I have several blog ideas stewing in my mind, some with notes, some without. Yet, I cannot complete any of them today because life has happened and taken an unexpected turn. My friend, Amy, had a seizure last Thursday. It was the second major seizure she’s had in her lifetime. The first happened six years ago, when she discovered she had a stage 3 brain tumor. Monday she found out she has an inoperable, aggressive tumor — grade to be determined on April 1st when she has surgery.
Unlike the last prognosis where the doctors were hopeful to eliminate almost all of the tumor, the latest is that they will be eliminating about 20% of the tumor to not ultimately save her life in the short run, but to buy her time, months. Six years of clear MRI scans, and now the latest scan showing a massive tumor that has grown in four months, has brought about incredible disorientation. It’s difficult not to be in a place of despair.
So, I’ve despaired. I’ve pleaded for time. I’ve felt rage and anger. I’ve reflected on the what ifs, the possible what-could-have-been-dones. And then yesterday, I’ve felt hope. I believe my hope is substantiated, not in science but in God. I don’t feel like I’m just making a despairing situation, hopeful. (I may be I am because of shock or denial or a mixture of both — I’m open to that.) But, I’ve also found real hope in the God of history who rescued a group of people faced with death many times — the Jews. In my meditation time, a very specific time came to mind. It was genocide approved with no chance of it being reversed. This story, Esther’s, reveals to us a time in Ancient Persia where Haman, intent on acting out his envy and revenge towards an entire people group, the Jews, convinces King Xerxes to charge all Jews as enemies. After about a year’s time, all Jews were to be put to death. In that historical period, once a King sends out a proclamation, HE CANNOT TAKE IT BACK. He cannot say, I made a mistake there will be no annihilation. It must be carried out. That is, until Queen Esther, a Jew, dares to go before the King (whom he hasn’t called for 30 days and has the possibility of being immediately put to death for initiating contact without his summons) and asks him to dinner. She proceeds to ask him and have him accept her dinner invitation two more times until she fills him with what he has allowed to be decreed. A bit more happens and essentially, King Xerxes pronounces that the Jews can now defend themselves and thus, none of the Persians pursued annihilation. This shortened version doesn’t really do justice to the story of the tremendous hurdles these men and women of this story had to make. Time and time again, it seemed as if there was no hope and that the Jews would be annihilated. Yet, God delivered them.
It is this same God who delivered his people that has caused me to hold onto hope. It’s not a radical hope that would hope in the disappearance of the tumor altogether. I haven’t found I possess that kind of hope — too much of a scientific in me. But it’s a bit hope based on renewal and redemption. God coming down in the present in the form of doctors, medicine and His people that I hold onto my hope. I’m praying for an annihilation, an annihilation of the tumor. I’m praying that radiation and chemotherapy will destroy the inoperable tumor just as it killed the octopus legs that were left in her brain six years ago. I’m praying for time. Time to see her youngest go to Kindergarten. Time to see her son and daughter graduate high school. Time in the form of years, not months.
I believe in a God who parted the Red Sea. I believe in a God who turned water into wine (and not just a little). I believe in a God who saw the trouble of the world and became troubled Himself. So he sent, not someone else, but His Son. To be crucified, hung on a tree — given a death worthy only for thieves. This God, rose Him from the dead three days later and He is now seated on the right hand of the throne with His Father.
Essentially, I believe that whatever the outcome, God is here, present, as he’s been for all of time.
Would you join me in holding Amy and the Jensen family in your prayers?