“Miraculous Recovery”

“Hang in there, Baby!” Because in reality, the Rope is holding you!

“Scott with Ralph from Refuge”

That’s how I ended November’s newsletter. I never wrote or sent an InYou Window in December but I was still doing a good bit of journaling and writing on other projects as I was recovering from prostate surgery. By the way, I am recovering “miraculously well” (as I have been telling everyone who asks). Thank you for your prayers and notes and Facebook posts of encouragement.

Here are some journal entries from my surgical experience:

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017—
I laugh when I say “God wouldn’t let me be self-pitiful”. He just confirmed His presence throughout the whole day. When I asked to pray with Dr. Scott Miller after the consult, he quickly grabbed both my hands. My pre-op nurse at Northside Hospital (Maureen Hearn) & I talked about Jesus for 1-1/2 hours in her office after she drew my blood. I gave her my newsletter, “Mysterical Life,” and “The Firm” curriculum. Admin. required no payment for surgery. (Met my deductible this year.) Wow!

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017—
I’ve experienced Job 13:15 mostly as I head toward Atlanta for this “involuntary manhood slaughter” this am. God won’t let me pout. He has surrounded me with believers and reminds me that there are much worse sufferings happening all around me. Trusting Him for complete healing! If the kingdom of God is where heaven and earth collide, then I’m sure feeling the crunch! (Acts 14:22)

I texted my brother-in-law, Hub: “I describe my feelings today oscillating between standing on the field as the return man right before kickoff and just hearing that someone I love died tragically.”

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017—
When it was finally time, things rolled quickly. Several nurses guided the gurney through double sets of electric double doors, then down a subway tile clad corridor. “The coolness helps with germs I suppose,” I overtly observed. The nurse agreed as she said hello to her colleagues, each one on task as their morning shift commenced. We turned a corner and several, numbered, stainless-steel, sliding, barn-style doors lined each side of the hallway. #2 opened and I felt like I was being taken into a deep-freezer.

The operating room was large and white. I noticed a large-screen TV, the word DaVinci stenciled to several sophisticated machines, one with multiple, stainless-steel arms, each one covered in plastic. An alien? A spider? Was I on a space ship? Just as my gurney parallel parked beside a padded table in the center of the room, a male voice instructed me to slide over. I never looked back toward his face, but fixed my gaze on a small slit in the middle of two adjoining pads where I was asked to place my rear. “This can’t be good,” I thought, surmising, “I guess the blood and fecal matter have to go somewhere.”

Nurses were on every side of me. One covered my feet with a warm blanket. Another took my left hand, which was already “pierced” with a needle near the wrist, and I understood the anesthesia meds would soon trickle through this port. A third nurse took my right hand and strapped it outward, away from my body, securing it to an extended portion of the table. “We don’t want you to fall off the table,” she said assuredly. Finally, an oxygen mask “crowned” my mouth and nose. “Take a few deep breaths for me. This should help you relax.”

It was impossible now for me to not realize that my body was in the position of Jesus on the cross. “By His stripes we are healed,” dawned upon my mind and just as I was anticipating the glorious fact that I would not feel or remember any part of this operation, I prayed out loud, “May God guide your hands.” I was on this “cross,” not to die, but to have death taken out of me.

From the beginning, I wanted to be delivered from this cross, from cancer and from surgery, and I prayed to that end. But instead I have been delivered through it, just like Jesus. He, too, begged for another way, but He was the Way. Sinlessly and with great anxiety, He sought to escape the excruciating pain of crucifixion and the separation sin inevitably creates, yet divine sovereignty had charted an agonizing path to the absolution of all pain and sorrow.

I trusted God. I did my research. I met with 5 different doctors representing four different treatment options. I also spoke with friends about many other doctors, but in the end, I went with where I had the peace of God for my diagnosis. So as I travailed through earthly activity, I rested in heavenly guidance. That’s kingdom living. I live in two realms simultaneously, and the contrast between the two helps me see so I can choose. I can have my earthly woes, but I cannot live there. I must praise Him, trust Him, and let His joy be my strength.

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017—
First text after surgery: “4-1/2 surgery and now Cancer free with seven holes in my abdomen, a catheter the size of a jumbo straw, and a missing part knifed out between my legs, but the nauseous pain from the nitro gas they pumped me with is the most painful part. (Unfortunately this gas isn’t released “naturally.”) Walked the hallway at 9 pm last night. Pray me home today. I am both grateful and uncomfortable.

I suppose I’ve been graphic enough. (TMI as usual.) I spent two weeks sleeping in a recliner, not only because it is comfortable, but also because Kelli still had to sleep well and go to work and I didn’t want to disturb her as I was up almost every hour at first. I kept a detailed record of my progress knowing that God comforts us so that we might be a comfort to others…just as several men comforted me (2 Cor. 1:3-5)! Already I’ve been able to visit with several men with prostate cancer. God doesn’t waste our pain if we’ll yield it to Him.

2017 will be hard to forget—three surgeries and the death of my father, Chase at Dollywood and tearing his hamstring ligament, Carson graduating college, among other family events—as faith keeps expanding until it includes all things.