In our experience through all the many wonderful scriptures that God brings to us through His people at difficult times, at the very beginning He delivers one verse of scripture in particular that becomes the overarching theme of hope to us both. Upon Annie’s first diagnosis in 2007 God did this through a command He asked us to obey in Psalm 46.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
Following the difficult news about Annie’s diagnosis this time, Annie was lead to Psalm 20 by our good friends and family in Christ, Dave and Fran. While Psalm 46:10 has continued to be a source of great comfort to us, the twentieth Psalm houses the treasured theme verse for us in this second round:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. – Psalm 20:6,7
On Sunday October 2nd, 2011 following our morning service of worship and fellowship meal, the elders had called together the family at Manor Park church in order to specifically pray for us, as Annie would commence the chemo treatment the following day. Like some of those prayer meetings in the book of Acts, it was one of those you just wouldn’t miss for the world – such a special time that we will remember for as long as we live. Before we prayed I was asked to share where we were to date, as things had progressed so quickly in such a short period of time (the Oncologist’s diagnosis was made only two days prior).
It struck me as I shared something from Psalm 20 that David described a ‘ch’ word that although a symbol of success and power in his world, could not be ultimately trusted for the confidence that he himself had. His ‘ch’ word was ‘chariots’. Our ‘ch’ word was ‘chemo’. It had been made very clear to us by the Oncologist, the chemo this time couldn’t save Annie – but it might give her a little bit of a longer stay on this earth.
This article has been written retrospectively but at the time, we shared with the family at Manor Park that we were well aware that chemo was powerless to cure and save this time. And while Annie would go ahead with the treatment, our hopes were anchored in the ‘Ch’ that will never fail: ‘Christ’. Christ, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Son of the Living God. Christ, our death defeating, sin slaying, fear allaying Saviour.
Following just three days of chemo, Annie’s body reacted so violently to it – and to all the other attempts of sickness combating drugs – that having both spoken about it and laying it before the Lord and His people, we had a great peace about asking the Oncologist to take Annie off the chemo. The Oncologists were baffled by Annie’s physical reaction to the chemo and said that it was very rare that a person’s body should react so aggressively to this particular course of chemo. They agreed that the better thing to do at this stage was to come off chemo.
It was as if God was clearly showing us just how futile and powerless our modern day chariots were at this point and that He was making it clear that we needed to leave the broken chariots behind. We are now simultaneously and acutely aware of the powerlessness of ‘chemo’ right now and our need of our all sufficient ‘Christ’.
We have no problems with receiving medication. In our previous blog, we wrote about how blessed we were by God to receive His healing through medicine (http://www.annieandchemo.blogspot.com/2007/10/does-god-heal-today.html); but now was a different day, with very different circumstances, and a different theme verse that God had given us.
We should feel very vulnerable and fearful at this point. The mighty chemo has failed. The specialists can’t help my dear Annie. On behalf of us both, the absence of chemo has helped us to see our mighty, majestic and miracle-working Christ even more clearly.
Whether He chooses to heal or to call Annie home, to see Him clearly is all that matters to us each day.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2