The plan was: run down to Mayo for a quick 2nd opinion and come home. We didn’t plan on spending the night in a hotel, Joel getting an additional MRI, and another appointment in the afternoon. People who know me know that I like doing things spur of the moment. I’m Mr. Spontaneous. Sometimes it works out, much to my wife’s (Mrs. PlannedOutList) chagrin. Lots of times it doesn’t. So after meeting with the Mayo Dr, we found a hotel with a nice Ronald McDonald House discount, and spent the night. All of the activity in Rochester was in effort to make sure we have all the best minds agreeing on what the best course of treatment is for Joel. There is certainly consensus on some aspects of the situation, but opinions diverge on others. I don’t want to go into all the details, but the main question that we’re working through is should Joel receive chemotherapy or not. We’d certainly like to avoid it, but ultimately we want what is best for Joel, even if it includes that awful but usually effective solution. We have wonderfully qualified people speaking into the situation, and we aren’t at a place where we have a decision to make quite yet, but I think we are closing in on it. We are trusting God to continue work through the (ten, now) doctors that have spoken into Joel’s case and they and God will help us come to a decision when that time comes. For now, we have gained yet another reminder of how little control we have over this life.
My plan was to run to Rochester and get back before bedtime on Thursday, not spend the night and most of the next day down there as well. God clearly had a different plan. My plan never included Joel getting cancer at all, but here we are. When it comes to control, I have to recognize that I’m here living out my life as part of God’s story. God’s story includes this chapter. A twist into a very dark alley that I never expected. Pastor Jason shared with us that he viewed us as in Psalm 23. I figured he was heading to the valley of the shadow of death, and since its the shadow we have nothing to fear, because God is with us… But that’s not where he went.

He told us we are at God’s table, prepared for us. It didn’t make sense. I don’t feel like I’m at a banqueting table. I don’t feel like I’m getting ready to eat some fabulous meal. But then Jason gave us his point. We are at a table prepared for us, in the presence of our enemies. I’m eating in the presence of my enemies. I’m sitting at peace enjoying the perfect provision of my God, sitting across from my enemy. I’m at peace because I have nothing to fear. Nothing. God is with us.

My friend George Luke posted in a prayer update for Bethlehem College and Seminary a reminder from the apostle Paul, that though we groan, we do not groan as those who have no hope. God is still working for my good in this dark alley, and when he seats me at a table where my enemy is he is working for my good there, too.

One Reply to “Control”

  1. I remember a section from Edwin Freidman’s “Failure of Nerve” where he recounted the story of his conundrum facing a necessary heart surgery: He had the challenge of staying in control, over against his own and even some of his physician’s anxiety’s about his situation. Though he might advise to focus on yourself and your own goals, we have 1 Pet. 5:7 as our decision-making strategy.

    Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you’re an example to young husbands/fathers like me. It has been incredibly encouraging and a faithful example, how you’ve led your family through all these challenges. Joel is a good kid, and he’s a strong kid. We’ll be praying.

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