Chemo days offer us a strange dichotomy of emotions. There is the dread of chemo and excitement of being one step closer to done. Today was no different, except that this could be our last treatment, or so we thought. When we started this journey, we were told we would have to endure 4-6 rounds of chemo. So today, number four, could have potentially been our last one. However, in a disappointing turn of events, we found out that a "round" of chemo is two treatments. So, we are only half way there if it's four rounds, and a third of the way there if it is six rounds.
I cannot begin to tell you how disappointing and devastating it is to think you're all finished with something that has been so difficult, only to find that you might not even be at the halfway mark. Just halfway there, and the nurses tell you it's going to get nothing but worse from here on out. What do you do with that? What should your reaction be? Our first reaction is disbelief, followed by a little bit of anger mixed with tears. After that, all that's left is just this impending dread of the uphill battle you thought you were done with. As a man, nothing breaks your heart more than not being able to stop the tears cascading down your wife's face.
I am hard pressed most times to come up with the careful lessons and thoughtful words that Jenny is able to pluck from the Bible so well from week to week. It's even harder when you are trying to do so in the midst of disappointment. And it's not just disappointment, but this feeling of "We're trying really hard here to be faithful.....so, um, what's up God?". It's not a lack of faith, but it's a human response to a difficult situation. I am just a man after all. And that got me thinking....
How disappointed was Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous? Your own family, hating you enough to want to kill you, but selling you instead. In slavery he's lifted to an elevated position in Potiphar's house, only to be accused by his wife of trying to sleep with her. Sent back to prison, he must have been sorely disappointed again. And what became of all of these trials and disappointments? Joseph eventually was in charge of all of Egypt, second only to the Pharoah, and became the rescuer of the sons of Israel.
What did Job feel as he was stripped of everything? He was a prominent man who had it all: large family, wealth, respect in his community. All of it was taken from him. Tragically, he lost it ALL. Can you imagine his confusion, his sense of loss, his disappointment in how his life was turning out? He lost everything but his faith, and because of that, he was restored with twice as much as before, and became a testament to the faithfulness of the Lord.
In the New Testament, what did Joseph feel when he first found out that Mary was pregnant? I know he had to be confused, perplexed, angered, and definitely disappointed. And yet months later, after all of the disappointment he experienced, there he was, holding the very son of God in his arms. Disappointment turned into salvation.
Each of these are human examples of disappointment. But in each case, God was faithful and the disappointment each of these men faced was turned to joy. So here we sit, hearts full of hurt and disappointment. While our human hearts may overtake our emotions for a short time, we desperately cling to our faith, holding onto the promise of a mighty God, and await the transformation of disappointment into joy, laughter and celebration.
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus". Philippians 3:13-15
Praise God for His overwhelming sense of peace that definitely passes all understanding. Thank you for your continued letters, emails, and prayers. We covet each and every prayer you may lift up on our behalf, and we love you all. --john