The Path. The Destination

A great mentor of ours, Stan Nelson, had his memorial service this last week.  As I read all the emails and comments about it, one of his favorite scripture passages came up more than once. It’s from Isaiah 40, starting with verse 28,

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

I’ll talk more about this passage next time, but I have to confess that we’re just not ‘soaring’ much this week. As you may have been hearing, Tony has been having a battery of tests following his diagnosis of prostate cancer. By now we can say that, yes, it’s there. Furthermore, it’s described as a particularly “aggressive” form (I hate that word when it’s used in conjunction with “cancer”). What we DON’T know yet is whether or not it’s still contained, or if it’s already spread through his body. The answer to that question will come with a PET scan on Friday, although we won’t get the result of that until the following week.

Frankly, we both feel pretty gutted. For a man who has absolutely NO symptoms, and feels like he’s in the prime of his life,  this is hard news to take. Naturally, our emotions are all over the place, but I have to add this: we’ve been here before. Way back in1975, after our return to the States following two years as missionary Journeymen in Zambia. I had gotten a malignant melanoma removed in a jungle hospital, and in the process of following up, doctors in San Francisco found a spot on my lung. Talking to Tony privately, the doctor said, “This is bad. We’re looking at an average survival rate of about two years.”

Horrified, Tony asked, “What can we do?”

“Come back in a week, and we’ll run some more tests.”

You think that was a week to remember? We both went through all the classic stages of grief (which Tony would write about in his book, Looking for a Lamb nearly twenty years later. Then, the week finished, we made our way to the hospital. But here’s the thing: we both felt okay about it. God had given us a peace that just couldn’t be described.

And the outcome? Embarrassed doctors, who said, “Well, it was there!”

Of course that’s not to say we expect the same scenario this time. One miracle doesn’t prove a pattern. But the peace? Yeah, it’s here, big time. Full disclosure, we do fall into a punk once in awhile. It usually happens when we start “what if-ing”. But then we remind ourselves that God doesn’t deal in possibilities. He knows already how this is going to work out, and in the meantime He’s asking us to have a little faith and trust Him.

And really, from His point of view, it’s a win-win. Temporal healing while we’re here on this earth, or permanent healing in His Kingdom. So we’re not concerned about the destination. Honest. Just the path between here and there.

Next week we still won’t have all the test results in, but at least hopefully we’ll both be a lot healthier and fit.  And please be assured that every blog henceforth won’t be a medical diary.  I do want to get back to sharing some more things we’ve noticed along the way, but for this week, we’d just like to ask you for a lot of prayer! Patience. Peace. Assurance. And of course healing!

Thanks for your support!  It means so much to us.


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