Tuesday, March 14, 2006:
There is a bigger purpose to my cancer. Upon visiting my Hopkins urologist today, my wife Marie and I learned my PSA had increased from 3.8 six months earlier to 9.7 today. My urologist saved us until there were no patients left. We then spent nearly an hour talking to him alone. Medically, he suggested starting hormonal therapy when I see the oncologists. But the conversation turned immediately to the book my urologist had asked me to read about spirituality and prostate cancer. In my “book review” I reported that the author gave a good account of the effect of prostate cancer on his married, career and social lives but his take-home lesson seemed only to be “live each day to the fullest”. Since we are eternal beings and will live on after prostate cancer, this advice, while it is sound, did not provide me personally with any positive spiritual aspirations or encouragement and did not address eternal issues. I shared with my urologist about my Bible’s views on eternal life, knowing Jesus personally and how God has a master plan even involving my prostate cancer. I also shared about a mother of a nurse friend of ours who had recently died in a New England hospital. During the days just preceding her death, this mother had repeated visions and conversations with Christian friends and family members including her sister who had died earlier. Though she did not identify Jesus in her visions, she could identify many others in the heavenly throng which she saw. The mother was not being medicated and her nurse daughter, our friend, witnessed these visions personally. Many doctors and nurses also witnessed these events. The mother finally died very peacefully. My urologist listened intently. It was a God-ordained, 50 minute appointment. God’s presence was very strong. I should not forget that God is right in the midst of my cancer scenario. Whether or not I recover, I believe God / Jesus desires to reveal Himself and His attributes especially to physicians who are involved in my care and treatment. I leave the purposes up to God alone.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006:
I receive a death sentence? My PSA is 9.7. It is doubling every 5 months. This is critical. I sent my PSA data to a National Cancer Institute (NCI) prostate specialist in Bethesda who sent me an article he had just published in the Journal of the NCI. Summing it up, a person in my situation, with a negative bone scan and starting hormonal therapy can expect to live 89 months from this point. This is the median value. I can also expect to fail hormonal therapy in 19 months. I am very disillusioned. Where is God’s healing? I have kept my end of the deal and shared my faith in God / Jesus to all my physicians including those at Johns Hopkins. I have also been empowered by “ touching the hem of his (Jesus’) garment” but where is the healing? I am confused. I plan to live my life as I only have 7 ½ years left.
Saturday March 25th, 2006:
What to do when you don’t sense God and He seems unresponsive. I have an upcoming appointment with oncologists at Johns Hopkins. Meanwhile, Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional for March 24th discussed Job 23:8-14. Job says he cannot sense God in verses 8-9, stating “Behold I go forward but He is not there; And backward, but I cannot perceive Him. When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.” But in verse 10 Job concludes, “But He knows the way I take. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” So I will stick with the plan and acknowledge God. I will trust in what He has told me and remember all He has done for me in the past. This is a lesson that the Israelites were repeatedly instructed to do in the Old Testament.
Several days had passed and God still seemed unresponsive. Psalm 130:1,2,5 states “Out of the depths I have cried to Thee O’ Lord. Lord, hear my voice. Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. I wait for the Lord, and in His word do I hope.” The Lord blesses those who wait. Proverbs 8:34-5 state, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” Charles Stanley has said that an attitude of expectancy that the Lord will do what He promised is another part of waiting. We will find it easier to be still when we remember that God always keeps His word. But for me the big question is what really had He promised me?
Tuesday April 25, 2006:
Remember how God has delivered us in the past. Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional for today cited Matthew 9:18-33. In verses 20-22, the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak was made immediately well. In verses 28-9, Jesus asks two blind men “do you believe I am able to do this?” He then healed them and said “Be it done according to your faith.” I should pray for the faith I need and keep my eyes focused on Jesus as Peter did when he walked on water. Dr. Stanley says when trouble strikes we often forget how God has worked in the past with answers to prayer, specific guidance etc. Our minds reel with future implications and our troubled emotions inhibit clear thinking. We should keep reading the Bible and keep a spiritual journal to see the Lord’s unchangeable nature over the years.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006:
Jesus does not always work the way we expect. Mark 6:45-56, describes Jesus walking on the water during a storm and later healing many people on the opposite shoreline. Verse 56 says that many people were “entreating him (Jesus) that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.” (Note being cured is a process; it may not always be instantaneous). During the storm, the disciples thought Jesus had forgotten them but He knew exactly where they were and what they were experiencing. Jesus does not always come the way we expect. The disciples did not recognize Him walking on the water. Our preconceived ideas of how He works can cause us to wonder where He is and fail to recognize His nearness. When turmoil hits, ask for spiritual eyes to discern the Lord’s presence. Then listen for His voice and obey.
Monday-Friday, May 1-5, 2006:
What is true faith? Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional for the next 2 weeks will be on faith defined in Hebrews 11:1 as the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Citing Hebrews 11:1-5, Dr. Stanley writes that God is pleased with our faith, and that to exercise effective faith, I have to go beyond simply thinking God can do all things, I have to assume He will do what He says. The question for me then is what did God promise me when Jesus told me to ‘touch the hem of His garment’? Did he promise healing? I hope so because the two references to it in the New Testament both produced physical healing. Though my physical eyesight may not detect evidence that God is answering my prayer, I must be confident He will fulfill every promise He makes to me in His word and otherwise.
God is waiting for me to come to Him in complete trust. My first responsibility is to petition the Lord often as needed. Then consciously I must decide to trust Him for an answer and wait with assurance and anticipation that He will follow through on His promises. In Hebrews 11:6-10, verse 6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God and that I must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I should give God the small anxieties that plague me. As my assurance builds, I will believe Him for greater things. In return, God can use my life and its conditions in ways never imagined. As mentioned before, I may never know exactly what Jesus meant when He told me to “touch the hem of His garment.” Was this a promise of physical healing? I may never know but I still have to trust His message, His word and His motives for me.
James 1:1-8 states that our faith is being tested and stretched to grow. The purpose of this process is endurance, perfection and completeness in our need and trust of God. He (God or Jesus) is all I will ever need. If I lack wisdom about a sense of direction or what God has said, I should ask God in faith “who gives to all men generously” (v.5). We are warned not to be double-minded. Our doubts will drive us back and forth, just like me when I vacillate between trust and peace versus fear and anxiety. The reason I hesitate to trust God is that I judge the circumstances by what I see. Therefore, I cannot envision a way the Lord will use to carry out His promises. I know in my head that God can do anything and He has been faithful in the past, but the seeming impracticality of my situation fills me with doubt. I must exercise my faith, choose to focus it daily.
Sometimes we hesitate to trust God because our knowledge or experience contradicts His plan. In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus commanded Peter to continue fishing after trying all night and catching nothing. This contradicted Peter’s fishing expertise. But God delivered bountifully. Sometimes God challenges us to act even when we do not understand how God will be successful. We are not guaranteed to be privy to His complete plan.
Matthew 14: 22-36 describes Jesus calming the storm. He may want to do far more in my life and through my witness than I am willing to allow. I believe He can do great things, but the problem is I am not sure if He will act on my behalf. Will my cancer be healed, will I be maintained in a chronic condition, or is this the vehicle for my death? Consequently, I may be unable to trust Him fully for personal answers. Vacillating between faith and doubt makes for a sick and tired Christian which at times I admit I am. If I desire to calm the sea of faith, I must act on my will rather than making choices according to my feelings or sight. Peter walked on water because he proceeded in trust rather than reason. I will not become stable in my faith until I recognize that believing God is a choice. Then I must focus my attention on God not the circumstances. As long as Peter stared at Jesus, he walked on water. But when he looked at the surrounding waves, he sank. I must also keep our mind on God’s Word, depending totally on Scripture. I must choose to believe God will work on my behalf whatever the outcome. Focus my attention on Him, claim a promise from the Bible that applies to my situation. Then God will honor my steadfast faith. Curiously in Matthew 14:35-36, it says “And when the men of that place (Gennesaret) recognized Him (Jesus), they sent into all that surrounding district and brought Him all who were sick; and they began to entreat Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.” Will Jesus choose to do this today?
Thursday, May 18th, 2006:
Adversity can be a good thing. Pastor Tom. I had a friend named Rev. Tom Crogan who had colon cancer which had metastasized to his liver and lungs. He battled his disease very courageously for three years until God mercifully took him home in July, 2009. Tom served actively as a pastor of a Maryland church until just before his death. His funeral program quoted Tom as saying: “Celebrate!!! Remember I am already in heaven and have been for several days.” Tom challenged me in many ways as we would meet and pray together. One of the issues we discussed was the concept of whether we really want God to be manifested and glorified in our lives above all things. Is that our number one priority? It must be, and must be higher than our own comfort and glory. Pastor Tom gave me a book “Advancing Thru Adversity” by Dr. Charles Stanley. One of the many excellent principles in this book (pp.74-5) states that God does not want me (us) to be too comfortable in my (our) faith. Adversity is what matures and grows our faith and that is why God often introduces adversity into our lives. Personally, I need adversity to grow to the next step. That may be why God sent it.
Friday, May 19, 2006:
Did Jesus really speak to my spirit or was it my wishful thinking? Look back to see what God has done previously and then trust Him.I am totally confused!!! Today I met with two of my closest friends, Pastors Ed and Tom. My biggest question is whether or not God really spoke to me back in January, 2004 or was it my imagination or sub-conscious. Neither Ed nor Tom could say for sure but promised to pray about the question. Meanwhile, I asked God this morning to show me clearly if the things Jesus spoke to me about the hem of His garment and showing myself to physicians were real or just my imagination. As I read The Daily Bread devotional this morning, the Scripture was from John 6:25-35 where the disciples ask in v. 30, “What sign will you perform then that we may see it and believe in you? What work will you do?” This was asked one day after Jesus had fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes. Jesus’ answer was to look back and see what God had provided for them in the past and then trust Him because of who He is. He says in v. 35, “I am the bread of life, He who comes to me shall never hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” The commentary says instead of waiting in doubt and disappointment for God to do the one thing we demand of Him, let’s take time to look at everything God has already done. What we know of God’s character encourages us to trust Him in all of our uncertain circumstances. Lamentations 3: 21-23, says “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.” This was the In Touch devotional for today. So I have to look back at what God has done for me in my past lifetime. But I am asking God specifically to confirm in some way whether or not what I perceived Jesus saying in January, 2004 was from my sub-conscious or from God Himself. That is my prayer. I will probably be going to Hopkins and starting hormonal therapy. I just don’t see any healing on the horizon and am very anxious. I plan to talk to another close pastor-friend, Bob F. and a friend, Tom S., whose mother-in-law was healed from a brain tumor.
It had been suggested by Johns Hopkins oncologists that I might participate in a prostate cancer Phase II clinical trial of a drug (lapatinib or Tykerb) which now has been approved against certain breast cancers. Lapatinib targets HER2 receptors on cells which in turn block the activity of tyrosine kinase enzymes within the cell which promote the growth and division of cancer cells. I had been reluctant to enroll in the prostate cancer trial because I would have had to bear some of the costs. But later today, Hopkins notified me that I would not have to pay anything to participate hence I agreed. So it appears that God has opened the door for me to take lapatinib at least for 90 days to see if there is any effect. So I perceive God is still on my case.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006:
Trust God/Jesus even if we don’t see the end result. More excellent pastoral advice.Pastor Bob Forseth is a close friend whose wisdom I greatly trust. I told him about my condition and my “anointing” experience of January, 2004. I specifically asked him if he thought that what I experienced was from God or from my own subconscious. While he did not answer specifically, he cited many experiences and examples where people have had a vision and followed it, only to see it come true many years later. For example, Joseph in the Old Testament had a vision as a young man but it was years before the vision culminated in his high position in Pharoah’s court. In the meantime, God allowed Joseph to be thrown into a pit and left for dead by his brothers, to be wrongly accused of sexual advances, and led him through prison and other places where God used Joseph in many ways and lives. When God speaks to an individual through the Holy Spirit, He does not tease us with idle words. Pastor Forseth’s conclusion to me is that if I have had such a specific message from God, I should always stay focused on it even if I don’t see the results for many years. He said God will protect me from disease and other plagues until His earthly plan for me is over. I am to cling to what God has told me until my time has come. Until my work is done, I am immortal. But I have to want to glorify God, and pledge to do so. This is the same message Pastor Tom Crogan had told me just days earlier. Pastor Forseth also quoted from Psalm 118: verses 17-18 which say “I shall not die but live and tell of the works of the Lord.. The Lord has disciplined me severely but he has not given me over to death.” Martin Luther had trusted in verse 18 when he thought he would be sentenced to death during the Reformation. I am to trust God no matter what the situation. Pastor Forseth also referred to Hebrews 11 where it says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Biblical characters cited in Hebrews 11 saw God’s promises, were persuaded of them and embraced them. The tide was out in Job’s life but still he worshiped God, saying “though God slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Psalms 34 and 37 are also encouraging especially 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Saturday, June 16th, 2006:
An encouraging sign from an unexpected source. I woke up discouraged, wondering if God was still on my case. I asked specifically if He would send me a sign or any communication that He was still working in this matter. I awakened at 8:30 AM and within 5 minutes the phone rang and it was Bella Marie (a friend of my wife, Marie) from Barbados. She wanted to talk to me specifically (before talking to Marie) and told me she had been praying for me. She told me that when depression and discouragement come, I am to ask the Holy Spirit to substitute His truths and presence for the discouraging feelings. I was to keep focused only on Jesus. It was as if God used Bella Marie to answer me directly, specifically and quickly.
Monday, June 19, 2006:
I had heard from Jesus according to one physician. Stay the course. I had an appointment with my Frederick cardiologist with whom I discussed my participation in the lapatinib clinical trial at Johns Hopkins. The cardiologist is a warm, attentive Christian physician and I told him the account of how Jesus had spoken to me in January, 2004. He listened attentively and told me that the message I received that day was not from myself or a demonic force but from the Lord. He told me that God had anointed me to be an ambassador to physicians at institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida and the National Cancer Institute where I worked. They might not listen to me if I were healed immediately but if the disease progressed and then suddenly God healed me or otherwise intervened, it would speak volumes to them. He said that Paul was stoned three times (and the Jews knew how to kill by stoning) but each time Paul revived and survived. But in my case, my cardiologist seemed almost to “prophesy” that God was to use me to reveal Himself to the physicians and other health care professionals. God might allow the disease to progress before delivering me. It may take time. He said if I told them early in my treatment about my faith, they might not pay much attention. But if I faithfully maintained my faith and witness, then God healed or delivered me, its effect would be more dramatic. He told me to keep my focus on Jesus and maintain the vision and words which I had heard. They were definitely from the Lord.
Tuesday June 20th, 2006:
God always encourages before a trial. The words of encouragement I had received yesterday from my cardiologist were to be needed today, a “dark day”. My Hopkins PSA was 23.7. My PSA is doubling in 2 ½ months. This is a sign of an aggressive cancer. I had a negative bone scan but a CT scan showed pelvic lymph modes indicative of metastatic disease. (These pelvic lesions and masses were to be explained two years later.) I started the lapatinib clinical trial. My disease is progressing. Without God’s intervention, I am dead in a short few years. The cardiologist’s admonition of the previous day, the 19th, warned me saying my disease might get worse before it gets better. Is he prophetic?
Monday, June 26th, 2006:
An example of a validated healing from brain cancer. Tom S. attends the same Maryland church as we do and aspires to be a pastor himself. Over lunch in my office, he explained to me how his mother-in-law had been healed from a brain tumor. She had been diagnosed at a Frederick, Maryland hospital with a potentially fatal brain tumor requiring immediate surgery. This diagnosis was confirmed at Johns Hopkins where surgery was scheduled. During the days preceding the surgery, Tom had asked her repeatedly to take ‘spiritual medicine’ along with her regular medicine. The former were Scripture verses which spoke to Christ’s healing powers. Among the verses were Proverbs 4:20-22, Isaiah 55:11 and Acts 10:38. The Proverbs verses really spoke to me, saying “My son, give attention to my words, incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight. Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their whole body.” God’s Word is the key. I plan to hold on to these verses since Jesus had spoken to me. I will give attention to His spoken words to me but especially those in the Bible. Isaiah 55:11 says “So shall my Word which goes forth from My mouth, it shall not return to Me empty without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” By the way, Tom’s mother-in-law was operated on at Johns Hopkins. When the surgeons made their incision into the brain, no tumor was found.
Monday, July 3rd, 2006:
Additional confirmations from the Bible from my pastor. Yesterday (Sunday) between church services, I had shared with my Pastor Ed about my talk with Tommy S. and the specific scripture verses I was praying and in which I was putting my faith. I had also been praying without Ed’s knowledge that God would confirm to Ed if God was going to heal me or not. Today, Ed called me at my office and told me he had been reading Luke 17:14 during his devotions and wanted to share it with me. It states: “And when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed.” In other words, their cleansing occurred during the period of time when they were on their way to see the priests. This may be applicable to my case as I have been going back and forth to Johns Hopkins but I have not seen signs of healing. But it may still happen in the future during the process of going there or to some future treatments. It was a sort of semi-confirmation from God thru Ed that God’s words were to be applied to my situation.
July 8th, 2006:
I must trust God’s word but would desperately like to see some positive clinical signs. I have been reading back e mails from my urologist-surgeon at Johns Hopkins and realized how fast my prognosis has changed for the worse. While Hopkins physicians were optimistic two years ago, the current rate of acceleration of my PSA puts me in the most aggressive 10%. The urologist’s 2003 predictions were not true for my case. But amidst this gloom, I am begging God to show me something positive. I need more than an encouraging word. I need to see some clinical evidence that PSA rate is actually slowing down. Any clinical evidence will do. I keep getting the same theme from the Lord, namely “the word”, always “trust the word” or “remember the word.”, namely the words in the Bible and the words Jesus spoke to me. Today was no exception. Stanley’s devotional says in Psalms 130:1-6, David is pleading for God to hear his voice just as I am. But especially verse 5 says “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” Isaiah 30:18 says those who wait on Him will be blessed. I am desperately waiting for my healing or something positive to show I am not dying in a couple of years. One of the blessings in following God’s timetable is that difficult situations can be endured with inner confidence and peace. We know we are where God wants us to be and He has promised to take care of us. God will use the time to develop new heart attitudes. But I don’t have much time since this is a life-threatening disease. I remember what Pastor Bob F. told me about holding on to the vision just as Joseph did in the Old Testament.
Wednesday, July19th, 2006:
My PSA accelerates; no sign of slowing. Probably the worst day yet. The plummet continues. My PSA after one month of taking lapatanib was 34.3. It had increased from 23.2 on June 16th and 14.5 in May. The doubling time is two months. It is accelerating and looking back it has been accelerating exponentially. What is worse is that I have been asking God to give me any kind of positive sign that He is in the midst of this and what He told me was true. But no such sign is forthcoming. In fact it is just the opposite. The situation just keeps snow balling and gets worse by the month. I am numb and my stomach is in knots. I am hopeless. I feel for Marie who has to endure this and possibly bury me when all we prayed for was a few years of blissful retirement.
Thursday, July 20th, 2006:
My pastor confirms that God has spoken to me. I spoke to Pastor Ed today and told him about yesterday’s disastrous events. He told me he had been praying specifically about whether or not the Lord had spoken to me on that Sunday morning in Jauary, 2004, and had come to the conclusion that He had indeed done that. Pastor Ed had been skeptical at first saying he had seen too many of his parishioners die. I had been praying specifically that God would reveal truthfully whether or not God had spoken to me to Pastor Ed and He did, sure enough. Pastor Ed also told me not to worry about things getting worse. He reminded me of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, when God was going to send fire down to burn up the idols, God told them to add more water to the materials to make it even harder to ignite. But God ignited it anyway.
Friday, August 4th, 2006:
Beginning hormonal therapy – a priest’s book entitled “Hem of His Garment”. Today I met with my Johns Hopkins urologist-surgeon who suggested that I start hormonal therapy as soon as possible. He reiterated that my PSA would plummet for 1-2 years possibly for as much as 15 years (for one of his patients). He stated that studies now indicate that the earlier one begins hormonal therapy the better. I was led to pray with him at the beginning of the office visit. We prayed together for Gods’ wisdom and I thanked God for the urologist’s skills and intervention. At the end of the visit, he mentioned that he knew of a priest who believed in healing and suggested I see him. He also suggested I read the priest’s book entitled “The Hem of His Garment.” It seemed more than coincidental that the book title was exactly the same as the words Jesus spoke to me in January, 2004. The urologist also stated he would follow me up as much as I needed. During the day, the words of Proverbs 4:20-22 became very real to me. “My son, give attention to my words, incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight. Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their whole body.” I plan to get anointed with oil this coming Sunday after church and to see the Johns Hopkins oncologist on Tuesday the 15th. Unless my PSA drops or slows dramatically, I will not remain on the lapatanib therapy clinical trial but will start hormonal therapy.
Sunday August 13th, 2006:
A powerful anointing service. My Pastor Ed had suggested that he and 2-3 church elders anoint me with oil and pray according to James 5:14-16. Marie and I met with them in the church office that afternoon. The Holy Spirit was so strong I broke down several times during the telling of my story. All prayed and after nearly an hour, everyone present stated it was the best hour of worship we ever had. Pastor Ed had gotten up early that day and prayed for me and told me to always point to Jesus when I share my testimony with physicians. I left there knowing God was in the midst of this scenario and had a much bigger agenda than I could conceive. (Pastor Ed actually knew the priest that the Hopkins urologist had referred me to. I plan to contact the priest and share my experiences with him.) I left my anointing service feeling that one of these days God is going to reveal Himself in a magnificent and unexpected way. He will either heal me or keep me chronic. Pastor Ed had gotten up early that morning to pray and he told me to expect that I have already received what I have been praying for. He stated it as if it were in the past tense. It had already happened but had not yet been manifested. (Remember what God had told Marie in Psalm 107:19-20. See Spiritual Medicines).
Tuesday, August 15th, 2006:
First visit to the oncologist; hormonal therapy described. My PSA had increased to 51.7. I went to Johns Hopkins oncology today and told them of my decision to go off the lapatinib clinical trial and begin hormonal therapy with Casodex and Lupron. Each of these drugs work differently to decrease the production of testosterone (an androgen) on which prostate cells thrive. Decreasing testosterone in the body “starves” prostate cancer cells. Casodex (or bicalutamide) is an anti-androgen drug; it inhibits the binding of androgens (such as testosterone) to prostate cells, thus inhibiting their growth. Lupron (or leuprolide acetate) is a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist. LHRH is a hormone responsible for stimulating the production of testosterone in the body by interacting with the LHRH receptor to release luteinizing hormone which in turn stimulates cells in the testicles to make testosterone. Lupron therefore decreases testosterone production by preventing the action of LHRH. I also looked for an opportunity to share my spiritual testimony with my oncologist but he seemed cold and indifferent. He did not necessarily agree with my urologist that earlier hormonal therapy is better at least it does not prolong life. This may be true. I shared some scientific literature with him but he was not interested. But I did discuss my experience with Jesus on January, 2004 and related occurrences with him and he listened quietly. He said I was the second person today who talked to him about ‘this issue’. Maybe God is trying to speak to him. So I did get to share some spiritual issues with him. In general, I felt the oncologist was cold, un-caring and indifferent in contrast to my Hopkins urologist-surgeon and my family physician.
Sunday, August 27th, 2006:
Scriptural encouragement. Our Daily Bread devotional was from Matthew 26:39-42 and 27:45-6. In these sections, just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus prays to God the Father that “not my will but Your’s be done”. Can I pray this? When we pray, we might not see how God is working or understand how He will bring good through it all. So we have to trust Him and relinquish all our rights and let God do what is best. In 1 Peter 1:6, “we are to rejoice though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.” We are to look ahead to the joy promised which will help us understand the tough times.
Tuesday August 29th, 2006:
Referral and meeting with the priest. Marie and I met the priest for lunch. He definitely knows Jesus and has a healing ministry as well as the gift of discernment. As we were leaving, he blessed us and I truly felt God’s spirit. He invited us to a healing meeting and we will attend if we are in Maryland. When I e mailed my Hopkins urologist of this, he was pleased.
Wednesday, Sept. 6th, 2006:
Two opposing forces in life. I spoke to Pastor Bob Forseth. He mentioned that there are two programs on-going in my life; that of Satan and that of the Lord. He advised me to pray like Job who trusted God no matter what the circumstances. He also gave me Psalm 118:17-18. “I shall not die but live and tell of the works of the Lord.. The Lord has disciplined me severely but he has not given me over to death.” My life will not be over until the plans God has for me are completed.
Friday, Sept. 8th, 2006:
A journal article bears bad news. A journal article published by researchers at Johns Hopkins stated that I am at the highest risk for prostate cancer mortality since my PSA doubling time is 3 months or less. In fact, the median time of survival for people like me is 6 years (but I am not sure from which point the six years is measured). It seems to coincide with my Hopkins urologist’s prediction that I would encounter clinical symptoms of my cancer by 2010. This is scary for me. The only thing I can cling to is what Jesus told me and trust what His Word states.
Sunday, October 22nd, 2006:
Birthday, retirement, and scriptural encouragement. Today is my 65th birthday. I am retiring from my position at the National Cancer Institute at the end of this month. Marie and I are preparing to retire to Punta Gorda, Florida at the end of this year.
a) Isaiah 26:3 says: “The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee.” This admonition describes a two step process. I am to be stayed on the Lord (fix my eyes on Jesus as Peter did when walking on water) and then also trust in Him.
b) Henry Blackaby says that the maturing of a Christian always involves bringing them to a higher level of faith. Could the purpose of all my cancer experience be to bring me to a higher level of trust and faith which I might not have been able to experience otherwise? Praying for more faith is a “dangerous” prayer because God may just allow a crisis to occur in order for us to exercise and therefore strengthen our faith.
c) In a prayer meeting last Wednesday October 18th, Pastor Ed said he was “standing with me” in my faith and prayer for healing. “Standing with me” means we are standing or placing our faith and trust on what Jesus has said to me personally, as well as what He has said to Marie and to Pastor Ed. Even more so we stand on what God has written in His Word, which is not contradictory to what He has said.
Monday, November 20-1, 2006:
In my helplessness, my cancer battle is not mine but the Lord’s. I am not to fear.I am told that hormone replacement therapy does not extend life no matter how long it is administered. I am helpless except for God’s will and provision just as Judah’s King Jehoshaphat was in 2 Chronicles 20:1-18. In verse 12, the king was surrounded by an army of his enemies but proclaims “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee.” In verses 7-9, King Jehoshaphat applauded God’s past work for his people, God’s previous faithfulness and recalled His promises. I must respond similarly. Self pity, rehashing details and repercussions only makes it worse. Praise God instead for His faithfulness and trustworthiness. He will be faithful to see me through it. Recognition of my helplessness unleashes God’s power. When I try to solve the problem independently, God cannot work freely. Celebrate God’s faithfulness while awaiting His promised help. (Written one day before my next Johns Hopkins appointment).
God spoke to me through Jehosaphat’s experience especially as recorded in verses 15 and 17 as follows. “Listen all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you. ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s’. You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out and face them for the Lord is with you.” Like King Jehoshaphat, my battle is the Lord’s, and likewise I am to station myself and see the salvation of the Lord. This was reinforced by a message illustration on the radio received in the morning. Napolean’s army was about to invade a small Austrian town on Easter Sunday. The parishioners did not know whether to have a service or to cancel it out of fear. They decided to have it and ring all the church bells in honor of Easter. Napolean’s army heard the bells and fled thinking the Austrian army had arrived to defend the town and it was spared. So my battle is also the Lord’s as exemplified by Jehosaphat and the Austrians.
November 24th, 2006:
Hormonal therapy is working; my ups and downs; retiring to Florida. My PSA at Hopkins was now 5.7. It was 51.7 when I received my first Lupron injection in August and 13.3 in October, 2006. These results are to be expected according to my oncologist. I am thankful to God that the hormonal treatment is working and cutting my PSA in half every month. But is God ever going to intervene dramatically??? Like PSA going to undetectable????? I am grateful I have three more months to live without another test. I am praying for complete trust in God and not to worry or doubt at all. The Daily Bread devotional quoted Psalm 42:5 and 11, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Even King David whom God termed “a man after my own heart”, had his ups and downs. One moment David felt betrayed, alone, isolated and out of touch with God and the next moment, David was praising God for His faithfulness and deliverance. It’s nice to know we are all human, even King David.
Marie and I moved to Punta Gorda, Florida right after Christmas, 2006.