Isaiah 38:4-5 “Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.’”

Sometimes things happen in our lives and they give us a better appreciation/understanding of Scripture. An event can bring a passage to mind and it literally leaps off the page at us. What joy Hezekiah must have experienced when he heard Isaiah’s prophecy! I can honestly say that, even with all of the difficulties and traumatic times that Valerie and I have faced in our lives, I understand that joy better now.

We started this process with a lump and a word: leiomyosarcoma. The doctors were very serious. They were concerned that the cancer may be in the lungs. After long consultations we decided to hit it hard. A nasty form of chemo first, with one they call “the red devil.” Then, hopefully, radiation on the lump and surgery to follow. Chemo was hard, with an infection in the middle of it. The doctors, who initially seemed very somber, started to show signs of encouragement. Amazement that the lump on the leg was going down. A high five. Many “you shouldn’t look this good” comments. And through it all Val’s reminder to them that the saints were praying.

Next up: the scan. The hope: no change in the lungs, indicating that the nodules most likely weren’t cancer to begin with. The news: no change! No additional areas of concern in the scans of the abdomen and pelvis. Relief and joy, even on the doctor’s faces! The plan: radiation and surgery to get the cancer out of Val’s body, with a much higher chance of extended life.

Now, the way forward will not be easy. The surgery will take what the doctor described as a “shark bite” out of Val’s leg. Plastic surgery may be necessary. Scans every three month for the first three years, finally morphing into a chest x-ray every year after five years. Life has changed, but perhaps it will be even sweeter and more filled with purpose as a result.

We also understand certain realities. We realize that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. In fact, we haven’t a clue! “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am” (Psalm 39:4). God is sovereign, and we are not. We accept that. We also believe that there is something better waiting for us. We agree with Paul that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). We can’t even begin to imagine the peace, joy, and wonder of heaven! But today I side with Hezekiah. It looks like my wife, my partner, my companion, my bride has been given grace, and I rejoice.

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