Caring, Compassion & Concern

These 3 C’s have been given to me in abundance over the past few days. I am humbled and grateful.  Life is full of surprises and the latest one, on the heels of retirement from pastoring, was a real lulu.

I have an appointment with a surgeon tomorrow afternoon and under the care of his team I will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of my right kidney to a cancerous tumor. It was a big surprise to learn about the lesion, but God always has a way to show us what we need to see and know–a CT scan for stomach cramps revealed the little devil.

My imagination tells me this will probably be a pretty painful procedure and while there is no fear in my bones to say that there is no concern on my part would be an outright lie.  It has been a long time since a doctor gave me a big scar to remember him by.

And something else–this is not my first rodeo with a tumor. In fact, it’s my third. The first was a wildly growing bone tumor in my leg way back in 1966 and the second was multiple lesions on my larynx sometime around 1980. Both of those surgeries proved to be successful and there is no reason to believe this one will not be, as well. All of the physicians who have counseled me about this are confident that the cure will be complete. I’m glad!

All that said, I’d like to ask those of you who know me and read my missives from time to time to pray about some things. The most obvious is tomorrow’s surgical procedure. I report to the hospital at noon, the surgery is around 2 pm, and barring no complications, back in a room by about 6 pm. After a couple days of watch care at the hospital, I’ll recuperate at home for a few weeks under the watchful eye of my sweet wife.

The other things I want to ask you to pray about concern two churches. The first is The Church at Lake Forest where I served as senior pastor for 26+ years. My son, Christopher, will be following me as pastor in a few weeks and I’m asking that you pray for him, his family, and this dear church. I believe God is going to do some great things as he leads the people there in Walls, MS. He’s a great guy in spite of being my son. His heart is big and so are his dreams. I know he will give it all he has and I can’t wait to see the results.

The other church is Journey Baptist Church in Olive Branch where God has led Debbie and I to serve in the next chapter of our lives. We didn’t expect to walk into a place on the first Sunday after retirement and fall in love, but we did. God has made it so very easy for us in this regard. We were expecting to “church shop” for a few months in hope of finding a place we could be satisfied and God gave us a place to get involved and he has given us a fresh passion. Pastor Jarrett and his wife Kari have quickly become close friends and we’re looking forward to supporting his leadership helping Journey to grow.

In the midst of so much cultural turmoil, peace reigns supreme at my house. Oh, we’re concerned about what we hear in the news, for sure. The world, by and large, has completely turned its back on the God of the universe. We haven’t. God is more real and more satisfying to me than ever before.

About 24 hours from now, I imagine I’ll be coming back to my senses, what little there is left anyway, and I’ll likely be complaining pretty loudly. That doesn’t change the absolute fact that God is so very good and Jesus still saves!

Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And  the peace of God,  which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [ESV]

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