Friday, August 26, 2011

Choices for such a time as this

In the face of a beloved one's dire prognosis:
I choose hope.
I choose gratitude.
I choose to walk by faith.
I choose to see the good.
I choose to let God lead me.
I choose to believe God has prepared me.
I choose Jesus.
I choose love.
I choose life.
I choose joy.

None of these choices will automatically make things easier. I believe they will make things better.

Despite all those positive choices, I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit to some fear and anxiety. I think of Job in the Bible. He seemed to choose the better way -- faith and trust in God -- and God still let Satan wreak all kinds of havoc in his life. There are other examples in the Bible in which it seems as if those who profess their faith are tested almost beyond their ability to stand. And the key word is: almost. I believe the Bible makes it clear that God will not allow more to come our way than we can face successfully if we stay true to Him, although I also believe sometimes how that all works out remains a mystery in this life on earth. Some of those holy mysteries remain in my life and those of loved ones.

What this is about is that my 85-year-old Dad recently received a new cancer diagnosis. Last year, he had a spot on his lung and had successful lung surgery. That was a long and sometimes difficult journey for Mom and Dad and the family, but I see much evidence that God was with us through it all, and that He worked it for good.

Now, Daddy has liver cancer. While last year's prognosis was good, this year's is much less so. The doctors say things such as "three to six months" -- the first part of that range is before Christmas! -- and that the end could be bad. Information is still being gathered. I'm hoping and praying for the best. And I'm grateful for continued opportunities to spend quality time with my parents and family, expressing and showing love and support.

Psalm 23 comes to mind: The Lord is my shepherd ... He leads us. He prepares us. He guards us. He goes with us. He sustains us.

I think that's been my overriding affirmation since first learning a week ago, Aug. 19, of what was causing Daddy's pain and what may lie ahead, which doctors seemed to confirm on Tuesday. In various communications with family and friends, including at church, God has given me a sense of hope and peace for which I can't even begin to adequately express thanks.

-- I think in my family's situation, God continues to bless us with opportunities to grow in love and faithfulness and grace and gratitude. Many people/families don't get that chance while the loved one is still with them. I pray to always be grateful.

-- Please join me in praying that God just uphold and sustain Daddy and Mom and all of us no matter what lies ahead, and that we appreciate each day He gives us and helps us to live to his glory and honor and service. Thank you so much for your love and prayers.

I think a lot of people know and live these things without having to write and share them. But for me, writing and sharing helps me know, remember and be accountable. As with singing, I write and share in what feels like faithful service to God and as an offering of praise.

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