I am praying for a miracle.
I struggle, as many in our tribe do, with the subject of miracles and faith… healing and prayer. How exactly are we to think about such things? Does talking and thinking about them… believing in them… actually make us Pentecostal? Throw us in the camp with “faith healers” and carnival hawkers? Is it fear or sophistication that stops us?
Or is there a place for them in a consistent biblical theology? Living as we do in a culture immersed in naturalism (the worldview that says nothing true exists beyond the things that we can immediately experience with our five senses), it is easy to keep our collective mouths shut when the subject of miracles comes up. We may secretly believe they happen but to talk too much about it calls our sanity into question… at least for some.
I am praying for a miracle right now. Even as I write this blog, it is part thinking out loud but mostly prayer and shoring up my own faith. I believe I have seen miracles in the past. Not just the “miracle” of a beautiful sunset or watching my granddaughter learn to walk. Those are incredible things that happen, but few of us really think about them as “miraculous.” But I have seen genuine miracles in people’s lives… and believe God still does them.
I am praying for a genuine, bonafide, certifiable, quantifiable and unquestionable intervention from the Father who “knit us together in our mother’s womb.” I am asking for our Sovereign Creator who is also our Father to interrupt natural processes AGAINST the normal ebb and flow of everyday life; against the normal outcomes; against the data that science provides; against the impact of cancer in Pam’s body and its impact as it threatens to take so much.
I am praying for a Moses -standing -on- the- beach- at- the- Red Sea- parting of waters. For a Joshua “fit”- the- battle- of- Jericho- wall collapse. For a Jesus walking on water and raising Lazarus kind of miracle. Of taking God’s Word in simple faith that we can “ask whatever we will and it will be done for you” and beg for His interruption of growth of cancer cells and the loss of function that occurs after such surgeries.
I am praying for a miracle. For the glory of God but for the sake of my wife I am praying that God will step in and do something amazing. And I’d like to ask you to join me if you will, asking… without doubting… that our God not only is able… but that God wants to “show off” His power to a skeptical world. Sometimes we are guilty of making God too small to handle to really tough stuff. Maybe He is ready to be magnified and not minimized. Maybe we need to “tap out” and turn Him loose on our big stuff.
All He asks for is faith. Not believing for the sake of believing. But faith… trust… dependence… leaning into His arms and letting go. Trusting a good, good Father who longs to step in if we’ll just ask Him and Him alone.
I am praying for a miracle. And who knows?
Maybe, you’re in need of one too!
We are home. It is good… and also hard to come back to familiar surroundings but to find that, though things remain the same, much of our life hasn’t. We are still dealing with several realities on a daily basis, specifically concerning the absence of feeling in Pam’s right side including her arm and leg, hand and foot. Her speech continues to return rapidly and we are grateful. And we continue on in outpatient therapy to learn to accommodate these problems created by swelling in the area where surgery took place. It is uncertain how long the swelling will create pressure on the nerve center in her brain that controls her right side.
And so we wait. We pray. We press on through exhaustion, medication and sometimes discouragement. “But we do not lose heart.” We believe and trust still that God is going to do an amazing thing in our lives through this. Please pray that God will soon allow feeling to return to her right arm, hand, fingers, foot and leg.
Each week we have been in this trial God has given us a word. Not a verse. Not a passage. A literal word to hang onto. The first week, the word was “persevere.” The second week, it was “restore.” This week, the word has been “mercies.” Don’t ask me how I know. He doesn’t text it. He doesn’t always even “light up” a Bible verse. But He confirms it. Sometimes in a conversation or a card that someone has sent, sometimes in a song we are listening to or an email or even from a book we are reading, He gives us the word. That’s often all we can handle… a word. But it’s an important word. A hopeful word. A word of life.
Let me say again what I have often said before. You, our church family, have been nothing short of incredible to us. Your contacts and touches, lovingly prepared meals and gifts sent to our home, your cards (Pam has now gone through over 60 and we still have a huge stack), your gift cards, your concern expressed in ways large and small have been a literal… LITERAL… oasis in this wilderness experience. We have always sought, when someone gives us a gift small or large, to try and write a note of thanks somehow. We are far beyond an ability to ever do that… to ever adequately say thanks. We are actually overwhelmed by the avalanche of blessings. But please know we are so very, very grateful for each one! God is showing, through your love, that He is a good, good Father.
And so we look for mercies. We ask for the mercy of quick and miraculous recovery from this trial and for Pam’s restoration. We see the “new mercies” of God at every turn. Even yesterday when I accidentally did a “California roll” through a stop sign in one of our communities, a young deputy stopped me in his patrol car to remind me that we are not in California and that in Florida, stop means stop. He took my license, brought it back to me after a few minutes and said, “I’m letting you off with a warning.” Mercy.
We serve a God who has promised us that, each morning, we will see new mercies. I hope and pray for all of us that our eyes can be opened to appreciate each one that comes! “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentation 3:22-23)
Grace, mercy, and peace…
Pastor Tim and Pam
The neurology team at Brooks wanted to know how I was doing. I told them a few years ago I was rear ended by a semi that had his load shift. I remember the impact seemed to take 15 minutes as everything went in slow motion. I saw stuff flying around me like it was in a gravity free chamber. That’s what this feels like. Everybody else is moving in real time; I’m in slow motion. Life is frozen
Pam agreed with that assessment. The experience in the weeks following Pam’s diagnosis, surgery and then three weeks in rehab has seemed timeless. We have a big clock on the wall in our room. It has meant nothing.
When you get rear-ended by an experience you never saw coming you suddenly see everything that you had neatly in place go flying in pieces. That experience happens in many ways to people.
It is unavoidable. But even in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty of that experience there can be a constant to anchor you: the peace of Jesus
Today I walked into the Brooks lobby after getting a clean shirt from my car. As I stepped in there was piano music. It was so nice I stopped because I didn’t know there was a piano there. And then even more amazing “It is Well” was the song playing!
I looked up onto the mezzanine and saw a therapist standing by the pianist. Then I looked closer. Pam was playing the piano! The therapist was assisting but she was playing and it was beautiful… and just at the right moment God showed up…
“My peace I give to you….” Jesus
Sometimes, in the midst of our sorrow and pain, we forget that we are not the only ones hurting. Wednesday night, following the pathology report for my wife revealing the level of her brain cancer, I desperately needed some time to just walk and think… and pray. So I took some time to go and circle the parking lot of Brooks hospital where we have been in recovery since Pam’s surgery.
As I walked outside, the last thing I wanted was a conversation… with anyone. But as I left through the sliding glass door of the hospital, there stood a man I had walked past many times over the past several days as he pushed a brain injured young lady in a wheelchair and safety helmet. He was a stereotypical redneck; baseball cap, beard, jeans. I had spoken to him many times like guys do… you know, deep stuff. “Hey bud.” “How’s it going?” Or just a silent nod. I saw him heating up a McDonald’s sandwich in the microwave one night for his daughter, and offered him some leftovers from a meal my daughter-in-law, Logan had made that night for us.
But that evening I didn’t want to hardly make eye contact. But I did, and said, “How’s it going?” And he started telling me about his daughter, crippled for life by a road rage incident with her boyfriend. They were leaving in the morning and heading back to Rome, Georgia. They had been here two months. I wished him well and wrapped myself up in my pain again.
As I walked away God landed on me like a load of rocks. There was my opportunity to offer comfort, attention or even a prayer for another hurting human being. A man who loved his daughter and who my Father loved.
I continued walking under the load of conviction, promising God I’d get up early next morning to pray for the guy. But that didn’t cut it. I kept trying to walk away from that still, small, piercing voice inside of me. And as I circled back around the parking lot, I saw him again… sitting alone, smoking a cigarette.
So I approached him this time. And I got honest with him. I knelt down and said, “Hey man, my name is Tim. My wife is here recovering from brain surgery. I’m a pastor and I was just so lost in my own stuff a minute ago. I’d like to pray for your daughter and for you if I may. And I’d like to tell you that there is a God who loves you… and her.
He said, “That would be really great. Thank you.” So as I knelt beside him, I prayed for Jerry and his daughter Shannon. And I walked away with my load a little lighter, and a reminder that I serve a God who wouldn’t walk past my pain.
Even as He hung on a cross.
Beloved Church Family and Praying Friends,
Today we learned from Pam’s surgeon both good news and bad news. The good news was that God was gracious in the surgery and 99% of the tumor was removed in two surgeries. The bad news was that pathology showed the mass was a Grade 4 Glioma. This will require consideration of further treatment through chemotherapy and radiation. Next week, we will meet with the oncology team at Mayo to hear what they want to do. We will prayerfully hear their approach and seek God’s wisdom about our next steps.
We are “knocked down but not knocked out,” to quote Paul. It was discouraging to hear the pathology outcome, but we are ending our day encouraged about steps forward. “Therefore we do not lose heart.” We know that it is in our weakness that God’s strength is made perfect. We know that our God is able to do impossible things; even heal cancer.
We ask that you continue interceding as we continue another week of rehab, leaving on Mother’s Day weekend. Please pray that Pam will continue to improve as she has already impressed the team here with her resolve and progress. She has already heard one team member say that they had never seen anyone do as well as she has done in such a short time! We will press on, believing God for His power to work on our behalf.
We have a good, good Father who has never let us go! You have shown us His love through your many acts of kindness through cards, thoughtful gifts, food and so many, many prayers! We are grateful beyond words for each of you.
With our love,
Pastor Tim and Pam
Beloved Church Family and Praying Christian Community
Today has been a day begun with disappointment and ending with some difficulty but along the way the hand of God is still guiding. This we know. Our plan, we thought, was to go home this morning. Immediate modifications had been made to our front door with a ramp, and a newly renovated shower to accommodate Pam’s immediate need for a wheelchair. Great friends in our church saw to that.
Our bags were packed and sitting by the door when the doctor came to visit our room and shared with us his belief that, given the progress Pam had made so far, a few more days of intensive therapy in Brooks would be very advantageous to her recovery. With some disappointment, we agreed that, if a few more days here would help, we are in.
A few years ago a popular Christian tune stated that changing one letter in the word “disappointment” then became HIS appointment. We believe that to be true. So we changed the letter and buckled in for another week.
It was a blessing and encouragement over the weekend to have family visit from Ohio as Pam’s little sister came to see us with her husband. Pam’s mom, Shirley was released from the hospital in Ashland which was a great relief. I even found out late yesterday that the sofa I have been sleeping on since we have been here was brand new! I’m the first to break it in. Thankful that it hasn’t broken me.
Last night we watched the Celebration of Joy service via livestream and the message of finding joy, not happiness, zeroed in on our hearts. We wept as God broke us by speaking right into our room through Dr Kinchen.
Along the way, other blessings have come in the form of a helping friend who has “adopted” us and made herself constantly available to work with Pam when the therapists here are not. And then, though not actualized yet, there’s the “meal train.”
As the day unfolded some of our newfound enthusiasm in the hopeful report from the doctor was tempered as Pam had a recurring migraine that actually appeared first at 8:30 on Sunday and has continued in clusters throughout the day. It has been a painful experience for her especially since the normal meds they use wasn’t resolving them. The origin is still a mystery to everyone but God.
However, as the Sovereign and loving hand of our good, good Father continues to orchestrate events, we learned that our doctor here is one of the leading specialists in the country in migraine treatment! He has researched and written numerous journal articles. If we had gone home and this had happened, it would have been awful.
I write this in the darkness of our hospital room as Pam at last is sleeping comfortably, and I am remaining awake to pray for her. It was then I learned that hundreds of believers have joined in this part of the battle to pray. We are simply beseeching the Lord for the pain to subside and rest to overtake her through the night. It has overwhelmed me to see the Christ followers across the nation and the world take part in this battle… and I truly do not know how to say thank you enough.
We have seen throughout the day how God turns disappointment into His appointment. Maybe you’re there right now… sitting in the darkness wondering what is happening in your life… your tears… your disappointment.
I trust that you will join me as we wait and see what God is up to… sometimes in our joy, and other times in our tears and fears. He has a plan… an “appointment” for you. Trust Him in it. We are seeking to hang on to what we know of God’s character and love… even if His appointment may seem to you right now to be disappointment. He won’t fail you. He will not let you go.
With great love,