We Walk by Faith

After noting that our outer man is decaying, and reminding us that momentary light affliction is producing an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, Paul made it very clear that we walk by faith, not by sight. In spite of that, some think they know exactly what God would have them do, even in situations that are not directed by scriptural commands or principles. I have to admit that I don’t claim such insight.

After inflamed tendons in my thumb had kept me awake at nights, I was shocked to read a warning about possible tendon damage in the packaging of the antibiotic I was to take before my recent prostate biopsy. I began thinking that perhaps God had allowed the inflamed tendons to be a warning that I shouldn’t take the antibiotic, so I put off the biopsy. Until I was assured by my primary physician that he had never seen such a side-effect; and I had none.

Then, as I mentioned last week, when my biopsy revealed cancer, and I was considering various treatments, I asked my urologist what he would do if he had what I have. He shocked me by saying he would do nothing. I wrote that I hoped my question was Spirit-led, and therefore concluded that perhaps God was telling me there was no need to do anything at this time. Once again my primary physician challenged my assumption, and convinced me to let him make an appointment to see a radiation oncologist.

I’ve heard the charge that some doctors think they are God, but I know mine doesn’t. He’s a Christian, and a really good doctor, and I value his opinion. He’s not convincing me to stop listening to God, he’s just making it obvious that we do walk by faith not by sight, and I believe he is helping me discern as accurately as I can what God would have me do.

In the meantime, if the Lord wills, I’m heading for Florida. Marilyn and I are going to spend a week with a couple of friends we met through Fit Club. I’m looking forward to sight-seeing, fishing, shooting, shelling, and sitting by the pool, hopefully in the shade, reading Killing the Rising Sun.

See you after the Super Bowl.
God Bless, Rick

Riding Out This Rollercoaster

I’m not a big fan of rollercoasters, even figurative ones. Especially when the ups and downs are on rails of cancer. I really wasn’t afraid, but I wasn’t riding with my hands in the air either. I was hanging on tight.

First the eye doctor suggested that since she couldn’t find anything wrong in my eye that explained my recently noticed blurred and double vision, the problem might be behind my eye. I’m not an expert in anatomy, but the only thing I could think of behind my eye is my brain, and the possibility of brain cancer did cross my brain. Fortunately, and gratefully, a blood work-up, an MRI, and exams by three other doctors led to the conclusion that the problem was caused by a wrong lens that had been put in my glasses nearly a year ago!

Then it was time to follow up on a PSA that had gone from 5.5 to 7 in six months. As I noted last week, the biopsy was a piece of cake. The resulting phone call, not so much.
I was told the biopsy had tested positive for cancer, and the doctor wanted me to read a book on prostate cancer before meeting with him for consultation on how to proceed. After hearing the relatively good news that even though the cancer was on both sides of the prostate it was low grade, and having the options explained, I was weighing the pros and cons of surgery or radioactive seeds. I then asked what I hope was a Spirit-led question. I asked him what he would do if he had what I have. His answer stunned me. He said he would do nothing!

I haven’t yet talked with my family doctor, but at this point I think I’ll probably do the same. I will, however, follow up with periodic PSA’s, and if there is a radical change, I’ll obviously reconsider the options.

As I mentioned Sunday, I really do appreciate all the prayers and expressions of concern that have been shown to me. And I do ask that you continue praying, especially for discernment to know how God would have me ride out this rollercoaster.

God Bless, Rick

Bible and Biopsy

Reading through the Bible in a year is a challenge, but I’d never heard it compared to a prostate biopsy. Until Saturday morning. But it’s not what you might think.

Dave had dropped by to walk the dog and pick up bills, and he popped into the office to see if I had any results from my biopsy. I told him I wouldn’t know anything until next Thursday, but told him that the biopsy wasn’t anything like I had been led by some to expect. It wasn’t a picnic, but it really was a piece of cake. It didn’t hurt at all.

We went on to talk about other things, and I asked him if he was excited about an upcoming event he had told me about. He said yes, but then said what he was most excited about was reading through the Bible this year. He was loving it! He looked forward to it every morning, and had a hard time not reading ahead. He then said he had thought it was really going to be hard, but had discovered it was kind of like my biopsy. It wasn’t at all what he had thought it might be.

Some, however, have found it to be challenging. I even had someone ask me to hold them accountable because they were finding it very difficult. And I know it can be, especially when you are attempting it for the first time. Just finding time is hard if your life is already full of activities and family responsibilities. And when you are tired, it’s hard to stay focused. And then you begin to wonder if you’ll even remember what you’ve read. I won’t even mention that we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to read God’s Word.

Let me encourage everyone who has taken the challenge, to stay the course. Don’t worry about remembering, or even understanding, everything. Just read it, and trust God will implant in your heart and mind what He wants you to know. At least this time through. Next time He’ll no doubt give you something more.

Like Dave, I really look forward to reading the Bible every morning. And if you want to know what exciting new things God has already shown me in the first few days of this new year, just ask.

God Bless, Rick

Reflections from Christmas Eve

How quickly the years roll by. It’s hard to believe that Chatham Christian Church celebrated its 47th Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service this past Christmas. Marilyn and I have only been here for 45 of them, but I believe Jim and Mary Sexton have been to all 47.

Over the years we’ve done a variety of things on Christmas Eve in addition to the communion service, presenting cantatas and the like, but I have to say I really enjoy what we do now more than any. Some of the enjoyment may come from the fact that I don’t have to be a part of the musical presentation, and can just enjoy the service. But I also really do enjoy seeing how all the pieces come together.

When I make it known that we need special music, and invite any who might have something to share to do so, I never know what to expect. But as I start hearing from those willing to share a song that reflects their love for Christ and Christmas, it quickly becomes obvious that we’re going to have a great night of celebration. And according to the comments I heard, this year’s was one of the best.

The attendance this year was also very encouraging. Attendance had slipped a bit over the years, and I was beginning to wonder how long we would be able to continue with this tradition. If this year is any indication of our future, I think we can plan on hosting many more.

I put out 200 candles this year, thinking that would be more than enough. When I went through the baskets after the service, however, I only found six that had hadn’t been used. And then I started hearing about some who didn’t get a candle because their basket was empty. I know we haven’t had 200 at our Christmas Eve service in a long time, and I have to admit it really felt good to see so many here.

I don’t know what God has in store for us in 2018, but I know our future is in good hands. In fact, I believe our big Five-0 will be here before we know it. And, Lord willing, I’m looking forward to my big Five-0 as your preacher.

God Bless, Rick