The Thing

Nobody gets out of this life without going through a thing. Something unexpected that changes everything. Something hard. Something painful. Sickness. Loss. Betrayal. Divorce. Death. I’m certain you can look back at your life and tell me about the thing you went through. It might have happened a long time ago or you might still be in the middle of it, but everybody goes through a thing.

Carrie-Anne and I are in the thing right now.

My beautiful wife has an echocardiogram at Midland Memorial Hospital at 10:00 this morning and we have a mandatory Chemotherapy Orientation class at Texas Oncology this afternoon at 2:45. Tomorrow it’s blood work and a couple of other labs. She gets her port installed under her right collarbone on Wednesday. And then the first of her 16 chemotherapy infusions will be at the Allison Cancer Center here in Midland on Friday. Carrie-Anne will have an infusion every Friday for 12 weeks and then every other Friday for the last eight weeks. After that, a 92% chance we’ll never see the cancer again.

As I’ve said before, we are both committed to paying attention to our Lord together while we’re faithfully dealing with this thing. We want to hear what God is saying to us, we want to see what he’s trying to show us, we want to receive the gift he is giving us through this thing. We are trying, by God’s grace, to adopt the apostle’s attitude in 2 Corinthians:

“This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” ~2 Corinthians 1:9-10

The Scriptures say these tough times are to teach us, to show us, not to rely on ourselves, but on God. God is at work during this thing. He hasn’t abandoned us. He hasn’t left us. It’s not like God is on vacation and can’t see us until a week from Monday. He is near. He is with us. Where can we go to flee from his Spirit? Nowhere!

So, Carrie-Anne and I are really leaning into the formation zones right now. All four of them. We are reading and learning and listening to testimonials to continue gaining knowledge about breast cancer and its treatments and about how God has been powerfully at work through other cancer situations around us. We are fully engaged with our community of faith at GCR Church and all our Christian brothers and sisters in this congregation, and we are moving forward with our plans to start a new small group with Alan and Jo Douglas. Carrie-Anne and I are in Word and Prayer together every day. And we’re focused on ministering to others. We do not think it’s a coincidence that on two of our trips to M.D. Anderson, Ashleigh Reedy and her family were there at the same hospital at the same time.

The thing gets all of us. God is at work in the thing. And we need to pay attention.

It’s just life. And when life happens, we can wring our hands in despair and say, “I don’t know!” Or we can lift our hands to the Lord and exclaim, “God knows!” We can align our lives with Christ Jesus. We can say with Peter and the apostles, “Only you. Only you, Lord, have the words and the way to eternal life.”

God’s promise in Christ is that everything that’s broken is being fixed and everything that’s gone wrong is being made right. He has proved that promise in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Everything is being made perfect. You and your circumstance. You IN your circumstance.

The Holy Spirit says God will bring to completion the good thing he has started in you. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. Amen.

Peace,

Allan

4 Comments

  1. Rob's Dad

    Leonard,
    It’s also ok to put your hands (or fist) up and yell that it sucks to be in the valley.

    48

  2. David

    Continuing to pray. Continuing to be inspired by your faith. Thank you both.

  3. Allan

    I do know that it’s okay to yell at God. I know it puts a person in pretty good company to lament unfairness or randomness or unrighteousness to the Lord, to complain to God about pain and sickness – I know. I’m honestly not there with this right now.
    I’m anxious about the unknown of Carrie-Anne’s chemotherapy and what it’s going to do to her. I’m a little afraid of that, actually. Our “class” with Texas Oncology yesterday was not very assuring – what these drugs are going to do to her body sounds pretty awful. And scary. Her hair, her skin, her immune system, her nails, eyelashes and eyebrows, muscle soreness, mouth sores, nausea, and a long list of other side effects had me re-thinking the whole deal. There may come a day when I’m shaking my fist at our Lord and it may come soon. And I won’t be afraid to yell at our God if that time comes.
    Right now it seems that the Spirit is blessing us with a peace that surpasses all understanding. A peaceful determination and trust. And we are thankful.

  4. Beverly Stanglin

    Thank you for all the information. We are continuing our prayers and I know others are, too. You can add our church family to the ones who are praying. There are some at PG who are praying, too. We all love you and people are always asking about C-A’s health. I know that it is easier to put it on the blog rather than trying to keep up with each church and family member. We love all of you so very much.
    love, mom

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