Dear friends and family,
Well, it seems there is movement on the treatment front. As I’ve said previously, it appears the current regimen is finally reaching the end of its efficacy. We’ve been looking at options for clinical trials, and one in particular is exciting, the testing of an immunotherapy protocol that showed promising results (this was the first time researchers had seen a response in my cancer type).
I received word Tuesday that I have an appointment on Sep 26 at Tennessee Oncology in Nashville, affiliated with the Sarah Cannon institute, to discuss the clinical trials they offer. The immunotherapy trial will be top of the list, but they’ll be screening me for all available trials. Though I’m still waiting for MD Anderson to open recruitment for the immunotherapy trial as my first choice, I must explore other options as a backup. However, I must say that I have a good feeling about this consultation in Nashville–something about the timing that reminded me that God always provides. It’s as if I feel the touch of a kind hand upon my shoulder as we’ve started making travel plans.
Seeking wisdom for the decisions we must soon make, my wife and I prayed together the other night. We often hear and pray about God’s good plans for our lives; indeed, we believe this notion. But the road can be treacherous. That God is with us on the treacherous path–that’s the reassurance.
As I began to pray, I suddenly had feelings of shame. Here we were, entreating the Lord with the same requests that we’ve made since April, 2013, when I was first diagnosed. But actually, in many ways, the pleas have remained the same for as long as we’ve been Christians.
I suddenly saw myself as a beggar approaching a king raised upon his throne. Instead of bringing him some gift to honor him, I instead bring the confession of the many ways that I’ve broken his laws. I picture myself holding a large, awkward bag that I’ve spent the day filling with the refuse of sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, the frequent “small” objects, and then the cumbersome, bulky weightiness of hardheartedness and unbelief. I lay this burden at the foot of his throne, expectantly seeking that it be taken away.
And then this beggar reaches out his hands and asks that it be filled with provision. “Lord, please heal me. Lord, please help our dear friends in need. Lord, please open the eyes of those who cannot see.”
Gladly, willingly, into these hands is placed what is needed today. This beggar may wish for relief from his burdens, to have a year’s worth, a lifetime’s worth of provision now, but in God’s economy, daily bread is best. Otherwise the beggar need not come before the throne.
The reality is that the king loves this time together. Relieving our burdens, providing for us, pleases him. If it were me on that throne, the beggar would have had to make his own way, but this king has a plan to help us tread the treacherous road. Why? Sitting beside him is his son. The heir to all creation. And yet he is the one who descends from the dais in order to carry away the dishonoring offering I had laid. But before doing so, he hugs me as a brother. In my shame, I feel a beggar, deserving nothing. And yet while true, at the sight of that embrace, the king sees two sons, not one. And what pleases a father more than time with his children and providing for them?
I’m learning more to rely on God’s daily provision. Looking back, it has always been there, right when I needed it. Daily. Looking forward, I count on it. Even boldly so. But I must wait patiently, even as urgency shakes me. Trusting that every morning, as the dew settles, God’s grace and mercy fills our hearts, minds, and souls to persevere and glorify Him another day. Amen.