It’s a dismal, damp and dreary Friday afternoon. It’s 5:00pm and we’re fresh back from the hospital following our appointment with the oncologist. If you read our journal entry yesterday evening, you’ll know how we feel about hospitals but I have to say we entered with incredible peace and both left singing the words of a modern hymn, My Troubled Soul:
I will praise the mighty name of Jesus,
Praise the Lord, the lifter of my head.
Praise the Rock of my salvation,
All my days are in His faithful hands.
Our peaceful entrance had nothing to do with the passive drag of nicotine we usually experience as we approach the outside lobby! It had everything to do with the few hours we spent in fellowship with two dear sisters (who would like to remain nameless!) around the Word of God this afternoon before we left. Brothers and sisters, forfeit fellowship around God’s Word and you will forfeit a channel of His supernatural blessing of peace! But…
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. – Psalm 119:165
And our melodious exit had very little to do with the results of our meeting inside the hospital.
The oncologist confirmed that the cancer is in Annie’s bones. This isn’t necessarily a new development since the news of the return of cancer. The last full bone density scan Annie had was probably a good couple of years ago so we can’t really tell how long the cancer has been in Annie’s bones. On her computer screen the oncologist showed us a picture of Annie’s full skeleton. It’s a sort of strange experience seeing the bones of your wife but before I could spend too long processing my thoughts and feelings, Annie said to me “I told you I had knocked knees!”.
During the skeletal slideshow, the oncologist highlighted shady points in Annie’s hips, ribs, lower back and skull as hot spots of the bone cancer. She did make a point of saying “But your liver is okay.” Her recommendation was that Annie has a single blast of radiotherapy to help with any pain in the bones and also that she takes some pills – commonly prescribed to folks with osteoporosis – to assist in drawing calcium into the bones which can help keep the bones from breaking easily.
Before we left for the hospital we asked that the Lord would give us wisdom and clarity in making any decisions that might have to be made and we felt that we were given the clarity and peace of mind to ask about any side effects of the recommended action. As far as the oncologist was concerned, the side effects were not serious enough to be concerned about, so we don’t have any particular issue or objections at this point.
Another thing I prayed for was that if the Lord gave me the opportunity, I would not be afraid or ashamed to speak the name of Jesus. As the oncologist was traversing through images of Annie’s bones I was praying inwardly: “Lord, I am ready and I am not ashamed of awkward silences. Could you prompt the oncologist to ask how I am doing, cos the name of your Son is on my tongue!” I felt a bit like the prophet Jeremiah and wished the oncologist could see what was in my bones:
But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. – Jeremiah 20:9
But it was as if she had a taxi waiting! Once she passed her verdict she was out of the room before we were.
I don’t want my declaration of the name of Jesus to be something I have to blurt out and tick off a list but I also do not want to be ashamed or afraid to name Him when the opportunity is given. It is so easy for us to speak of ‘our God’ or ‘our faith’ or ‘our church’ but let’s not be ashamed or afraid to speak The Name of Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and reason for hope!
The Apostle Peter who once shamefully cowered and vehemently denied it knew all too well how significant it was to declare that name:
It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:10-12
Before a group of learned and powerful men, thirsty for his blood, Peter stood unschooled, ordinary and unashamed of the name of Jesus and his opposers were disarmed.
We left the hospital venting the name of Jesus in song and praise and peace but we long to speak His name more and more and more.
I know that there are many brothers and sisters whose hearts and lips are filled with prayers for Annie’s healing. Do not let our news discourage your prayers. We are in the everlasting arms of our God and both Annie and I can testify that we are receiving peace and strength and joy even as these letters leave this keyboard! He is with us – no news changes that fact!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Lord Jesus, as I write this, I am pleading for myself, for my dear Annie and for my brothers and sisters reading this, for more opportunity to speak the name of Jesus in love and boldness!
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7