For those of you who have been following the progress of our son Matthew over the past six months or so, you know that we have been anxiously awaiting the results of his latest Pet Scan to determine whether or not he is finished with chemotherapy and if his cancer is finally under control. Well...the good news is, the cancer is definitely in retreat...but not totally eradicated...he has one more scheduled chemo treatment this coming week, and then he will go back to the specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to determine the next step.
Matthew was able to view his previous two Pet Scans alongside this latest one, and he was definitely able to see the progress that has been made. He said that the original Pet Scan was extremely scary...it was full of bright red zones...active cancer cells that were glowing like red hot coals throughout his abdominal cavity. The second scan done after about three months of chemotherapy showed marked improvement...much fewer "hot spots" than before. And now, after six months of chemo, the most recent scan is more like a burned out campfire, with dying embers disentegrating into ashes. However, the danger is, if a little wind bellowed up it could reignite those embers back into a raging inferno, so the fire pit must be fully extinguished before it can be abandoned.
The verse quoted above is very comforting...especially the part that states, "When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you." Even though in this life we often find ourselves in the midst of the fire... and sometimes a raging inferno...we are reminded about Daniel's three companions who were thrown into the belly of the burning fiery furnace because they refused to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar's false god. The fire was fired up seven times hotter than it was normally heated (Daniel 3:8-30), and they were cast into it bound in their clothing...and even though it was hot enough to totally destroy the men who threw them in there...these three young men were protected and sheltered in the midst of the furnace by the actual presence of the Son of God. They were brought back out of the fire alive, without even the smell of smoke on their bodies...totally free from any evidence of any flame upon their bodies!
Am I being too literally optimistic to pray and expect that our Matthew will be brought through this fiery trial without a singed spot on his body? Is it even reasonable to expect that he can be completely healed of this rare and deadly disease that has already ravaged and destroyed so many precious children and adults before him? You may think that I am getting my hopes up way too high and that I will only be hurt in the end. Well, first of all let me say that I know my Lord and Savior...and I know what He is able to do... just as Shadrach, Meshach and AbedNego answered old King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 16-17 of Daniel Chapter 3 when Nebuchadnezzar had asked them "Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?" They replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But, if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
Yes, I do take God's Word at His Word. This trial is not only about our son's battle for his physical life, which is precious enough...but it is also about the battle for the soul and spirit of a young man who has stood on the front line of spiritual warfare ever since he was conceived. His life has been one test after another from day one...those of you who know Matthew know all the battles he has already been through and the victories that God has won on his behalf. Satan has tried over and over again to quench out his young life and testimony, but GOD has defeated Satan every time. So what if Matt doesn't survive this battle? Does that mean Satan won and God lost? No, quite the contrary...whether Matt lives or dies, he belongs to Christ. His life is secured in the hands of the Almighty...his spirit lives on eternally in victory...so no matter what ...just like those lads in the fiery furnace...our God whom we serve IS able to deliver Matthew from this fiery furnace...but even if He choses not to, his life will go on...and he will be completely healed. It's a win-win. He can't lose.
Yes, I pray for Matthew's complete physical healing here on this earth...nothing could make me happier than that. But I also trust the One Who gave His life for our son...Jesus Christ...our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. He will do that which will accomplish His plan in the very best way possible. Of that I have no doubt or fear.
|Photo by Michael Belk, "Journeys With The Messiah" Collection|