Only a few months into my new status as a “nonagenarian” I'm celebrating another major milestone. OCTOBER 8 WAS THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF MY LUNG CANCER SURGERY.
I have now experienced being a cancer survivor for a quarter century and living without a third of my lung. With the slight handicap of not being able to parachute out of airplanes, go scuba diving, or run marathons, praise God He has blessed and sustained me in reasonable health for my calendar age of 90 without a cancer recurrence.
In a prayer service during the early years of the charismatic renewal, hands of blessing were laid on me and words spoken over me to the effect that “your latter days of life and ministry will be more blessed and fruitful than the former.” But it didn't look like that was going to happen. I had just become a “senior citizen” at 65 when I faced that unexpected trauma of cancer diagnosis necessitating major surgery. Wasn't I already "over the hill"? My life could have been terminated 25 years ago. Two years after my recovery I would suffer the loss of my husband Ted and walk the rest of the way without his companionship. Of course, God already knew all that when He planned my life agenda and was working it out step by step.
During a serious conversation with my skillful Christian surgeon upon my discharge from the hospital, I remember his wise comment when I asked what I might henceforth do differently, since lung cancer has a greater likelihood than other cancers to recur. I paraphrase his reply: “Not to worry. You are in God's hands. If He has planned more time for you to live for Him and serve Him, that's what will happen.” (During this past year I have been delighted to reconnect with that beloved surgeon, Dr. Jack Curtis, and reestablish a long distance friendship.)
I pressed forward day by day and year by year trying to walk according to His leading, obeying what I believed to be His will, at times stumbling and falling short. And I'm learning to leave my tomorrows in His loving hands. If the prophetic words have become reality and I have produced any spiritual fruit during the generous bonus years God has lavished upon me, I offer it all to Him for His glory.
Had my life on earth ended with cancer a quarter century ago, I wouldn't have had the joy of seeing ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, nor enjoying our four sons in adulthood, nor publishing most of the 36 or so books that I have been privileged to write, nor making use of all the technology at my disposal to produce them or to reach out in witness electronically. Nor would I have had the opportunity to travel repeatedly to my parents' Czech heritage homeland, as I had done to China innumerable times, nor had the opportunity to be involved in Christian broadcasting, nor would I have had the satisfaction of growing older with the wisdom that I hope has accompanied it....
….I could go on and on enumerating God's blessings to me. If I tried to count them all, they would be “ton by ton” not one by one. God is good. God is good all the time! I have lived the experience of Psalm 103:1-5. “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
What of the rest of the way? I didn't choose the title of my blog lightly. The rest of my way Home rests in God's hands and I gladly trust Him with it. Just in case I haven't yet finished God's agenda for my life, I continue to make my plans, set my goals, live for Jesus in the present moment, and press on to serve Him as He gives me opportunity. I take as my watchword James 4:13-15, “Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.” So I continue to celebrate each day as a loving gift from God.
Today I renew my consecration to the Lord and invite you to join me in singing the beloved classic hymn:
"Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf11rReeWIs