Job 23:14 He will fulfill what He has planned for me; that plan is just one of the many He has.
Jeremiah 29:11 I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.”
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.”
After sharing with you all about the health issues that I am dealing with, I began to look back at the chain of events that brought me to Portland at this particular time. I don’t believe in coincidences; I believe that everything that happens is God-driven and directed, and if we would just learn to stay out of His way, great and mighty things will happen. With the clear vision of hindsight, I am able to see how the hand of God was in this long before I thought He was.
Last December we flew to the mainland to celebrate Christmas with our kids, kid-in-laws and grand-kids. Our grand-daughter, Beth, announced that she and her boyfriend, Johnathan, would be tying the knot and set a date of March 15th. Randall, her father and our son-in-law, was preparing to go to Chicago for chemotherapy in preparation to harvest his stem cells. After killing off his immune system, they would be transplanted back into his body. He was scheduled to be finished and return to Portland on March 11th. We decided that we would come over about 10 days before the wedding and help out, and then stay as long as necessary to help with Randall since we had no clue what his condition would be. Not knowing when we would return to Hawaii, I booked one way tickets using air miles.
As it turned out, he didn’t need our help. He has bounced back way better than anyone thought, and it is I who now has major medical issues with uncertain surgery and radiation/and or chemotherapy schedules that are still undecided.
Beth’s parents tried to talk her into waiting until summer for the wedding, allowing more planning time, Randall would be stronger, and we would be over on the mainland on our summer sojourn to Oregon . But Johnathan and Beth were insistent on a March wedding during spring break at OIT. And so it was set.
James 4:13-15 Some of you say, “today or tomorrow we will go to some city. We will stay there a year, do business, and make money” But you do not know what will happen tomorrow! Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away. So you should say, “if the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that.”
You have to understand that there is very little that will cause me to travel from Hawaii back to Oregon before June. This time of year, the high temperature, even in Portland, seldom gets up to our low temperatures in Hawaii. I see the sun virtually every day in Hawaii, seldom in Portland. My Camaro is in Hawaii, not Portland. The water temperature in Hawaii is warmer than the air temperature in Portland. And of course there is the golf. Play in the sunshine, or play in the cold rain. So you see, there is no earthly reason for me to be in Portland at this time. Except that my lovely grand-daughter was getting married, and Jeri and I were not going to miss that for anything. I thank and praise the Holy name of God for that because if I was not here, I am not sure when the colon cancer would have been discovered. A weeks difference in discovering this cancer can make the difference in the outcome.
All the delays and scheduling problems we had from December through February were not there to frustrate me, but they did, but they were there to guide and direct me ultimately to Portland and OHSU where they are better equipped to treat cancer, as they have in my two previous battles. I believe that the eyes of the doctors in Kona were blinded to the evidence of cancer revealed on the CT scan taken there in mid-February. They were so concerned about the potential heart issues (turns out there were none) that they would not consider any other procedures until the angiogram was completed, which could only be done in Honolulu. Turns out by the time that was scheduled, I could not get a flight out of Kona because all the seats were booked by tourists escaping the Polar Vortex.
You don’t suppose that the Polar Vortex was caused to send thousands of extra tourist to Hawaii so that I could not get on a flight to Honolulu? And I just happened to book a flight to Portland, months in advance, to be here when I needed to be, even before I was aware of this new cancer? My granddaughter and her beau decide that March 15th had to be the wedding date no matter what? Is this just some gigantic coincidence that all these factors came together by chance, or luck? Am I just one tremendously lucky duck or what?? (The only place I have seen luck come into play is occasionally on the golf course, and then it is usually on the bad side. Once in a while we will see a “lucky bounce” but not often.)
I don’t know what your take on this is but I lean toward the Job theory. If you remember my posting of Sept. 2013 where I wrote the parody of the incident in the book of Job where God and Satan are having their discussion about Job and his loyalty to God. I believe that discussion goes on a lot in Heaven and God is challenged by Satan to withdraw his protection so that we will curse the name of God and reject Him.
I believe that Satan went a second time to God in late 2009 and requested permission to touch my body again with cancer, only that time with a rare and deadly cancer that surely should have killed me. This had to frustrate Satan when I again refused to curse God’s name or place any blame on Him, to accept that adversity as God’s will for me. He used it in the ongoing process to mould and shape me into the person He wants me to be. And God has blessed me through it all.
And yet, here we are just 4 years later again facing the ravages of cancer. I believe that Satan again has gone before my heavenly Father and requested a third time to make my life miserable and hope that he would beat me down to the point that I would finally question God’s purpose in all of this and curse His name. I believe that God is allowing Satan a third swing at me, but it will be a strike and he will be out. I will not curse God’s name nor Satan’s for fear of angering either one of them. I have enough to deal with already.
I believe that no matter how this turns out, God’s name will be glorified. No matter whether God chooses to take me home or leave me here, I win and Satan loses.
Please understand that in all of this I am not bragging. 2nd Corinthians 10:17 states “but if people want to brag, they should brag only about the Lord.” I share this only to show how the Lord God has intervened in my life and not because of anything I have done. In reality, I deserve nothing. I am nothing special, just an ordinary sinner saved by Jesus. I write this because, first I believe that God wants this message to go out and He gives me the ability to write, and second as an encouragement to others who are going through the same challenges of life and that these adversities are not punishment from God for past sins in our lives.
I am not sure it is even because of past eating habits or whether we exercise or not. My dad never ran, walked or lifted weights or anything until his fifties when he started playing golf two or three times a week. He quit playing golf in his late 70’s and sat the rest of his life and died at 92. He was a creature of habit though. Every day at about 2 pm he would sit in a lawn chair at the back of his mobile home, take off his shirt and soak up the sun for about 30 or 40 minutes. Four o’clock was happy hour and he would have either a martini, shot of whiskey, or a beer virtually every day. He was born at home and never spent a day in the hospital until he was 91 from a mild heart attack, and he drove himself to the hospital. Obviously I only inherited his bald genes. But, again, I digress. Hard to stay focused.
I think and pray for Peggy and Pam back in the La Grande church that are fighting cancer. I pray for Heidi in Kona who has rejected two kidney transplants and does not qualify for another attempt, who thrice weekly undergoes dialysis, suffers partial paralysis, and yet daily fights the good fight. I pray for Holly in Kona who suffers from severe Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency which causes her untold grief. Both of these young ladies are in their early 30’s. Both have been steadfast in their testimony to God, never blaming or cursing his name, but have been true to their walk with Jesus. My prayer for myself is that I will also have the strength and fortitude that these four have in fighting life’s adversity.
Last Fall, I stopped writing on my blog, not because of health, but because I was tired of writing about myself. I could not understand why people would want to continue reading about me and my woes. So I started waiting for God to inspire me to write something, because that is the way it has always been. God would plant seeds of thoughts in my mind and then I would write them out. But nothing came except ideas that were about myself and seemed trivial to everything else that was going on around me.
So I became like Jonah and said, “nope, not going to write about me”! And so God has swallowed me up and spit me on the beach and said “yes you will, and you will write what I tell you!” And now you have two posts back to back. You will get another when we find out Thursday what plans lay ahead.
I want to thank all those who sent encouraging words of support and promises of prayer. You will never know how much Jeri and I have appreciated all the prayers and support over the last 8 years. There are friends and relatives all over the country and in some foreign nations that are praying, and have engaged their Sunday school classes, care groups and churches to pray on my behalf. I am truly humbled. In all of this, I pray that God’s name will be glorified and his people encouraged.
May God richly bless each and every one of you.