Saturday, February 28, 2009

In His Eyes

I saw it again yesterday. One of my favorite things to watch.

The chatter slowed as the time drew near. The music started. The processional began. Reaction was mostly polite lack of immediate interest, combined with more than a little anticipation.

He made his entrance. Stood awkwardly in front of the crowd. More or less made eye contact with a few of them, but looked like he felt very much out of place.

Then it happened. The music changed. A buzz went through the crowd. The doors opened. The crowd turned to look. He strained to see too, though he couldn't at first.

After a moment or two, though, he saw. There she was, on her Daddy's arm. Radiant. Beaming. The bride, made ready for her groom.

As I watched the groom, I knew the exact moment when he could see her. His smiled deepened with a heavy dose of "Wow!!," as his breath left him. For a brief second, composure left him too, but he managed to regain it and to actually breath again. All others in the room disappeared from his vision. He saw only her. His bride.

I love to watch this moment in a wedding ceremony. Oh sure, I'll turn with the others & watch her coming down the aisle with her Daddy. But I always make a point of turning back & watching the groom as he strains to see his bride. Not sure why, but I have 2 guesses.

First, a past tense reason. I recall that nearly 25 years ago I was the groom straining to see his bride. I still recall how that first view took my breath away and how everyone else in the church vanished when I saw her. This still happens when she enters a room, btw.

And second, a future tense reason.

"As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
Isaiah 62:5b

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure'— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These are the true words of God.'"
Revelation 19:6-9

A day is coming, ladies & gents, when we, the bride of Christ, will enter the presence of the bridegroom. The analogy of an earthly bridegroom falls trememdously short at this point. But it is absolutely awesome to ponder, isn't it? Our heavenly bridegroom rejoicing as we make our entrance?

Perhaps that's why I so very much enjoy watching the guy when the bride enters. It's both a reminder and foreshadowing. I definitely remember. And I can't wait.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

God's Purposes in this Recession

Just listened to >>this message<< by one of my favorite preachers & writers, John Piper. I love his teaching, even when it zings me. Like this message did. (I listen to him every week via podcast) I've thought about what God might be up to in causing/allowing (your choice of words!) this recession. But as he so often does, Piper says it such that I conclude by going, "yeah, that's way better than anything I was thinking."

Check these purposes out. And then click the link above and go either listen to or read the message (both are available for free there). I have nothing to add, except to again say "wow!" and "ouch!".

(excerpt from his message summarizing his view of some of God's purposes in the recession starts below)

(Some of) God’s Purposes in This Recession
Now what are some of God’s purposes in this recession? I will mention five:

He intends for this recession to expose hidden sin and so bring us to repentance and cleansing.

He intends to wake us up to the constant and desperate condition of the developing world where there is always and only recession of the worst kind.

He intends to relocate the roots of our joy in his grace rather than in our goods, in his mercy rather than our money, in his worth rather than our wealth.

He intends to advance his saving mission in the world—the spread of the gospel and the growth of his church—precisely at a time when human resources are least able to support it. This is how he guards his glory.

He intends for the church to care for its hurting members and to grow in the gift of love.
(excerpt ends)

Give yourself a blessing and a challenge and go read/listen to the whole thing. He unpacks each of these points. It's quite remarkable.

Still pondering.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"Cut along the perforated line..." (medical update)

Great, great visit w/ Dr. Mehran the surgeon this morning. Very encouraging. Here's the deal (this will be quick, since we're waiting on me finishing this one to hit the road for H'burg).

--He does *not* think this is a new metastasis. (remember yesterday? "no evidence of cancer anywhere else"?) This news is very huge...

--He says this is probably an "implantation." Meaning, a cell or two dropped off during the previous surgery and "implanted" @ the site. (This hot spot is at my 1st surgery site, but is *not* inside my lung this time)

--He said it *could* be merely a post-surgery inflamation(!). However, he assigned this a 20% probability, with the other 80% probability that it's an implanted melanoma.

--He recommended waiting 3 months & then re-scanning. If there's still activity @ the site--which he expects--we'll do surgery then. (late May) I quote: "it will be an easy procedure, an easy surgery." He will just extend the cut where the scar is and take the hot spot out (hence the post title "cut along the perforated line"). Again, I quote: "everything will be fine."

In summary, given evidence of more cancerous activity, this is very good news. Unfortunately for my students, I won't even have to miss any more classes for this one. *smile* Dr. Mehran is very confident and reassuring, and was especially so this morning.

Tentative schedule: P.E.T. scan Tues., May 26 (I actually do recognize & greet the now-familiar nurses & techs there..."how's your son doing in pharmacy school?"..."how's that baby?"...*smile*). Appt. w/ Dr. Mehran, Wed. May 27. surgery, Thurs. May 28.

Please see my description of my God in yesterday's post (points down) and note the verses from Isaiah.

Thanks so very much for your prayers & encouragement!!!

With much love and great hope,

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Medical Update/Prayer Request

So...the results of yesterday's P.E.T. scan showed good news & less-good news.

The good news: Only one small spot showed up just outside the lung. No signs of metastatic melanoma elsewhere in my body. Nurse, P.A., & Dr. Homsi all mentioned this.

The less-good news: there is the one spot...It was noticed in the last P.E.T. scan in November, but only barely lit up on the scan. Hence this scan yesterday. This time, it really lit up on the scan.

So, what does this mean?
Glad you asked. Dr. Homsi recommends another surgery along the lines of the previous two. So, I have an appt. w/ Dr. Mehran tomorrow (Wed.) at 8:30. The strong hope/prayer is that Dr. Mehran will agree to operate again. So there's the immediate prayer concern.
I've already received a call from his nurse saying that if he operates (his decision, not hers, of course), it would be on Thurs. Feb. 26. I'd be back out here the Wed. before for cardio function tests, which I passed w/ flying colors last time.

I'll update more later. Briefly, here's where we are emotionally & spiritually:
--God is not surprised, nor is He scared. He is the Alpha & Omega, the first and the last. He knows the end from the beginning, and is mindful that we are but dust. He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think. He has called me by name; I am His. If He be for me, who can be against me? Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors,that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty,the Lord, mighty in battle!
(There's more, but that'll do for now...awesome, isn't He??)
--There is still good news here. First, for example, there's *no* evidence that it's spread anywhere new. Still just in the lung. Nowhere else lit up on the P.E.T. scan. Second, again, it's just the one spot. Third, Dr. Homsi said that I was in much worse shape last year. ( that last one is an odd way to find encouragement...I'm reminded of the excellent scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail: "it's only a flesh wound"...*huge grin*)
--Lisa & I are fine, all things considered. I was less bummed this time than previous times. Really!
--So, we're eager to crank up the video surgery tools & get this one out too, should Dr. Mehran agree.
--Both of our bosses are already moving the world to enable us to not worry about missing another day of work tomorrow. (memo to all: when picking a workplace, make sure to pick a great boss!)
--My HS classmate didn't hesitate about inviting us to stay over an extra night. Wanna know what the spiritual gift of hospitality looks like? Come stay @ Diane's with us.
--Our vehicle lender said that his only request was that we NOT worry about having his truck an extra day. And he's already offered it for the surgery too.
--Within an hour, I already had multiple comments & encouraging notes via facebook. Once again, the Body of Christ is doing what it does; "bear one another's burdens & thus fulfill the law" as Paul said. We are most assuredly NOT feeling left alone here!

Thank you so very much for mentioning us in the throneroom of glory! May the One Who sits there enthroned receive all the glory.

Because I am securely in His grip, I close this
With love and hope,

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you...: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3a