April 29, 2011

New Frontiers: Shell shocked and very emotional

I went to see my doctor yesterday with James to get the results of my MRI from Wednesday evening. What the doctor had to say took us by surprise to say the least!

Evidence of the tumor is gone. There are no visible signs of it, except for the hole in my head.

They don't seem too surprised by this. This is a very good sign, but apparently I am not out of the woods yet. The tumor itself is sort of like the tip of the iceberg, so there are still cells there that could grow back (statistically speaking). I will be continuing treatments until November. My doctor said that something will probably grow back over time, but that it would likely happen over many years.

I don't really care about the details. Whether we realize it or not, all of us have a "Will Die" label tattooed on our foreheads. On my label it looked like the date was about to expire. I still have the label. I will die at some point in some form or fashion. That threat has not been removed from my life. But for whatever reason, Jesus has touched me and said, "Not now".

Many thoughts, many emotions. I'll try to describe them for you.

I will not merely proclaim the healing powers of Jesus Christ. What I will proclaim is the He is God over this world and over the heavens. I will proclaim that he is always Great and Good and that even in my suffering, He was Great and Good. He is no more worthy of praise now that my tumor is gone than he was while it caused uncontrollable twitching in my body. He is no more my friend and my advocate now than he was two days ago. He didn't need to prove himself to me. I already believed that his goodness extends beyond my circumstances. But for some reason he has.

Its a little bit as though James had given me a huge piece of valuable jewelry to show me that had loved me. Almost inevitably I would hear myself say to him, "Oh, James you didn't have to do that. I already know you love me". This is of course a hypothetical scenario. James has never given me a huge expensive piece of jewelry (okay, a wedding ring!). But I know he loves me because he is sharing his life with me. He comforts me, he gives himself to me when we are going through hard times.

To me, this healing is a piece of jewelry. It's big. It's incredible. It's a sign of love. But without the constant presence of Jesus in my life through thick and thin, I wouldn't know what to do with it. Am I happy about the jewelry? Will I show it off to people? Yes! But just as the tumor was the "tip of the iceberg," so this sign of healing (or perhaps, reprieve from illness) is just the tip of the enormity of his love for me!

Christians like to quote 1 Corinthians 13 a lot. "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but have not love, I am but a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and hand over my body to the flames so that I may boast, but have not love, I gain nothing."

Without the love and the presence of Jesus in my life, this healing would mean nothing. The greatest thing he has done is to redeem me from my sin with his death and restore me to relationship with him, giving me access to the most awesome power and love in this world and beyond.

I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the LORD has done for us—
yes, the many good things
he has done for Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
He said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will be true to me”;
and so he became their Savior.
In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.

In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.

Yet they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them.

From the beginning, I have felt the assurance that however my story might end, I would pass through Death to Life. Either I would physically die and find life in the hereafter, or my "life" as I now know it would die and I would be given a new physical life. Either way I win.

But now that I have "won" (at least for this particular battle), I feel weak and shell shocked. It's like I've come home from the war. I've survived. I am alive, and life can now continue. But I've seen so much death in the past 10 months. I've seen my comrades fall dead (my dreams and ambitions), I've seen myself disabled from well aimed shots. I may be "home" and I may be alive, but I can't just fall back into my life. I don't recognize it. I have been living on autopilot. Yesterday I had to let myself cry and weep and scream for all that has been lost. Like honoring all the soldiers who have died. I recognize the awesomeness of what has happened, but only yesterday did it really hit me how terrible and bloody this battle has been on my life and on my emotions. I can't go into detail about what has been lost - there is much more than I've talked about on here. It is raw and it is personal and it doesn't even make sense. But as I sat there mourning, I could feel God's presence beside me, comforting me and acknowledging with me all that has been lost. I need emotional healing too.

That's all for now.