"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Today's blog, like the ones before it, are all dedicated to the Lord. It has always been about Him and it should always be about Him. Without Jesus, we are nothing.
It is dedicated to the hundreds, if not thousands, of prayer warriors that faithfully prayed day in and day out and never gave up or stopped believing. You brought our spoken and unspoken requests before the Lord.
It is dedicated to all those who quietly worked behind the scenes to assist us physically, emotionally and financially. You were consistent, persistent and relentless. You served and served and served without ceasing and did it from your heart.
It is dedicated to my wife, to my children, to our families and to our friends who quietly and lovingly stood by us. You walked with us step-by-step, as we trusted God with the details. You were always present and somehow knew when we felt alone. You just showed up in cards, emails, texts, social media, phone calls, airplanes, care packages and casual in person visits. Your subtle presence brought us great comfort and built up our faith. You were a continuous voice of faith, of reason and of assurance. They were all so necessary.
To me, my trial with cancer is just another trial - it is no different from the trials many of you are going through. My trial is called cancer. Your trial may be called something else. Whatever your trial is, you get to decide to go it alone or turn it over to the Lord and watch in awe what He does with it. My experience is that he will use it:
Why does he use trials? Because He loves you. Because He loves those that don’t know Him and He uses you to reach them. He loved us so much that He died so that we could live.
Like many of you, I wasn't fully prepared on the front end to be used by God, but as I submitted to the reality of my cancer, I understood and believed that God would use my trial for the greater good. My family and I were simply the recipients of God's love in action through His created people. Your love poured out on us is proof of His existence.
To give you a little background, they completed a pre-treatment 3D MRI that revealed the level and amount of cancer and they completed a post treatment test just before we left Houston so they could know if the radiation and chemo were working as planned. At that time, the doctor was very pleased with the progress between the pre and post treatment tests, but to be transparent, Stephanie and I were a bit disappointed that it was only marginally smaller. The doctor assured us that the treatment was working. However, he hedged and said for us not to be surprised that when we came back for our eight-week 3D MRI test results that it could still show cancer.
This was discouraging to hear, but I politely responded with, "Dr. Fuller, I appreciate what you are saying, but I believe with all my heart that God will have taken it all away by then". To which he replied, "I just want you to be prepared. Most patients come back for their eight-week test expecting the cancer to be gone and it isn't. We are looking for progress and that the cancer is continuing to reduce. We will then have you come back at 12 weeks and compare again. The radiation treatment continues to work after the treatment is finished". I told him I understood, but that I believe it will be gone at eight weeks. We politely agreed to disagree.
I had believed all along that my cancer would be cured by my eight-week test. Many of you have whole-heartedly believed with me.
Many told me to trust the doctors with the results as they have thousands of cases of experience. While I appreciated that perspective, I could not go there - my trust was in God alone.
Many of you have lived through experiences that may lead you to believe otherwise. I have lived through some as well, but this was a time that there was no room for me to hedge my faith with prior experiences.
You see, the details of the tumor, which I have not shared openly, were that I had a large inoperable tumor located in my nasal pharynx, which sat at the end of my left Eustachian tube. In the two months leading up to the start of my treatment, the cancer had spread across the soft pallet of my upper mouth to the right side of my nasal pharynx and it had grown within two centimeters of my brainstem. The risk was that it would grow into my brainstem.
Yesterday, my wife Stephanie and I flew down to Houston to meet with Dr. Fuller, our Radiation Oncologist, for the long awaited eight-week test result. The doctor would reveal the results of the eight-week 3D MRI at this appointment. Stephanie and I were at peace as we had turned it all over to God for results from the very beginning. The results revealed:
NO CANCER - GONE - NONE
Thank you for everything you have done for us. Words don't cover it. We now get to move to the post treatment follow up schedule. We love each and every one of you with our whole heart. Thank you for loving us back.
Tom, Stephanie, Heather, Ryan, Jarrod, Jennifer and Joshua
BIBLE VERSES OF FAITH
Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Mark 9:23 - "'If you can? said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes."
Mark 11:23 - Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
Luke 17:19 - Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
John 14:13 - And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
James 5:15 - And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
TOM O'KEEFE BLOG