Well, about a month ago she went to her doctor because of some numbness she was having in her leg and after several tests and a visit with a cardiologist they determined that she had some blockage in an artery leading to her leg and a simple cleanup of the vein would fix it right up. Yet what was suppose to be an outpatient procedure and a couple days (at the most) of recovery, turned into weeks of pain ending in my mom really losing the ability to use her leg. After returning to her cardiologist, he decided to run some more scans to try and figure out what was going on - still thinking this was all linked to her artery procedure - through these scans he discovered a mass in her brain. Her cardiologist then of course immediately sent the scans over to her oncologist who then immediately set her up with an appointment with a neurosurgeon.
Here are the facts:
The bad stuff first. The type of cancer she had 3 years ago, does commonly spread to the brain. Because of that she had preventative radiation on her brain 3 years ago but of course it is not at a 100% guarantee. The doctors feel very strongly that this is indeed a tumor (and not just scar tissue from her radiation) because the scans do show some swelling as well as a little bit of bleeding which would not be caused by scar tissue. The part of the brain in which her tumor is can effect motor skills such as walking and writing - hence, her leg coordination.
The good news. This tumor is operable. The neurosurgeon seems extremely optimistic that he will be able to remove it all. Her scans confirmed that she does not have any other cancerous cells in any other part of her body. She will receive concentrated radiation to that part of her brain to prevent the tumor from growing back in that location. There is no real risk of any sort of damage to her brain due to the surgery. Oh yeah, and her neurosurgeon graduated valedictorian of his med school class...NBD.
Now let me share with you what I know to be true.
I am currently working toward a Master of Arts in Applied Biblical Studies through Moody Bible Institute and the last class that I took was over Interpreting Old Testament Poetry and Wisdom Literature. This class was hands down the one I was most dreading because I am not a fan of poetry to begin with and Biblical poetry can get really weird. I don't understand rhythm and parallelism and I don't want to. I don't have a favorite poet, in fact I don't know that I could name you a poet. And the Wisdom books aren't much better. Books like Job and Ecclesiastes can be really depressing. On the one hand you have a guy who has an unwavering devotion to the Lord and loses EVERYTHING. Then, on the other hand you have a guy who lacks nothing but deems is all MEANINGLESS.
They are both real pick me ups.
So needless to say I was not looking forward to this class. But I had decided that I was going to really give it my all and try not to complain through the ENTIRE class, and for the most part I did just that. I did all my reading, completed all my assignments and really gave it my all every week. And, you know what? It didn't suck - like not even a little bit. I was even able to get lock down an A!
And now sitting here on this other side of what should be devastating news, I so clearly see God's timing in it all. Remember the book of Job? The one in which the guy looses EVERYTHING? Well, here is something that I picked up on the week we studied the book of Job in my dreaded class. There is a conversation that takes place between God and Satan at the beginning of the Book of Job and it goes like this:
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedgearound him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
(Job 1:6 - 12, NIV)
Now the content of the conversation is not necessarily what I want to focus on, mainly because taken out of the context of the entire book of Job as a whole it is hard to follow, rather I want to mostly just focus on the fact that the conversation happened at all. See after this conversation took place, Job went on to loose everything; all TEN of his children when a house collapsed on them, his wealth, his wife tried to convince him to just die and his best friends berate him about living a secretly sinful life. During Job's time there was a strong belief in what is known as the "retribution principle" which basically means if you follow God then you are blessed, if you don't then you are cursed. Therefore, Job must have not been living the upright life that he claimed because his entire life appeared to be cursed, not blessed.
But, we know that is not true because of what the Lord says about Job above in verse eight. He calls Job "blameless and upright, a man who fears the God and shuns evil" and because the Lord cannot lie (Numbers 23:19) we know these are true characteristics of Job. So, all this tragedy and hardship is not a curse resulting from Job's disobedience to the Lord, rather because of the conversation above, we (the reader) know that Job's trials were in order to serve a larger purpose. One that would set the theological tone on the subject of suffering for generations to come. Job's life was not only a representation of allowing suffering to be used for God's purposes, but it set the foundation for God's end game that would be fully expressed in the person of Jesus Christ.
But here's the kicker, Job didn't know that. He never heard the conversation between God and Satan. In fact, if you have ever read the entire book of Job, then you know that Job continues to follow God and refuses to ever renounce Him because of his trails; and God restores all that Job had lost even more abundantly than before. Yet, even after the restoration, Job still never knows about the conversation (Job 42:2).
Essentially, unbeknownst to Job, he proves to Satan that his love for God is not tied to blessing or curse, rather it is tied to an unwavering reverence and respect for who God is, not what He can offer.
So, am I mad at God that it seem as if we are walking this road of cancer once again? No, I'm not. Is my mom mad at God? No, she's not. You want to know why? Because we don't know the conversation. In other words, I don't know what God's plan and purpose is behind this, but I trust it. I don't know how He is going to use this for His glory and His purposes. I don't get to be the reader in this story. I don't get to know that conversation.
But what we do know is that God is good and He loves us despite our actions, so then I in return choose to trust that and resist the temptation to allow my love for Him to be conditional on what He can offer me. God doesn't want my mom to have cancer either, I mean He loves her much more than I do; which is why He sent His son, Jesus, to provide reconciliation for us from this broken world in which we are housed in broken bodies.
So please, if you will, join us in prayer on Friday, November 4th at 8 AM. Join us in praying that my mom would be healed but ultimately that God would be glorified, because again we don't know the conversation and that's ok.