Thank you for praying for Joseph. The day went well. After getting his morning blood test we found that his neutrophils were 2.5 – which is the bottom end of “normal” for most people but great for Joseph under treatment. After his check up we went home where Joseph’s brothers had come up with a number of activities to keep him busy and not thinking about his fast. Time flew by and it was time to go in for the procedure. When it was all done he was up and ready for a snack and to go home and play (see photo above).
Now we wait for the result of the bone marrow test. We were told it would be several days before that result would be back. It is an interesting time – waiting for the results. If any abnormal cells are found we would be off on another trying journey. If the results are clear then we move on to the next phase of learning how to be “normal”. Once treatment stops on 27th of December it will be time for Joseph’s body to recover from 3 years of daily treatment. It will be a time for his bone marrow to grow back healthy and strong but a time of vulnerability as all that takes place.
So should we be worried about Joseph? What if his test shows abnormal cells? What if his immune system does not heal well? What if leukemia cells come back in the next couple of years?
We could worry, but that would just rob us of sleep and peace and wreck our health and do nothing for Joseph. We could put on our rose colored glasses and assume that nothing bad can happen to Joseph because we follow Jesus. But then we would have to ignore that Jesus Himself told us to expect to suffer in this life. We could just see whatever happened with Joseph as his “fate” – that there really was nothing to be done either way, that all things are “just the odds”.
What we see is God says that He loves us and He tells us that we are in a good creation that is broken by sin. We ourselves are broken as well, though originally we were the highest expression of God’s creation – image bearers of the creator. Leukemia is a twisting of the beautiful design of the hematopoietic, or blood-forming, system. God has shown us that this world is not a “clock-work” he has set up to run on its own, but He says in the Bible that He is actively sustaining and maintaining everything. Jesus also showed us that He was very concerned about the personal health and well-being of people – the most important thing was spiritual well-being but Jesus spent a great deal of time healing people and intervening in the tragedies of life – sickness, chronic disease, disability and death. Jesus also told us that if we wanted to know what God the Father was like – just look at Jesus. So if Jesus spent so much time on intervening in the “normal” experience of this broken world then God the Father is just as interested in those things as well. So we can, with great openness come to Him for help. However, we also know that God does not always intervene in a way that we see or the way that we would like. Jesus himself was given a hard assignment in this world – one in which He himself suffered greatly. And Jesus gave hard assignments to many of his followers. But with those hard assignments come two great promises that never fail:
He will always be with us.
He will bring good out of everything if we love and follow him.
These past three years we have seen these two great promises fulfilled over and over so we don’t doubt that He will continue to fulfill them no matter what the future holds.
We have been blessed with a wonderful medical team who have served us and Joseph so well. Medically, Joseph’s prognosis is good and we rejoice in that. But in Jesus, Joseph is secure.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 3-9 ESV