God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease—smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see—but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension—and yet don’t. By his love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.
Tony Snow, former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush
Christianity Today, 7/20/2007
At this point in our cancer story, we are simply tired of it. We would love to just quit, close our eyes and forget about upcoming infusions, spinal taps and the oral medications waiting to be picked up at the pharmacy. Wouldn’t it be nice to receive an infusion of extra energy at the Cancer Clinic instead of more chemotherapy! A supportive friend once told us that fighting cancer is like running a marathon every day. At some point, you’re just tired of running, tired of fighting, tired of doing unpleasant things — but there is no furlough from running a race against leukemia until the finish line is crossed. Looking back, we’re encouraged to see how far we’ve come. Looking ahead, we remember the goal — a cure for our little girl. Yes, that is the finish line and we won’t stop until we get there. We are determined to press on.
This week we received a lab result that was concerning. The doctor says we must check it again in a month and if it still looks concerning, more ominous testing will be required. We are so weary of worrying. We need a faith infusion.
These are the times when your prayers are particularly needed and felt. Endurance is bolstered by the prayers of God’s people. Tony Snow, writing about his own battle with cancer, knew all about the power of prayer:
When our faith flags, He throws reminders in our way. We think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it.
It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up—to speak of us!
Your prayers cheer us on in this cancer marathon. God’s Spirit shows up and we find strength to make it through one more appointment. You are a catalyst for His love and grace to be poured out. This is the thrilling part of going “off-road” with God. Stomachs churn from the twists and turns, and often you’d just like to get out of the jeep, but then suddenly around the next bend you’re thrilled to witness another miracle of answered prayer. Exhausting? Yes — but oh what a ride.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.