Friday, April 25, 2008

Shouts of Joy

Wow! The last 15 days have been packed with desperate pleas and crying to God for him to heal my father-in-law, Ron Buck. When he was diagnosed with colon cancer we were totally shocked. He had all appearances of health, good looks and no symptoms. He just went in for an annual physical. When the blood work showed his iron was low and blood in a stool sample, a colonoscopy was ordered. For you men who cringe at the word - you are completely sedated when this procedure takes place. I know that Ron would encourage every man 40 and over to be wise. If Ron would have waited one more year - we would be planning his funeral! If one person is encouraged to schedule an annual physical because of Ron - every ounce of this has been worth it!

On Wednesday, April 23, our pastors and a few members of our church staff came out to Ron's house for prayer. I know that our prayers (yours included) did not just fall into empty air. However, each request fell at the feet of God. We had a fantastic time of prayer. Ron shared his heart about having cancer. He said if one person is "spiritually" encouraged and healed because of his suffering it was all worth it. Ron also shared that he has total peace with God and every tear that he has shed is not because of the "c word" or surgery - his tears have been because he has experienced the overwhelming love that God feels for him through people - you and me! Carolyn said that her heart is being healed through this experience. She shared that God loves and accepts her "just as she is". She didn't have to be a perfect Christian before God poured out His peace on her. God met her where she was, lavished her as a father lavishes his daughter, and brought her PERFECT PEACE. All the while, Carolyn took hold of God's extended hand and joined Him in her journey!

When the prayer session was over, we walked our pastors to their car. In the distance, praise music was playing. We live in the country and our neighbors are acres apart. It was as if angels were singing from a mountaintop, "How great is our God! All the world will see, how great is our God!". I am not kidding - those words of praise-"All the world will see, how great is our God!" really were playing somewhere in my neighborhood! What a perfect promise. We were all so encouraged.

By the time Ron went into surgery yesterday, we were prayed up and strengthened by your prayers. My sister-in-law Toni prayed for boldness. She asked the surgeon, "How do you know the cancer is still there? Our family is a praying family and we believe that God is going to heal my dad." That's pretty bold. As we waited, we were surrounded by close friends and family. A friend sent an ice chest of cold drinks and the most delicious ham salad! We were so taken care of. The final hour of waiting, we fought to maintain our peace. I think each of us were in our own battle of believing God for the best. At exactly 4:00 Dr. Bodie came and got us. He took us to the 7th floor to the SSICU.

Grab onto your seats! The next few paragraphs are a direct result of YOUR prayers. As you read this, I pray that God would show Himself to you as the loving, accepting, perfect God He is. You were part of a miracle! He has a plan for our family and He has a plan for yours! It is called destiny and my prayer is that You would accept God's extended hand and join HIM in your journey!

Dr. Bodie said that Ron's white blood cell count was elevated and he had a slight temperature when Ron first went in. With those two discoveries Dr. Bodie was prepared to find the worst. The cancer in his large intestine was removed (plan A all the way). Dr. Bodie SEARCHED for more cancer and found NONE! There was no "seepage" which would've been Stage 3 Colon Cancer! There was nothing else - zip - zero - zilch! Dr. Bodie removed the 2 lymph nodes that showed up "questionable" on the original CTscan. HOWEVER, he said they looked FINE. It is possible the pathology report will say cancer cells were found in the lymph nodes and chemo will be needed. However, nothing is impossible with God!

Here is the part that gets me! Dr. Bodie said to our gathered family, "I hear you are a family of prayer. That was a PERFECT surgery - from start to finish. If it were a perfect world that is the kind of surgery people would experience." Whether Dr. Bodie believes in God or not - He sure credited the SUCCESS to PRAYER! We gathered together in the hall way and gave God thanks. Dr. Bodie asked we pray that he wouldn't have to take call this weekend:)

About 45 min after the surgery, Ron was receiving visitors! He called for each of his children and spoke a blessing to each one of them. He was completely coherent, remembering the tiniest details of his loved ones. When I went in there I was SHOCKED. Methodist should have taken his picture for surgery advertisement. He looked 20 years younger! His color was tan (glowing), his face was full - not gaunt. It was amazing to see him look so HEALTHY - just 45 min earlier he was having a surgery that could have taken his life and there he was looking like he could have been on the cover of GQ! He looked better after the surgery than he did before.

Carolyn, Toni and I held Ron's hands and began to praise God. Ron, with tubes in his mouth and eyes closed began to whisper the words to Matt Redman's, You Never Let Go:

Oh no, You never let go through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low. Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me.

God fulfilled His promise of peace.
He showed up during the storm.
He held onto Ron with all His might.
God's perfect plan for Ron was given flight
The first almost 60 years
were filled with joy and sometimes tears
The years ahead will be different
God met his son, let him taste peace
When the going gets tough, Ron, remember Me

As you walk along the way
Gather your grandchildren
(Tyler, Taryn, Tristan, Hannah, Tate, Kendall, Masie Kate, Teagan, Darian, T, Katelyn) and say
"There was a time when I knew God and He knew me...
but there was a DAY when he returned life to me and set me free."
Ron sat with his DAD, perched on His knee.
God said, "Live each day out loud for me - telling all about eternity."
If God had chosen to take Ron to His heavenly home -
Ron would be okay because Jesus he has known.
How about you? Would you say?
Our life on earth is so very short, an eternity is a long time to stay...

Give God your heart - He'll give you His home
He'll walk with you through tomorrow's unknown.
Friends, Family and Passers by we are overwhelmed, for God heard your cry
Peace we have walked in, Peace we will stay
We are better because you joined us along the way.

Many, Many, Thanks!
Those who plant showers of tears will harvest SHOUTS OF JOY! Psalm 126:5