This week I am not.
I look at Joseph and he’s so healthy and strong. He goes to work in the ER, plays with the kids, lifts weights, runs, cuts down trees, changes breaks on the car, lives a very active physical life – his outer shell looks so healthy.
But inside he is dying.
But I can’t see the inside. And the outside appearance gives me a strong desire to live in an illusion.
Our neurologist said that Joseph is the kind of patient that is hard to do surgery on. Not because the surgery is necessarily hard, but because he is so functioning. He said that it’s not easy for him to do surgery on someone who is healthy and asymptomatic because there is a chance that they surgery will leave him considerably less functioning. The surgery may give him symptoms. It may give him a longer life span, but at what cost? His job? His quality of life? His life?
Yeah, while I’m no doctor, I can see why this is the kind of patient that is hard to do surgery on.
I went to a yoga training this past weekend and randomly (I say randomly, but there was nothing random about this encounter. It was ordained.) met this lady. We started talking and through the conversation I learned that she has two small children and her husband has cancer. Brain cancer. Grade 4. Here’s the crazy thing, he has so much in common with Joseph. He was in the air force, went to the Air Force Academy, smart and healthy. One day he took his daughter to a party at Pump It Up, fell and ended up with a concussion. They took him to the hospital to check him out and found a grade 4 brain tumor in his head. He had to have brain surgery immediately and has had both radiation and chemo.
The doctors had given him a year to live. He’s lived 2 so far. He isn’t the same person he was 2 years ago, he has seizures, had to quit working, has bad side effects from radiation and is dying slowly, but got to go to his youngest child’s 2nd birthday party.
They count their blessings.
And believe and trust the same God I know.
I read the following excerpt in my quiet time today:
- Nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father. Nothing. Whatever occurs, God has sovereignly surveyed and approved. We may not know why, but we do know our pain is no accident to Him who guides our lives.
- Everything I endure is designed to prepare me for serving others more effectively. Everything. Since my Heavenly Father is committed to shaping me into the image of His Son, He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience. It is being used to empty our hands of our own resources, our own sufficiency, and turn us back to Him---the faithful Provider. And God knows what will get through to us.
I love that. “He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience.” Personally.
People always ask me how Joseph is doing and how he is handling all this. Gosh, that man inspires me. Joseph is doing great. He has his moments where he is sad, really sad, but he isn’t hopeless or angry.
I carry those emotions.
Here is J’s bottom line. He has always, from the time that I have met him, had the understanding that he was put here on this earth to glorify God. Bottom line, that’s his purpose. Every decision he makes and everything he does goes back to “how does this glorify God?” Since I have known him, that’s the way he operates.
So, he doesn’t want to be here on this earth a second longer than God is done using him. Because if he isn’t glorifying God, then he has no purpose. And he would rather be in heaven glorifying God, than on earth with no purpose.
He inspires me. God is using him to teach me.
Better is one day in your courts,
Better is one day in your house,
Than thousands elsewhere…
Please, Lord, keep this man around for a while. I have so much to learn from him. And please let my babies grow up to be just like their papa. Just like him.