There are many different types of waiting. Sometimes you wait for a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes you wait for a movie to start or a friend to arrive or a new school year to begin. We are waiting for a prognosis on Matt’s cancer.
And as we wait, we have seen God provide. In the eleven days since Matt’s MRI, He has provided us a house to live in, our international insurance issues to be worked out (we think!), and a whole bevy of love and support poured out from literally all over the world.
It has been a week and a half mixed with so much sorrow and so much joy that most days I alternate between smiling and tears. What we’re waiting for is a confirmed diagnosis and prognosis of Matt’s cancer. Questions like: what kind of lung cancer is it? What then would the treatment look like for that type of cancer, etc.? Will be asked and hopefully answered. All of a sudden, there’s a whole vocabulary deficit I’m facing when I hear things like non-small-cell lung cancer and lymph and pleura.
So while our long-term future remains uncertain and in God’s hands, our immediate future looks like meeting with the neurosurgeon on Wednesday to have Matt’s staples from his biopsy removed and to discuss with us the completed pathology. Following that appointment, we will meet with the radiation oncologist(who treats the cancer in his brain) to hear his thoughts on Matt. February 3rd, then, we’ll meet with the main oncologist(who treats the cancer in his body) who will give us the big picture of what Matt’s treatment will look like. In between those doctor’s appointments, we are also trying to procure a second opinion from other oncologists. Sometime this week, we should know more of what God has ordained for our earthly future.
While we wait, we trust. Not so much that God will heal Matt–though that is what we are continuously beseeching Him for should it be His will–but we are trusting that He will use this cancer for His glory and our good.
I suppose some people might respond in anger to a diagnosis like this and that would be understandable. This is hard. In a lot of ways, this week of waiting is probably the easiest week we will have for some time compared to what is coming. And if I thought for one second, that the God who reigns over all things might be giving this to us arbitrarily or punitively, I would be angry, too.
But the God I know, the God of the Bible, does not do things on a whim or without absolute justice. He does not roll the dice and watch us scurry out of the way. He planned the coming of His Son down to the most minute of details–a donkey, a carpenter named Joseph in the line of David, a census, a greedy friend, a Roman cross. And has that plan that was so painstakingly carried out come to an end? Do the minutia and details no longer matter because Jesus came once and died and rose again? No, but rather God is still working out His plan because His Son is coming back! Will He take any less care of every single person who lives and breathes and dies now as He did before? He is the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things who has planned out all of time and space and history before the dawn of time and He is still working in every single cell and molecule and inauguration for that matter to accomplish His purpose.
He is infinitely wise and working out a plan so majestic and so overwhelmingly good, that He can use terrible things like cancer and death and tragedy and sorrow and sin for good! That any kind of plan of God’s would even involve us or benefit us seems incredible. But it does and it springs from a love set upon us before we even loved Him.
There is nothing arbitrary or punitive about this diagnosis. It was given to us by the God who loves us and sent His Son to redeem us from everything truly broken in the world.
If this is how our Lord deems our lives are best used in His plan, we will lay our hands on our mouths and lift up our heads and wait. Wait for the diagnosis to be confirmed. For the prognosis to be laid out. But most of all, wait for God’s plan–whatever it is–to be worked out. For Jesus to come back. For the day promised where there will be no more brokenness and sin and we will get to be with the One who knows us–really knows us–and loves us still.