Since beginning this new health journey several weeks ago, we’ve been in discovery and learning mode. All the PET scan told us back then was that there are three areas of activity in Carolyn’s body that may indicate cancer in some form. The first biopsy attempt was a failure on the part of the lab. 

Carolyn went in this Monday for surgery to remove one spot and possibly another for testing. It’s been a long, drawn-out experience so far of simply not knowing what we are dealing with.

Today, however, we received “the phone call” from the doctor stating that the node removed from her breast tested positive for radiation-induced cancer. We were told that the tissue they tested was 70% noninvasive but 30% invasive. The doctor said that he will need to study how much radiation Caro received way back when to determine if this breast cancer can even be treated with radiation. In fact, he said that we may be looking at a mastectomy as the main treatment.

Unfortunately, we were told that the testing of the other nodes was inconclusive, so we may be back to square one there and still will need to determine if there is any kind of lymphoma present. 

It has not been a fun day around the Noble House, as you can imagine. Yet… we are confident in God’s protection and peace. In fact, just yesterday I learned of a former campus minister friend who is battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma… again. He wrote something on his blog that echoes the very desires of our hearts as well and did so eloquently:

Ultimately, our hope does not exist in Chemo or gifted doctors. I am thankful that these exist but we do not find any rest in either. Rest is a by product (lifeline) of where our affection and faith are attached. My recent understanding is if rest is to be had, then it must be chosen as an act of trust. (Jeremiah 6:16, 2 Tim 1:12, Matt 11:28). Said another way, anxiety has a way of quieting in the face of the Almighty who is sustaining, holding and allowing all. So pray that I will choose REST in the midst of this and worship Him through it all.

There are still so many things that we don’t know. It’s early in all this, and recommendations from doctors change frequently. We also do not know why God has chosen us, once again, for such an experience. Yet what we do know is greater than what we don’t know. Of that, and in Him, we are confident.

There are so many questions we have for the doctors… and for the Lord. In rational and faith-filled moments, we choose hope, strength and trust. In emotional ones, we are crying out to God with why’s, complaints, and in helpless frustration. Please be praying that the former moments far exceed and outweigh the latter. 

In the middle of all the health stuff, life continues to happen on other fronts. It’s unkind in that way, really. It simply will not pause long enough for you to manage one crisis or stressor before handing you another. 

There’s an old adage that “God will not give us more than we can bear.” It sounds good, but like this blog entry points out, that principle is in relationship to temptation, not suffering or hardship. In truth, God frequently gives us more than we can bear. Now is such a time for us, it feels like.

However, He never gives us what we can’t bear without also providing Himself.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1.8-9)

And so there is our hope… in God alone. As we walk this path (again) with imperfect knowledge of what awaits, we walk it with our Messiah. We know that if we walk with Him, we will become more like Him. We also know that you can help us in our walk. According the the next verses from the passage above:

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” (1.10-11)

We covet your prayers during this time for our ability to set our hope on Him. Please pray for us all around. There are several areas of this “life stuff” that we are helpless to do without His work at this time. As always, we thank you for your gracious and tender mercy toward us through your prayers and help.

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