Be not discouraged or dismayed

09Mar06

I sent this to the VC community tonight….

Sisters and Brothers,

I just returned from a couple hours at the hospital with Chad and Renee and their parents. I sensed it was important for me to go there, both for them… simply to be present with them during this time, and for me. I admit that I have been very discouraged this week as Chad’s situation and condition have rapidly moved from bad to worse. I have been like those who have no hope. These couple hours at the hospital changed all that.

I must tell you that this newfound strength and hope that I have is not my own. It has been gifted to me from someone far stronger than I. And in a wonderfully God-kinda-way it was given by those who I had come to comfort. Renee, Phil & Gail (Chad’s parents), and Renee’s Dad (I forgot his name and didn’t meet her mom) have this amazing sense of peace and strength about them. As you converse with them you can feel it coming out of them from such a deep deep place that is far beyond their own control or making. They know who is in control of this situation and in whose hands Chad rests. They are careful and diligent with the many medical decisions they are having to make and they are making them with confidence that it will be God who brings about the healing in Chad.

I also want to tell you that I’m proud of you. One of my prayers through this time has been that the “church would be the Church” for the Canipes. We’re doing it. They can feel the prayers surrounding them. I know of many many others beyond our network who are praying for Chad and his family as well. Here are a couple examples: I don’t fully understand the medical lingo, but due to Chad’s condition they are giving him chemotherapy drugs. The one they are using has been ineffective. But through the grapevine Rob Lewin (a friend of VC) told Renee about another chemo drug (Rituxan) that has been used in only 19 others with dramatic results. This coming from Steve Sjogren who was helped by this drug in a similar way. So Chad’s doctor get’s with Steve’s and about an hour ago (6:00 PM) they started administering this new drug. I think I have the story straight, but even if I missed a detail… the point is that the Body of Christ is rallying for our brother. And it shows.

Again, I sense our prayers at work as I meet Maurine, Chad’s night nurse. Normally she gets off at 11:00 PM, but she’s going to stay longer just to be there. Two nurses will be spending the night in Chad’s room to monitor this new (and experimental) drug. Maurine told us that about once a year a patient comes through the ICU who just captures everyone’s heart. Chad is that person this year. He is receiving excellent, attentive, and careful care. A year ago a 19 year old young lady was in the ICU and on a respirator for 6 weeks. She’s now in college and keeps in touch with the nurses.

This week my prayers have been for healing, for strength, for rest … but mainly for God to just “make it all better”. Can he? You bet your bottom dollar. But after my visit tonight my sense is that this is going to be a long road – despite the outcome. Like so many things in the life of our community right now we are on that long road of obedience. We must continue to be faithful. We continue to stand in the gap and ask God to touch Chad’s body, to bring health and restoration. And I believe that he will. It may or may not look like what we envision, but he will. As Chad’s dad (who has slept in Chad’s room everynight just to be near him) said to me tonight, “I know what I want God to do, but its not what I want.” That’s trust.

Is Chad better? Is he “out of the woods”? Is he even improving? No. Does that grieve me (and all of us)? Yes. And I want to encourage us to grieve – but like those who have hope in something far more real than quick fixes or good reports. Let’s continue our prayers, let’s continue holding vigil in our hearts for our dear brother. But let’s not give up hope – no matter what. We are certainly in a battle, but not a battle as though our defeat is inevitable. We battle as those who trust in the God of Life and even though we die we will yet live.

With Faith,
ak

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