What follows is the recent email I sent to our church in response to their request for ‘points’ for prayer and praise (see connecting journal post)
…wow, I wish we could answer this more concisely!
Praise – that one is easy and almost unending!
For nearly three months God has given Annie a measure of health and strength – alongside and in spite of the cancer and its presence – which even our hospice nurse recently described as ‘unbelievable’. Every day is like the first day after we were married. I wake up and I look at my wife and I am full of praise and thankfulness to God. Another day; another incredible, unexpected blessing. Trusting and obeying Jesus is back to being an adventurous journey. Sunday will be exactly one year since we shared our news with the fellowship, for prayer. Neither of us could have imagined one year on we would be doing the same. This is unimaginable, unexpected and wonderful territory. It’s easy to say ‘We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.’ and yet still be caught up planning as if it is a given. For us, that’s not the case. We do not know how tomorrow will look. I cannot even assume that tomorrow all will be well for us to celebrate and share (but we really hope the Lord does grant it to us). Whatever happens, we know, Jesus is with us and His Spirit dwells in us and we trust Him and love Him.
We also praise God for His timing. We could have had this period of respite much sooner on. Instead, this second leg of the journey with cancer started hard from the beginning; there were times late 2011 and early 2012 when we thought the end was soon. July through September have been really busy months for ministry – especially as we prepare for the commissioning of the church plant in October. This same period has perfectly coincided with with a new period of health and strength for Annie! It has released me to give time that I didn’t know that I would have. I am thankful to God for His incredible timing. Although the path ahead is still uncertain – both the church plant path and the path of cancer – God has already brought us through some of the really difficult bits so that the church planting path has been easier to tread than it could have been at this point. Next week the church plant will be commissioned and I feel the rare balance of not having everything worked out coupled with complete peace.
And could we move forward without thanking the Lord for His people at Manor Park!?
God has truly incarnated and poured out abundantly His power, His wisdom, His love, His care, His assurance, His promises…through His people at Manor Park. We love them dearly and thank the Lord. To put it another way, I believe that without them, today would have looked very different to the way it does right now. In the words of the old hymn, because of them and their faithful prayers, I believe we have experienced far less needless pain over the last year.
As for the prayer points…
The cancer (as far as we know) is still there. There are occasional moments of nausea and moments of pain. The swelling still comes and goes – even though those things are nowhere near as intense as they have been.
Our prayer would continue to be that God would heal so that we might continue to be used as a couple – especially in our neighbourhood as we serve in the church plant in Warndon.
However, we always pray that we would never forget past lessons. We continue to live one day at a time – in ways that we never really did before cancer – even before September 2011. It’s a great stress reliever to live one day at a time. To live with the hope that the Lord would come soon and to be found sharing, experiencing and honouring Him this day. But of course, with an increase in health (even a small one) it’s easy to go back to the way things were before. It’s easy to crave the worldly things once again. Instead Annie and I desire to continue to let go of more and more of the temporal things in this world while we are in it, so that we might..
…know [t]his love that surpasses knowledge–that [you] ‘we’ may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:19
Please pray that we would continue to combat fear with hope in the Lord. We are not fearless of cancer. We are not immune to worry. Only by God’s help, in dwelling and empowering can we overcome those daily opportunities to let fear and worry take over us.
Our love in Jesus,
Ry and Annie