I received a call yesterday from a man who, as a homeless teenager grew up in our church, taken in and cared for by different families. Charles had been saved through the bus ministry of a church on Indy’s west side, but he ended up at Thompson Road Baptist Church soon thereafter, riding one of our church busses to Sunday School. His mother had died and his dad was a “no show” leaving Charles to fend for himself as he bounced around from “pillar to post” until he met up with a cadre of compassionate people at our church who pretty much took him in, providing necessities, helping him to eventually get a car and some employment. He would in time marry, have children of his own and move on in life and until the call yesterday we had pretty much lost touch. He had sent a message through our church secretary that he needed to talk to me or to my son-in-law and that he was at a very low point. I called his number and learned that in his words his body was collapsing. He could not get out of bed, he was blind and though he had seen doctors nothing had helped him, so he wanted to ask me that “if it happens, would you be able…I have heard that you have cancer, but I want you to…if you can.” Well, I have been in ministry long enough to fill in the blanks, knowing that “if it happens,” meant if I die and “would you be able to” meant “to do my funeral.” I told him that “if and when it happens,” depending upon where I am in my treatments and progress, I would do what I could. We prayed and when we had said good-bye and I put the phone down, I reviewed in my mind the really hard times that once homeless teenager has had most all of his life. Then, my thoughts went to so many others that I knew were hurting in various and sundry ways and my heart was heavy with the burden of so many suffering folks. That’s why, when I received an encouraging text message from a friend this morning, who also has recently suffered the loss of a loved one, the verse that was shared in the text message was so uplifting. I’d like to pass it along to you, too:
“For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore, did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover, also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.” (Acts 2:25-28) That will brighten any day for any soul weighed down with life’s cares!
Update: Most of you are aware that in late January I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood that has no known cause nor cure. Since then, I have entered into an aggressive treatment regimen, since there has been considerable success in getting people with this disease into “remission.” My treatments are moving along, consisting of some powerful chemo therapies and gradually my outlook is improving. We hear from people every day who assure us of their prayers and the Lord has given to us the best doctors that are specialists in this type of cancer. With His presence and promises, we are hopeful that God will allow me to preach again and to continue to do some writing. It may be a few months yet that remission is achieved if indeed it is, so I just wanted to thank you for your prayers and give you a brief update. I saw a cancer specialist at Indiana University hospital this past Tuesday who is recognized as one of the best doctors in this field and who agreed to look at my case and render a “2nd opinion.” Having studied what I had been through to date by way of treatments and progress, he said, “Well, we (doctors) do not have the final say in these matters, but as far as myeloma is concerned, I see no reason why you cannot live as long as your father did.” He had my family history before him and was aware that my dad lived to be 94 before dying of “old age!” That was an encouraging doctor’s visit. I expressed my gratitude for good doctors, then shared with him and his nurses present that my ultimate trust was in the “Great Physician,” pointing heavenward as I concluded my brief testimony. I have enjoyed near perfect health all of my adult life, taking no meds for anything until this hit me out of the blue, so it is a totally different ball game for me. I will be 80 if I live a few more months and am ready to meet my Lord, but would like, if He wills, to be able to hang around to be of whatever help I can be to my beloved wife of 56 years. Thank you all for your continued prayers!
And, thank you for following my penned thoughts through “You and God” each Tuesday and Thursday. I will soon have been at this venture for two years. At the conclusion of each post, if you scroll down, you will come to the archives of all the 200 plus posts that I have written to date. Thank you for sharing these, too, with your friends. Beginning with my next post, Lord willing, I am going to do a three-part series on the events which are recorded in the gospels detailing the last week of our Lord’s life on earth, culminating in Calvary’s cruelty and crucifixion and then three days after Jesus died and was buried, the glorious resurrection. This will be a bit different than a regular post, but I pray it will prepare our hearts for the celebration of another Easter Sunday which is less than two weeks away.
Thanks for reading and thanks to those who from time to time reply to me with a thought about something you were blessed by in one of the “You and God” posts!