Monday, May 28, 2007

Please pray for my son: Lessons learned

Praise the Lord! After just shy of one week, we were able to bring our son home from the hospital. Presently, his prognosis looks good. He is on a daily regiment of Gleevec and has to drink lots of water, but other than that, his life, and ours, is returning to normal. In this post, I wanted to share four lessons that I learned and observed this past week. I'm sure that these lessons are not new to anyone, but they were key in getting us through the difficult times in coming to grips with my son's leukemia.

That first night, right after being told that my son had leukemia, there was a constant struggle to resist fear and panic. As I sat in the ER room with my son, I remembered what Paul did when he was locked away in jail. "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:25) I began to consider that, perhaps, they were singing, in part, as a defense against the harsh reality that faced them. I wish I could say that I had the courage to sing out loud, but not being sure how my son would respond, I sang to God in my heart. As I worshiped God, the fear, panic, and despair that surrounded me was pushed back and I was able to sense a measure of peace. From my own prison I, like Paul and Silas, found peace and comfort.

After the initial shock, I was tempted to start searching the Internet for everything on leukemia, CML, and its treatment. However, I was reminded of when Peter walked on water. "But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out,"Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:30) While I wanted to learn more about my son's cancer, I also knew that what was immediately important was my faith. I needed to keep my faith strong and my focus on the Lord. I couldn't afford to look at the wind and the waves, I had to keep my focus on the Lord. There will be a time for study and research, but there, in the hospital, I couldn't afford to be swayed by what I might read. Like Peter, wind and waves could shake my faith, that was something I had to protect myself against.

While we were waiting for a positive diagnosis of CML, I found myself getting anxious. What would the results of the biopsy be? What if it wasn't CML? What if the diagnosis was worse than we anticipated? When faced with these uncertainties, the Lord reminded me that my hope was not in a good diagnosis but rather our hope was in the Lord. It reminded me of when Jesus was on the way to heal a man's daughter. On the way, the news came that she has already died. However, Jesus encouraged the man, "Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well." (Luke 8:50) I was encouraged that the report of the doctors was less important than the report of the Lord; that the world's report must come into subjection to the Lord's report.

Finally, through it all I have had a sense that there is a deeper purpose of God in all this; that there is more that God is doing than simply healing my son. I believe that there is something greater that God is doing in my life, my son's life, and in my family. I cannot say what that is, however I do sense God at work. My prayer is that, in the days to come, God's will and plan for our lives will continue to become clearer and more apparent with each passing day. God is at work and, in that, I take great comfort.

David Robison

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