Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks & Thank you!

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Regardless of folk law, turkeys, posh looking Pilgrims with stiff collars and professional American football; the first Thanksgiving was less of a celebration of feasting success, and much more the appreciation of divine grace that they had been the recipients of a miracle that allowed them (the Pilgrims) to continue living. They thanked God not for turkey, corn or Native American friends (Indians to the less PC); they thanked their Heavenly Father for the miracle of continued life.
Today is a day of reflection in our house. After three years of struggle (almost to the day) we have been handed a miracle of continued life. Some will argue mightily that medicine and science have succeeded in Evan’s case. We do not discount this stance; but we also acknowledge that a power has been called to bear on Evan by no less that the effort of prayer. Those prayers have been yours, ours, and so many others who may just hear about Evan; and offer a quick word on his behalf in their conversations with God.
We cannot thank each of you enough for those words; however short, long, ugly or eloquent that conversation may have been. From those efforts we have received miraculous results. Both of Evan’s tumors have shown decreases in size of greater than 50% in very short time. Conventional wisdom is leading us to a reality that there will always be some residual scarring inside that we might equate with Jacob’s limp or Paul’s thorn for Evan; an ever present reminder that we are to be grateful recipients of a life touched by God. And a grateful heart touched by God has a greater responsibility.
Such a responsibility is not to stand on a rooftop praising God for our miracle. It is to pray for all whom we meet. It is to be compassionate and sharing with all who seek our counsel. It is to be a beacon of hope to those who feel lost and abandoned. It is to shore up the supports of those who have experienced loss beyond words; to share faith to those who face uncertainty.
Let us share the stories of 4 such people that you might offer prayers of hope, love and support; even as you may be reclining with your friends and family on this day of thanks.
Grant, 8 years old, and his family found out this spring that he had a brain tumor. After a valiant fight, Grant died earlier this fall. We know that he is in Heaven; but left behind are his mom, dad and older brother. Please pray for their peace during this tumultuous time, or offer a thought that they find hope and joy in the coming days and months.
Josiah, 14 years old and a talented athlete, and his family; found out early this fall that he had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma under unusual circumstances. His excisional surgery resulted in a status of NED (No Evidence of Disease) but they now face the uphill battle of getting a definitive diagnosis and treatment choices. Please pray for their insight and continued strength as they face a long uncertain road ahead of them, or offer a thought of thanks on their behalf while they push on in his battle.
Consider Rachel and her 2 year old son, just diagnosed with a malignancy associated with his nevus and NCM (Neuro Cutaneous Melanosis). He has begun a course of chemotherapy; and due to an extensive lack of study into this rarest of rare situations means that divine guidance for insights for their medical team is essential. A word for love, compassion and healing, a thought for peace and continued support would not be remiss.
Think of Chris who is Evan’s Sunday school teacher. She found out this fall that she had colon cancer. After surgery she now faces chemotherapy. She shaved her head to raise money for childhood cancer research and continues to teach Sunday school. Offer a thought and prayer for her continued courage and the strength of a husband who stands by her as a pillar of faith and service.
As you sit at your feast this afternoon, take a moment as you look at the plate of bounty before you and consider taking that time and pondering these words from Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica:
  • We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love; and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
And as you go forth from this day, know in your heart that we do not toil alone in our journey; and no matter the size, weight or other dimension of your burdens you too will find support, love and encouragement from your Father – even when it sometimes comes from and through your fellow travelers.
In closing, as we enter the commercial fray of this holiday season; We thank you for your continued support as our battles continue; And we offer prayers of hope, peace, joy and love to each of you - in, by and through the power of the spirit of the season, The Holy Spirit. Many continued blessings to you all.

1 comment:

Kendra said...

Evan & family,
I just wanted to let you know that I've been thinking about you & hope that you are continuing to get better. I hope yall have a Merry Christmas!
Love, Kendra Hartshorn