Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Resurrection and Radiation

This is the week after Easter and the week after Easter is often a little bit of a let down.

At church we've been planning for months for this special time of year when people who don't normally attend church come to church.

After months of planning "outreach" events across three campuses, including the annual concerts with a full choir and orchestra and the popular "Eggtravaganza" events that bring loads of families out for Egg Hunts, Puppet Shows, Crafts and's over.

The outreach events brought about 2000 people through the church doors.

Between Good Friday and Easter Sunday another 4000 people attended worship services where I work and serve.

It was a huge answer to prayer, a wonderful time of celebration and an encouragement to those who put so much time and effort into spreading the Good News.

This week has been a little quiet. Today I was working on some tasks that had been put on the back burner for awhile. I have to confess, I was working at a less-than-urgent pace.

It's a little disconcerting to me that after being so intentional about proclaiming the Gospel so boldly and broadly that I have quickly settled into a business-as-usual mentality.

I'm working on that. Praying about it, really. Because the message isn't any less impressive, important or impactful the other 51 weeks of the year.

My father-in-law reminded me of that. With two words...

Thank you.

In mid-October of last year he was admitted to the hospital after they discovered a non-cancerous brain tumor that had been 90% removed ten months earlier had inexplicably grown back to it's original size.

After another seven hour brain surgery successfully removed 90% of the "new" tumor (the other 10% was too dangerously close to the brain to remove without damage) he suffered a mild stroke, developed a blod clot, had a stent put in for bleeding on the brain, had a traecheotomy, and gotten pneumonia.


I've heard him complain about two things in the past six months; his butt being sore (from lying in bed for five months), and being cold.

He's still on the traech, has had a feeding tube since the surgery and been through three different rehabs when not in the hospital. Last week, he began to make some real progress, standing for more than five minutes, pedaling a bicycle in the rehab "gym" and almost swallowing on his own.

Monday he started radiation therapy to prevent the non-cancerous tumor from growing a third time which it has already begun to do.

This week when I went to visit him and watched while the respiratory therapist gave him a nebulizer treatment and then suctioned out his traech so the fluid wouldn't build up in his lungs I was a bit in awe. Because when she finished, he intentionally and sincerely thanked her. Repeatedly.

Those of you who've cared for a loved one with a long-term health issue know how discouraging the process (and the places they are in) can feel.

This has been no exception.

And yet, for 25 weeks my father-in-law has plugged along after every set-back, thanking every person who has walked into his room, carted him off in an ambulance, slid him onto a radiation table, washed his limbs, sent him a card, called on the phone or otherwise let him know they care about his well being.

It reminded me of the Bible story where Jesus healed ten lepers but only one came back to thank Him (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus said “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

I'm thankful for the Cross and I'm thankful for the Resurrection.

I'm thankful I have a Savior who is faithful when I am not.

I'm thankful that my father-in-law is able to have radiation treatments and even more thankful that he's thankful about it.

And I'm truly grateful for the faith lesson the week after Easter.

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