Recent photo of my parents in my office

Recent photo of my parents in my office

October 11, 2007

Walking in Faith

Margie is out tonight, my children are asleep, my parents are travelling to visit my sister in Ohio, and I have time on the computer! So here is an update.

The process of radiation is over, and after that, I continued to experience some fatigue resulting from calcium levels in the blood, along with low hemoglobin (I got down to 8.4 -- the doctor would accept 10, but 12-13 are also healthily normal.) So I had two blood transfusions and went on the drug coumadin which helps to thin blood clots (I have a lot of swelling on my left leg that indicates a clot near my ankle). That said, after those treatments, I have had a great relief from the pain I had in my right leg. That pain was of the sort that made it nearly impossible to walk, sit, stand, even get in and out of bed without shooting pain. It appears to have been caused by a pinched nerve that was relieved by the radiation. Thanks be to God.

I have also experienced a resurgence of energy and vision for my job and family life. I am surprised that Margie and I were able to use the gift tickets we received to the Chicago Lyric Opera last Saturday for La Traviata -- 7:30 to 10:30 pm, getting home at 12:00, and still surviving with Sunday morning peace and focus. What an encouragement that is, and how it inspires more hopes for continued possibilities!

Another of those great delights is ministering with Redeemed Lives, teaching weekly of the matters of the soul that I have learned over the years, biblically and theologically grounded truth that I believe in so confidently because I've been through them personally, solid grounds for hope and healing of those who come. It is such a delight to pray and minister to others.

In that context, I was struck by how little I had understood the Prayer of St. Francis, especially in the midst of my suffering. Here's the text, the one that I learned through John Michael Talbot's musical setting:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

It was especially in the matters of giving rather than receiving, seeking not so much to be consoled, understood, and loved, etc., that I realized how easily I could lose my focus on giving. Ironically, I now see that having opportunities to meet for prayer with others on their behalf, engaging outwardly in hopeful visionary planning, accomplishing in the ways that I am gifted -- these are great sources of healing and hope.

Consequently, I have been led to listen more closely to what the Lord is telling me, rather than turning inward to try to figure out what is happening in my body. Thank God for words such as "I am healing you today, even if you are not aware of it. You have only to be still and yield your burdens to me. Cast your cares on me. Breathe deeply, as I empower you to rest." Other instances would be occasions when I'm called to take authority over the predominance of pain and cancerous cells in my body. "In Jesus' name, I rebuke any invasive cells that may be destroying my healthy ones. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; I belong to God. I will go only in his time."

I know that language like that can be misused, but I have seen amazing changes from one day to another in pains that I thought would abide.

In conclusion, I would ask for your prayers for some particular physical needs:

1) For my right rib cage. Something does create pressure there on my lifting, breathing, and even on my skin. It will become heated inside at times. This could be very dramatic, but I do not believe that it will have the victory over me.

2) For the ongoing clot in my left leg. My leg shrinks back to near normal during the night, but even with the tight hose I wear during the day (was that ever a piece of beauty when I was out in shorts running the Chicago Marathon -- (joke!), it's clear that a clot is still there. I would love to have the freedom to walk and move about more. At the same time, just as I was writing this, my son Josiah woke up crying, and I was able to move upstairs, no, DASH upstairs in a way I couldn't have imagined even a few weeks ago. This could have consequences tomorrow (!), but I know that your intercessions will be of great help.

3) Finally, thank you for your prayers for Margie. She has truly been a woman of integrity and honesty during this process. She has just given a talk at her Muffins & Mugs ministry, addressing the challenges of marriage to a difficult spouse. Not that we don't love each other and continue to grow in unity and joy, but that a trial like this elicits tremendous areas of struggle for her. The fact that she could be so transparent about it makes me respect her even more. I see her blessing others, and also teaching me about my own potential ongoing narcissistic expectations or criticisms of her. What a great spouse. We celebrate our 7th anniversary this Sunday. Her talk will stream on the web sometime soon -- possibly from her blogsite. I'll let you know.

Must go to bed. The blessings of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit remain with you all.

Amen.

John

5 comments:

John and Kerry said...

Dear John,
The words of this song, capturing some solid biblical truths, have been an encouragement to me on a number of occasions. Aunt Kerry and I are praying for you, Margie and the children. Our Home Fellowship Group prayed for you last night.
Love,
Uncle John and Aunt Kerry

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

[http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/e/bestill.htm]

John and Kerry said...

Dear John,
The words of this song, capturing some solid biblical truths, have been an encouragement to me on a number of occasions. Aunt Kerry and I are praying for you, Margie and the children. Our Home Fellowship Group prayed for you last night.
Love,
Uncle John and Aunt Kerry

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

[http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/e/bestill.htm]

At A Hen's Pace said...

John--

So happy for your improved sense of vitality and freedom from pain--and that you could go to the Lyric! How wonderful. And I know God is using you powerfully at RL.

Praying now for your rib, leg, and marriage now. Happy Anniversary!!

Jeanne

.: Suh :. said...

Hi John!!
I'm Jackie, from Calvary International Church.
I'm always reading your blog, and I have to say that this post specially touched me!
Thanks for it!!
I'm praying for you brother in Christ!
Have a good week and may the Lord keep blessing and healing you...
with care...

Anonymous said...

Dear John,
What a wonderful report! Thanks be to God and may He continue to bring relief from the pain and invasion that has gripped your body. He is faithful!

You, Margie and the children are in my prayers. You are an inspiration to all of us and I really appreciate your honesty as you journey this road filled with every emotion that life on this earth brings.

Over the past weeks I have seen God moving in wonderful ways and I believe we are coming into a new and fresh time of anointing - for healing and renewal. Stand and receive!

Love,
Pat Bailey