Jesse is having brain surgery tomorrow. Again. This will be the third time someone has accessed and manipulated the fragile contents of his skull. I wish I could tell you that we’ve developed some sort of immunity to the fear and anxiety that accompanies these procedures, having done it twice before, but we haven’t. Sleep has come by force and benadryl, and has been the wakeful kind where my soul will not stop muttering words to the Lord. I reach over to Jesse in the night just to feel the warmth of his hand, slipping my hand beneath his, and he gently squeezes it in response. Neither of us are able to stop urging our bodies into the alertness and awareness that comes with wakefulness. Sleeping seems a tremendous waste of time when you know everything could be so different when the sun rises again. Such is life with brain cancer. The unknowns are vast. Doing nothing means death. Doing something means willingly walking into the potential for more suffering and loss. Still…
God is good. Intrinsically good. Because of this, His goodness to us has not wavered for a moment.
Dear friends, the goodness of God in your life is not measured by what He has called you to endure, nor by what He has given you to enjoy. The circumstances in the world around you shift like sand in a hurricane, but God’s goodness is not moved by any amount of force.
He is good, beloved, not because of your personal experience, but because He is, by nature, goodness itself. The best thing for you in your life is not a life without struggle. It is not a life with plentiful, perishable things with good health and well-behaved children, either. The best thing for you in this life is to surrender to whatever story God is writing for, in, and through you. He will not falter in His goodness, no matter how the circumstances of your life may shift.
- He will be good if this surgery miraculously stops the tumor growth and restores Jesse’s health in totality.
- He will be good if Jesse is miraculously set free from the burden of daily seizures because of this surgery.
- He will be good if Jesse loses his ability to understand and speak as a result of this procedure tomorrow.
- He will be good if Jesse no longer has a short term memory by the time the sun sets on Friday.
- He will be good if Jesse cannot feel or understand his emotions.
- He will be good if the pathology from the sample they will take comes back as a different, more aggressive type of tumor.
- He will be good if Jesse has a complication that his body cannot withstand, and he meets Jesus tomorrow.
- He will be good if today is the last time Jesse looks into our children’s eyes and tells them he loves them.
- He will be good if tonight is the last night I slip my hand beneath my beloved’s and feel the tender squeeze that tells me he is near and alive and mine.
He will be good, because He. IS. Good.
Today, as I’m running around the house packing bags and preparing our room for our return home after this procedure, I am full of wonder and of worry. I am making a thousand different plans in my head for different potential outcomes of tomorrow. I am having hard conversations in my head with our children in preparation. And through it all, under-girding every moment of panic and peace, there is this one word that echoes in my soul:
It is such a word of surrender. I am reminding my flesh to say “Yes, Lord.” to the story He is telling through Jesse’s life and mine and our kids. And I am saying it with complete confidence and assurance that He will prove Himself to be exactly who He is: Good.
“The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]
The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.”
Ways You Can Help us:
A lot of you have reached out asking how you can help us through this. I thought it would be helpful for you all to know some ways we are cared for, first.
Our children are well-tended by family. Their immediate needs will be met in every way through the love of my parents and siblings tomorrow and in the recovery days following this surgery. Whatever happens, they are well equipped to help us adjust to our new normal.
Jesse and I have a place to stay tonight (and several nights after surgery should we need them) near the hospital. Two of my sister’s will be staying with us to help us manage the many details involved in this sort of thing.
Now, on to what you can do…
Pray. Our reality is the same as it has been since September of 2015. Jesse is alive because God made it so. We know the Lord has His hands on Jesse’s life, and we are still asking Him to heal Jesse’s body here so that he can continue telling everyone about Jesus. The scenarios we see before us based on scans all look grim to man’s eyes, but God is infinitely powerful and capable of changing every tumor cell into healthy tissue. Will you pray for that with us?
- Ask the Lord to restore Jesse’s health for the sake of furthering His kingdom. Ask Him to radically move so that medical personnel will come to know Jesus, even while Jesse is under anesthesia tomorrow.
- Pray that Jesse’s brain and body will be protected from seizures during the procedure.
- Pray that this surgery will mark the end of Jesse’s struggle with seizures altogether.
- Pray that Jesse’s speech and cognition will not only be protected, but restored when he wakes up from this surgery.
- Pray that his surgeon and medical team will remain alert, with steady hands and skilled eyes that are able to recognize what parts of the tumor need to be burned and what parts need to be left untouched.
- Pray that there will be no tumor to operate on come tomorrow.
- Pray for our children, that they will sense the peace and nearness of God tomorrow.
- Pray for me and for the people who are walking this path so closely alongside us, that we will have peace and joy tomorrow, and that we will use our waiting time to speak hope into the lives of the hurting people around us.
- When you pray, praise God for who He is, remembering that God’s ability is not limited by our sight and perceptions. He is big enough for this. He is trustworthy enough to decide what the outcome will be. He is good enough for each of us to ask earnestly and fervently for all of these things and more, and have peace knowing that, even if the answers to our prayers are not what we desire, He is still the very good God He has always been.