"I have told you these things so you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
After undergoing months of difficult treatment for throat cancer, my eldest brother had been hoping for a clean bill of health when he went in for his follow-up yesterday. Having beaten leukemia twice previously, he was anxious to get this even more challenging episode behind him and has been planning his return to work in March.
Instead, he found out the cancer is back, and growing rapidly. Surgery is now his only option, and even with the operation (which may take his voice from him), the odds are not good. Talk about a sucker punch. I felt a pit in my stomach when he called to tell me the news. I can only imagine how he felt.
Trouble is an unfortunate - and inevitable - part of life. Sometimes it strikes with a vengeance, and sometimes it piles on. Last night, I pulled out a devotion I first read years ago based on the verse I led with at the top of this post. In it, a Christian man was quoted as having said, "All of us know troubles. We're either in trouble right now, we just got out of trouble, or we are heading for it."
The writer of the devotion said that, while initially he found this to be an incredibly pessimistic viewpoint, upon reflection he realized that the description was indeed accurate. Certainly the Bible is full of examples about persistent trouble: does a fellow named Job come to mind? Fast forward to our time, and trouble is everywhere you look.
Disasters (both natural and man-made), job loss, illness, family strife, a poor economy, depression, grief...cancer. It's there in spades. The point of the verse, of course, is that we don't have to handle whatever trial has befallen us alone. We've got help.
Rich is in trouble. Big trouble. He needs that help. I'm lifting him up in prayer. If, like me, you believe in the power of prayer, maybe you'll consider saying one for him, too.
Whatever the outcome, I have every confidence God will continue to wrap my brother in His loving arms, and will give Him the strength to face this challenge. "Take heart!"
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