#3 Oil change complete and all things for good...
Yesterday, we completed our 3rd oil change / Chemo infusion. Very thankful all went well with the infusion. Thank you for your prayers.
We also got the results of our first CT scan. We got some great results from the cancer responding to the chemo after just 2 treatments. The doc and his assistant were very impressed with how effective the first two rounds have gone. They both said they're not used to seeing that kind of response. I also know my beloved had some vindication on the healthy diet she has had me on including my 9 supplement pills I take daily! It's only vindication because I complain about it ... all the time ... and she still serves me... yes, that's me admitting I'm not worthy of her... :) (sniff) I know the many prayers and God Who heard them is most deserving of credit!
Quantitatively, my main tumor shrunk from 4.6 cm to just over 2 cm in size. Also the cancerous activity on the liver showed remarkable improvement in differentiation, which will enable better tracking of progress going forward.
We did get one bit of disappointing news: one of the longer term treatment options is off the table: immunotherapy. I think it's mostly disappointing because I was making an idol of it in my heart. There are other options, but after several reports of successful treatments for others, I had the same hopes for me. However, with some gene-related testing, it was determined it would have no to little effect on me... of course, they're always will to try it... for a modest fee... :)
This next section, however, is pretty important, as truth must be spoken, and this is profound one... mostly because it is so counter cultural. In a recent sermon during from our old church in Houston, a pastor shared how a man in the country of Jordan testified that he was thankful for ISIS... yes you read that correctly.
He was thankful for ISIS, as in their evil deeds, they forced him from his home and straight into the receiving arms of Christians and now he knows Christ. He admits that it better to lose his comfort for Christ rather than keep his comfort and be without the hope of eternity.
Our 9 year old daughter, Cute Thing, heard this, and guess what she said: "Does that mean that if daddy doesn't get better, we can still be happy?"
And that brings us to the part of Romans 8:28 that we don't like to talk about. We like to use this verse in a prosperous way, as if the "good" in the verse refers to what we would call good in a temporal sense: money, comfort, etc. However, the stronger emphasis needs to be that God takes all and turns it for good by His definition: holiness, repentance, turning to Him, etc.
Therefore, while I am not nearly as bold as my brother in the Middle East, I've struggled with the courage to admit I'm thankful for cancer (a bit). More accurately, I can say God is turning this into good. While I still manifest sin in many ways, I am extremely grateful for what He has impressed on me since I've learned of my sickness. They're all extremely expensive lessons, but I have to say their "cost" doesn't compare the priceless value of the fruit produced by God's handiwork, (Romans 8:18). Therefore, I can say, Romans 8:28 is true. It's great to know a verse in my head, but it's better to cling to it and then know it better in your heart.*
I can also say this is true: to be in love with Jesus for a few years is vastly superior to a lifetime of indifference.
I don't say this truth to discourage anyone, but it's an outworking of reading "All Things for Good" by Thomas Watson. It's a timely word, especially in a society that unhealthily influences the Gospel message with prosperity and comfort when the Biblical message is so different.
I think it's best to close with some quotes from the book that has 127 pages in exposition of Romans 8:28... 127 pages!! Anyway...
"A sick-bed often teaches more than a sermon."
"God's rod is a pencil to draw Christ's image more lively upon us."
"God digs away our earthly comforts to loosen our hearts from the earth."
My favorite, but it takes some time to digest:
"The worst that God does to His children is to whip them to Heaven."
*Another point I learned from that little guy who remembered his dad's teaching... and changed my perspective on Christian manhood.