I hate to wait. Waiting seems to me to be such a waste of time. In Taiwan I used to have to wait all the time. If you go to the Post Office, you have to take a number and wait your turn; same thing happens at the banks. Even at “fast food” places in Taiwan, we would usually be told, please find a seat in the dining area and we will bring your food to you in a little bit. We had to wait. So, I always had a book I was reading, or my PDA with me so that I could work on something while I waited. Waiting just never was a good thing, in my view.
However, in biblical terms, waiting on God is a good thing and something that we are required to do quite often. I was reminded of the value of waiting while reading today’s “A Slice of Infinity” (email@example.com).
Strength comes to those who wait - Psalm 27:14; God even waits (and us with Him) for the right time to be gracious to us - Isaiah 30:18; God promises to hear the prayers of those who wait - Micah 7:7
I have to be willing to wait on the Lord to receive His blessing and strength on my life.
"Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word." Ps. 119:17
My next chemo is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, March 1st). Then next Sunday, March 5th, I am preaching at our home church’s mission conference. Please pray for strength to stand and proclaim God’s message.
Why do people find it so hard to ask God for specific healing? I am amazed at the number of people whose prayers sound as if they are giving God permission to not heal! The prayers sound so spiritual too with phrases such as "we don't ask anything except your perfect will, Lord." That kind of prayer is not edifying to the sick one and in fact smacks of a lack of faith that God could indeed decide to heal!
In a quick perusal of Luke and Mark this morning, I was overwhelmed with the number of times that Jesus healed those that were sick. Yes, I know that God does not always choose to heal every person that has a terrible disease such as cancer, but that is not the point. The point is that He CAN if He chooses. Our position in prayer is not that of granting God the right to do what He chooses, but rather to demonstrate our faith in His healing ability.
The blind man here in Luke chapter 18 was asked directly what he desired. Suppose he had answered, "Well, if it's your will perhaps you might be able to help my eyes get better...but of course only what you want to do, Lord, and I'll be satisfied." How silly that would have been! Instead, he boldly declares, "I want to see!" Jesus' response was "Your faith has saved you."
In the book of James we are encouraged to call for the spiritual leaders of the church to pray for healing. James 5:15 says "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick..."
Based on these scriptures, I am continuing to pray for Malcom's complete healing. I am blessed by those who often encourage us with the same determination. We appreciate your boldness and faith!
Good news to report: The MRI done on Monday came back negative for metastasis to the brain. We are SO relieved!
There are times when both physical and emotional forces drain one of energy. Almighty God, who created us and knows us, addresses both aspects in this verse. The emotional is described as "faint", the physical "no might." Contrast that to the Lord's provision--power and increased strength. I praise God that He has been true to His promise this week in supplying the emotional and spiritual needs each day. Malcom started chemo on Wednesday, yet the Lord gave him both the emotional and physical strength to participate in Michael's memorial service on Thursday. It was a beautiful service and a blessing to the family.
Yesterday we received the latest CEA report (tumor marker). It is 109, up from 22.5 last month. Again we have to lean upon the Lord lest we become weary and discouraged. Please pray that the change in chemo will slow and even reverse the growth of the cancer.
Another emotional stress that we deal with is being away from our work and ministry in Taiwan. We are in constant communication with the church people, our hearts being knit with theirs--rejoicing when they rejoice and hurting when they hurt. This week one of our men, Bro. Chen, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. We praise God for missionary co-workers, Andy and Lisa Simpson, who were quick to respond to our request to visit Bro. Chen. It relieved our minds greatly to know that they were there! We ask that you pray for his speedy recovery, and that God would use these circumstances to draw his wife and daughter to seek Christ.
Just about 24 hours ago at the young age of twenty-three years, Michael Noriega closed his eyes to this world of pain and suffering and opened them in the presence of God. It was a peace-filled passing with his mother and father at his side. Although our hearts grieve for the earthly loss of a friend, yet we celebrate his release from a diseased body and his entrance into eternal life where he no doubt found a grand welcoming committee put together by Jesus Christ himself!
Tonight we spent some time with Joe and Alex, Michael's parents. I was once again deeply touched as I realized God's hand in the events of the last couple of years and how He brought together two families who were perfect strangers six months ago. But tonight we were able to comfort them with the same comfort which we received from God. Who else can say "I understand" but someone who has also lost an adult child? Who else can say, "God's grace will be sufficient to see you through this valley" but one who has experienced that grace?
So we praise God.... for allowing Malcom and Mike to cross paths so that he might learn of God and receive salvation....and for allowing us as a couple to minister to Joe and Alex. I do not believe that the story stops here. God is working in lives, bringing people together to accomplish His eternal purposes. We are grateful for the small role God has given us in His plan.
Yesterday some dear friends came by the house to visit and encourage. They brought a copy of a cartoon that has been around for quite a few years. Maybe you've seen it...a frog strangling the bird that is trying to swallow him. The caption reads "Never ever give up!" (here is a link if you'd like to see the cartoon: http://www.pa.uky.edu/~shlosman/anim/nevergiveup.jpg) Although we had seen it before, it sure was a good reminder of a great way to visualize the attitude that we need to have in facing trials.
I have not "arrived" yet. I'm still in the learning process. The last few days I have not felt content with life's circumstances. I want things moving forward, Malcom getting better, the day of returning to the field getting closer. I still question why God has allowed cancer to enter the equation of our life and ministry. The Lord is so patient with me, answering me through His Word, reminding me of verses such as:
- "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:7
- "...and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5
It is a struggle to stay optimistic. My faith is strong, but I do become emotionally weary sometimes of the path. So I don't dare claim to have all the answers, but I am learning day by day to strive for contentment, giving my questions and my weariness to my Lord.
There has been no significant change in Malcom's condition since last week. He continues to be quite fatigued, probably due to the chemical affects of the chemo. He is still coughing and having some difficulty breathing. Please continue to hold him up in your prayers.
To "walk in the midst of trouble" presents quite a word picture. I, for one, have tried my best to avoid such a circumstance my entire life . I mean, really! Who wants trouble? Not me! Being raised in a family of 9 children, it was not a good idea to be found in the middle of a problem. If I saw trouble brewing, I would try to skirt around it, stay quiet so as not to be involved in it, avoid rocking the boat at all costs. To live in peace without any troubles is such a desirable state. But is it?
The life of smooth sailing and perfect ease is not one that stimulates spiritual growth. Rather, it is in the midst of trouble that I see God the clearest and experience His presence to the fullest. Because I know His character, I know He does not afflict without cause. He does not allow us to pass through the valley alone and without purpose. He is there walking with us, and He does not tire. No, it is I who becomes weary in the midst of trouble. It's a good thing He is there to revive me. I like how one commentator put it: "If we receive reviving we need not regret affliction."
Psalm 138 is a study in complete trust and worship of the Lord. Today in the midst of trouble, I found the Lord reviving me through His Word. Verse 2 speaks of His lovingkindness. Verse 3 reminds me that He hears and answers my cries. Verse 6 tells me though He is great, yet He is attentive to the lowly. Verse 7 He revives me in the midst of trouble and verse 8 this great Psalm ends with the affirmation that "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me..."
Malcom and I are praising the Lord for the blessings of today:
- a successful thoracentesis--they removed about 1500 cc of fluid from around his right lung.
- for many friends extending words of comfort and promises of prayer
- for hope in the Lord and the joy in serving Him
On Friday, January 29, 2006, Richard formally completed flight school and received his wings! We are very proud of him. Within the next month he should receive new orders and move to North Carolina. He will be stationed at Marine Corp Air Station New River (only 2 hours from Amy in Raleigh-Durham).
On the MCAS New River website, there is a link to the Station Aircraft which shows a picture of the CH53E Super Stallion that Richard will be flying.
The pictures posted here are of Richard receiving his wings from Papa and Mom Feistel.
The results of the CT scan are in. It isn't good news. The cancer is growing again, this evidenced by another suspicious spot on Malcom's right lung, a marked increase in the build up of fluid around the right lung (which explains his labored breathing), an increase in the size of the lymph nodes of the chest to name a few. The decision was made to go ahead with chemo and in fact changing one of the drugs. In addition, tomorrow morning Malcom is scheduled to undergo a procedure (thoracentesis) to remove the fluid around the lung.
It's been one of those roller-coaster emotion days. It is a setback and can be discouraging. That being said, once again Malcom and I both are making a conscious decision to continue trusting the Lord. We cannot trust Him only when days are good and the prospects seem hopeful. True faith chooses to trust even in the darkest of hours. Rather than allow fear and doubt to reign, we will let the peace of God rule in our hearts.
Someone asked me tonight how they should pray. Maybe you wonder the same thing. The answer is: pray for healing, pray that the change in chemo will be effective, pray for God's perfect will.