Praise God, despite the severe infusion reaction last Friday the oncologist felt that Kim got enough Rituxan to be effective in her treatment and so we won't be encountering that drug again until the next cycle - in about 3 weeks. This was a pleasant surprise to us. Please continue to pray that Kim would be able to receive the Rituxan drug going forward.
|Sign our children made for mom's homecoming|
Coincidentally (haha) we found out the good news (final approval to leave) right before our dear friends Pastor Sung and Hannah had to catch their flight back to Toronto. The Lord had timed his stay at just the time that I needed him - no more and no less.
Okay. Enough about Kim. I know all of you are really here because you have a keen interest on how I'm doing so let's talk about ME! =P
I have told some of you this already but for the past 11 days (since Kim went to the hospital) I have been unable to sleep more than 4 hours a night. Honest to God. The last couple days I've been trying to take naps. I took a half hour nap a few days ago and that night I only slept 3.5 hours. I took a 1.5 hour nap on Monday and only slept 2.5 hours that night. Obviously the Lord only wants me to have 4 hours of sleep and when I try to work around it - He frustrates my plans. That said, you need to know that "4 hours" is a significant number to me. When I was in high school my dad (who used to stay up late studying every night) used to tell me often, "The human body can survive on 4 hours of sleep." While for the past 20 years I have tucked this away into the deep recesses of my mind under the category of "useless facts of information", I knew this was his gentle way of telling me, "Stop sleeping 10 hours a day and hit the books, boy!" I know in my heart that the Lord was giving me just enough sleep to survive. It has never been a restless 4 hours of sleep. I have enjoyed a deep, contiguous slumber and I have not had insomnia, but without fail, regardless of when I went to bed for the last 11 days - I only got 4 hours total of sleep.
When the Israelites were wandering in the desert and nearly dying of starvation the Lord heard their cries and rained down manna from heaven to sustain them - but strangely, He would only provide enough to last them for that day ...nothing more and nothing less. If they disobeyed God and hoarded beyond their daily need it would just become infested with rot and maggots the next morning (Exodus 16). I've come to realize that the Lord has been doing the same with me in regards to sleep (nothing more, nothing less) and it has served as an example for life. Battling cancer is a daily grind and you can only find the strength to battle one day at a time. In God's perfect wisdom, He is not going to provide everything at once - but just enough to develop within us a daily dependence upon Him. Thank you Lord.
All that said, I slept next to Kim for the first time last night and just woke up after 6 straight hours of sleep! Praise God!!
It was so good to have Kim back at home tonight after 11 long and unexpected days in the hospital. She is still fatigued and at times nauseous from the chemo treatment and needs to take it easy with the fluid around her heart but we are so thankful for this answer to prayer. Please don't take personal offense if I do not allow you to see Kim. The truth is the hardest part of cancer is not the initial diagnosis and treatment but the long and grinding battle that ensues at home during the chemotherapy and even well beyond.
I want to close with one last thing. About two years ago my pastor friend Sung asked me if I would be open to helping out a small ministry in his church called the "Word For Today" which sends out a daily devotional via email and also as a blog on their church website. I contributed just one entry per week, and found it to be a great outlet to share what the Lord had impressed in my heart that week.
Anyways, I was reflecting on how the Lord is already transforming this horrible curse in our lives (Kim's cancer) into a great blessing - not just for us but for countless others. It's hard to believe that in just the last week we are hearing so many testimonies of broken relationships that are being restored, wandering hearts who have come back to the Lord and found their faith renewed, and even skeptics of the gospel who are quite frankly amazed at seeing firsthand the love of Jesus though the body of Christ (the Church). It's humbling to play a small part in it. I remembered writing a post on this subject (Blessings vs Curses) a while ago and went back to search for it. Well, I found it buried in my inbox and lo and behold, it was dated January 18th, 2011 - exactly one year ago today! See original entry here or just read it pasted below. I think it's quite prophetic. Our God is truly an amazing God who, for His children, transforms curses into blessings....
Word For Today - January 18, 2011
"Nevertheless, the LORD your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you. -Deuteronomy 23:5
Growing up I knew of an older Korean lady that won $5 million dollars in the lottery. She was "blessed" and she made sure everyone knew it. Coincidentally, soon after becoming a millionaire she was elected President of the Korean Association in our town and at the Korean Association's annual volleyball tournament instead of raffling off the traditional bars of soap and toilet paper the grand prize that year was a Lincoln Town Car (donated by her). I'm sure you can see where this is headed. Within a few years she was completely bankrupt, had few friends and was much worse off than before she had won the lottery. God had turned what seemed to be a great "blessing" into a great "curse".
However, for those of us who know the love of God the inverse is true. When we get blindsided by something (e.g. health issue, job loss, marital strife, strong-willed child, etc) we may feel "cursed", but the Lord has a way of transforming curses into blessings for His children. This is why we are told to "consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2) - not because we should love pain, but because we have a greater hope of a greater blessing. This is the Lord's "modus operandi": He turns man's curses into divine blessings for those He loves (Neh 13:2), and He turns man's blessings into divine curses for those that reject Him (Mal 2:2).
The greatest proof of this truth can be found at the cross - where God took the greatest curse this world has ever devised (death on a cross-Gal 3:13) and transformed it into the greatest blessing this world has ever known (the hope of nations-Gal 3:8).
Do you feel you are dealing with a "curse"? Take heart. Remember the cross and remember we serve a God that creates "beauty from ashes, gladness from mourning, and praise from despair" (Isa 61:3).
Awed by Grace,
Peter & Kim