Good News amidst “No Change”

December 7, 2013

This week between chemo treatments has given my body a chance to recover from the chemical onslaught and I am amazed at how few side effects I am experiencing at this point. More energy has allowed me to participate in a few normal household pursuits; I even went to the grocery store on my own yesterday—Woo-hoo! Reminders of sickness are only an occasional cough and the fatigue that necessitates a nap. It’s interesting that as I feel better, Jesus feels somewhat distant and the sensation of walking in a “thin place” leaves me. That’s a topic for another day, but it is one reason why I didn’t blog yesterday.

However, two meetings are worth mentioning as seeds of contemplation: the healing prayer meeting on Thursday morning and the consultation with my radiology oncologist on Friday morning.

Thursday’s prayer meeting at Shepherd’s Gate, Livermore, was a sweet time. I thought we were going to a church, but this was actually the chapel service at a Christian residential ministry for women at risk. Most of the other attendees were twenty-something women, who have found refuge there from domestic violence, homelessness, or other crisis situations. They can reside up to eighteen months in this positive, loving environment. As my friend Tim says, “Jesus tends to show up on Thursday mornings as they pray for healing.” I felt their prayers to be powerful and earnest, definitely coming from people who are desperately dependent on Jesus. Denise gave me a Scripture the Lord laid on her heart, Isaiah 41:10, which I will treasure:

      Do not fear, for I am with you,
                  do not be afraid, for I am your God;
      I will strengthen you, I will help you,
                  I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Heidi wanted to offer a personal prayer as she gripped my hands. These women were so deeply grateful for the work Jesus had done to transform their lives, and I was moved by their burning desire to pass God’s blessing on to me—“blessed to be a blessing”!

It does not appear to me that anything changed about my health condition, that is, no immediate miraculous healing occurred. But God was doing other healing things in that room and I left with a song in my heart and gratitude for the answers to prayer I have already experienced: cessation of the cough, healing of my esophageal discomfort a week ago, calming of my gut into a smoothly running machine, and the relational peace that surrounds me.

Yesterday (Friday) was my weekly consultation with the doctor supervising my radiation therapy. She was delighted to see how well I was doing. She felt it necessary to prepare me for chemo Round 2: “It’s going to hit you pretty hard, Mary. Be prepared.” I was thinking This treatment regimen is going to be a piece of cake, but she reminded me that all I’ve eaten so far are a few crumbs of that cake. It’s going to get a little harder to swallow during Round 2. [There’s your prayer request for December 16 then!]

A bummer factor was introduced into the conversation when she mentioned a fact that somehow had escaped me previously, that there were three, not one, lymph nodes that lit up in my PET scan. To Dr. Rahman this is old news, and all treatment plans took this into account, and it did not change my stage from III-A. I wonder if knowing it was three instead of one might have changed my outlook or feelings about my cancer. I recall, however, I have gone this long without worrying about it and don’t need to start now.

My confidence comes from a bedrock belief: from day to day my circumstances might change, or not, but God remains the same (Hebrews 13:8). God renews his tender mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and his character is steadfast and immovable to the extent that he is always good, always loving, always redeeming, always attentive (Psalm 145), and nothing can wrest me from his arms (Romans 8:37-39). God was taking care of me before I learned of my cancer, and he is taking care of me still. Nothing about my situation is news to him, and he is taking the necessary steps to address my real condition whether I am aware or not. The great privilege I have, and you do too, is to experience God’s mighty hand holding us steadfast. The slaying of the Beast will come at the right time at the sweep of God’s mighty hand; in the meantime that same God is with us with promises of strength and help through the days when “no change” is the reality. To our unchanging God be the glory!

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2 Responses to “Good News amidst “No Change””

  1. Dan Carl Says:

    Mary – 

    I got word of your illness and blog from Terry Neifing, and I have been reading your posts now for several weeks.  I was sorry to hear that you have to travel this road.  Know that Allyn’s and my prayers are with you.  From your posts, I see there is no need to remind you of this, but I will go ahead and do so anyway since we can never be reminded enough:   God is most definitely with you!  May the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus as you travel this road.  I will continue to follow your walk through the posts.  

    Dan Carl

  2. Jim Skidmore Says:

    Rev. Mary,

    I am praying for your complete healing! Why? Because God is using you in a prophetic way to proclaim His word. As I look back and give thanks, I remember the blessings of your teaching. Especially during all of the higher church court proceedings. Your presentations drew us all back to Scripture. So we began searching and praying for answers and we are still ther. Thank you and thank Jesus and may you be completely healed from cancer. J Vernon McGee was healed of cancer and we are still enjoying his works as a servant serving others.

    Blessings in Jesus Christ and Merry Christmas.

    Jim
    Montreat

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