I took Joseph in for a check-up Wednesday past and there was a survey being conducted about “end of treatment” services. That raised the question, so I asked Joseph’s consultant – “When will Joseph complete his treatment?” She replied – “humm, lets see, I think there is a schedule here… Yes, the 27th of December 2016.” So as of today that comes to 300 days.
I was suddenly filled with other questions – “What will happen then?”, “What risks will Joseph face?” and several others. To the first question the answer was that Joseph will move from a check-up every week or two to once a month for about a year. Then that frequency would stretch to every 6 weeks, until 2 years have passed. Then, if all is well, regular checkups come to a conclusion. Then Joseph will move into a new life of being a little boy without Leukaemia who is growing and learning. For us as parents, we learn to trust the Lord in new ways once treatment ends – that remission will be deeply rooted and sustained while being aware of side effects of treatment that could arise.
Do your prayers still matter? Yes, they do! Every day of life is a gift. In Joseph’s case we have become more intensely aware of how precious the gift of life is. And we have become more attuned to how sustaining prayer is for Joseph and our family. One small example is just how healthy Joseph has been – many times not developing fevers when all his brothers had one. How does a little boy with a compromised immune system avoid illness and again and again?
One of my favourite verses about prayer comes from the book of James.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16b (KJV)
However, that is only the second half of the verse. If we look at the whole section a more interesting idea comes out – like how do I have powerful prayers? By being super holy? By never making a mistake?
No, by humbly confessing when I have wronged others and asking for them to forgive me. Also by forgiving those who have wronged me. With this attitude I can have Elijah-like power in my prayer because I have all the rubbish cleared out and the path open for God to work in my life. Then wonderful things can happen – like hopeless marriages being restored, or the hardest of hearts being softened, or little boys being healed from Leukaemia.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18 (NKJV)