor who asked to see me immediately. So I left the lab and stepped into my car. Where do you go? You've just been told you have spreading cancer and your whole world doesn't fit right anymore. I went home.

I grabbed the wheel of my car and made it go home - crying and praying! "God?" "Where are you?" Physically I could see to drive. Spiritually I was blind. The world went dark and empty and void. My prayers echoed in the emptiness.

Last time I told my wife and we went to the doctor for grim news she really fell apart. Loudly. Emotionally! It was horrible. I feared the worst. But I had no other options. I needed her so badly. So I walked into the house tears streaming down my face. No bravery. No stoic front to put on. I'm a broken man in need. I don't think she's ever seen me quite like that. And she knew it all from the look on my face.

When we got to the doctor's office and he faced us with the news - it's like I went into shock. Maybe I just can't process things as fast as others. Maybe I just process them afterwards. "It's cancer of the kidney, liver, and lungs. We have to biopsy to be sure. But we're cancelling the other tests for now. We're pretty sure."

Renal cancer, I'm told, doesn't respond well to forms of treatment. It can hide in your system without much for symptoms for quite a while before spreading. It's one of the "bad" forms of cancer. The doctor was "hoping" for testicular cancer. It's more treatable. Not this one.
What's next? A biopsy to confirm it.
How soon? It could be a couple of weeks.
Can we rush that? We'll try.

Monday was the darkest day of my life. How do you tell your children that you have cancer? There's no books for that. No one teaches you how. We knew we had to. We cried. "How, God, do you tell your children?" We cried some more.

As a family we gathered and I spoke the unspeakable. I couldn't stop the tears from running down my face. I wanted so badly to be brave while I told them. I wanted so badly to show them my faith in God in this. But tears and faith come hand in hand. So they saw them both. My utter weakness and my faith. And somehow God did what only God can do. And while we all cried and our worlds came apart, God held us. I had prayed that He would, but my faith was so weak that I could never see it happening. Is that faith? When you can't even visualize what you're asking for? You have enough faith to ask for it, but you can't really see God doing it? Doesn't sound like faith?

There's a story in Mark 9 that I find myself drawn to so often. A father brings his son to Christ to be healed. The boy has an evil spirit that does nasty things to him and tries to kill him. Horrible. I can hardly get my mind to imagine it. I guess I'd be desperate too. So the father says to Jesus, "If you can do anything take pity on us and help us." Not a real statement of great faith. Just desperation. Pure desperation. Jesus is looking for more. Isn't desperation enough? I guess not.

"If you can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Jesus is looking for some faith. It seems Jesus is always looking for some sign of faith in those He heals. "Show me some faith." But if you don't feel it.... If you can't really see it.... If you can't visualize it.... Where do you get faith from?

So the man calls out (I imagine in exasperation, frustration, desperation), "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" So often that's my prayer life. I'm crying out for the faith to believe my own prayers. I'm asking for things greater than my imagination. But I'm asking.

And God answered. Somehow the kids were able to understand that their father likely had cancer, they understood all of what that meant, and that we were going to continue to live our lives. But in a new way. Matthew 6 has this powerful stuff at the end of the chapter. It blows me away every time I really ponder it. On Monday it became a rock that I clung to in the crashing surf.

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Now we live in a new way. We live in today. Today God has provided for us. This moment has enough oxygen. Breathe.

3 Comments:

At June 22, 2005, Anonymous Twyla said...

Dwayne, I wanted to tell you as your sister in the anointing of God that I firmly believe that God will heal you.

I don't believe this just on principle - I'm talking about your situation, and your life. I've been praying for you since Saturday and God has shown me this. I have an anointing on my life for ministry and prophetic gifts - and I know how hard Satan is trying to crush you. He only tries this hard when he's found someone that God really loves, because everything he does is to hurt God. Fill yourself up with scriptures about healing, peace, and wholeness and you will have a miracle. It's not a question of if, but when. Don't you dare lose hope! God is a healer, and he never changes. Satan's put lies into the church about this for centuries. All you need to do is believe that the creator of the universe can recreate your organs without cancer. A being who can count the stars, created all matter and is truly love - what can stop him if you ask? Neither does his will change - and his will is that his people prosper and be in health. Don't let fear move you - perfect Love casts out fear. Jesus is a name above every name. Cancer is just a name, Dwayne. It may be a horrible, daunting name here on earth, but to God it's just a name - a disease that he has the power to cure and he loves you so much that he'd like nothing more than to eradicate than problem from your body. I know in my heart that God's timing is right, and his timing in bringing me to Living Hope couldn't be more perfect. Miracles and wonders are coming like you've never seen or hoped for. It's the end times, Dwayne, and you know that in your Spirit. Living Hope is part of all of this. You are going to be healed because God is preparing to do something on this Earth right now that is truly beyond anything we ask or imagine. Satan's attempts to hurt us pale in comparison to the "light and momentary troubles (that) are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." Eternity starts now! Healing is real and availible to you today. My Grandmother has been told she'd never walk or write again - and she's fully functional in both those areas. Do you know what she said to her Doctor when he said it? "My Maker has all the spare parts."

And in the name of Jesus, I'm here to tell you that he does. Satan may look like a roaring lion about to devour you, but the moment you bring Jesus on the scene he cowers.

If you'd like me to pray with you personally, I'd be happy to. There's more to say then I've been written here. I've been praying for you constantly. God's going to honor your service and humility. And in his timing, he's aligned the people of Living Hope to witness a miracle. Not just in your body, but in our church. Cancer pales in comparison to our loving Father. Church problems pale. He is risen in power and his blood is for healing of spiritual and physical nature.

I don't write this to offer you only a vague hope of healing, but God's promise of it. In fact, he says you're healed already.

1 Peter 2:24, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

You're already healed, all you need to do is let God follow through on his promise.

This last verse is one that God gave me specifically for you right now:
The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

If you'd like me to come and give you and your family words from God personally before Monday (I'll be there on Monday for sure) and let me assure you, the Holy Spirit is giving me encouragement and information for you, please call my cell at 341-0004. I have so much on my heart that you need to hear - this comment is just the tip of the iceberg. The Holy Spirit is on me very strongly right now.

Fear not - he's with you and his leading you out of this. This is a beginning, not an end.

 
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