As most of you know, I had a colon resection on December 20 to remove a cancerous tumor which had been diagnosed six days earlier. I'd had no symptoms, no pain, and no problems. But during my annual physical in late November, the doctor said it was time for my first colonoscopy screening. To my complete surprise, it revealed cancer. The surgeon said that if I had waited another six months it would have been too late to save my life. As a result of the resection, however, the surgeon has declared me cancer free.
The past three weeks of recovery has had its ups and downs. The bad news is that there is a hole in the colon where a staple apparently failed. The concern is that the colon could leak at this point, create an infection, and all the surgical work done thus far could be in jeopardy. The good news is that "quite remarkably" (according to the surgeon) there has been no leak or infection thus far. In light of three-week track record, the surgeon is very hopeful that there will be no leak in the future. He calls me daily to monitor the situation. We watch carefully for any fever (which an infection would cause), and I'm to return the hospital next week for another CT scan. The surgeon believes the hole will heal in about a month. Until then, he expects me to gain strength daily and be able to return to the classroom by the time the spring semester begins at the end of January.
I can't begin to thank the readers of this newsletter for all the prayers and other expressions of concern. I have sensed my dependence upon the prayers of God's people more than ever before. Please continue to pray, especially along these lines:
- That God would be glorified in all these things.
- That my conformity to Christ and testimony for Him would increase.
- That no infection would develop.
- That the hole in the colon would heal.
- That I would be able to keep all my preaching and teaching commitments.
- That God would continue to give grace to Caffy and Laurelen to deal with the difficulties caused by my surgery and recovery.
The Lord has been very gracious to us. I have had some sweet and precious times with Him in recent days. I have been reminded of how full of suffering the world is, and how vaporous this life is. Lying in a hospital bed with a nine-inch gash in my abdomen, unable to say or do anything for Him, I have sensed the tender love and condescending compassion of Jesus. Unable at times to even piece together two words of praise, He did not forsake me though I could offer nothing to Him. How good is God, that He would send His Son to suffer and die to deliver us from such a world and to bring us to a place where we could enjoy Him forever! We do not deserve it, and He gains nothing by being so gracious to us. It is all a display of how good and glorious He is.
Finally, also remember to pray for the FamilyLife Today broadcasts on Monday and Tuesday. Please pray that the Lord would bring much lasting fruit from the messages on family worship.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
2 Timothy 4:22