Day 5: July 11, 2017
On March 3, 2017, we found out there was a spot on Austin’s brain that may be a new tumor. A little over a month later, days before Easter, the doctor called to tell us that it was indeed a relapse of his medulloblastoma – brain cancer. The days and weeks between those dates were filled with multiple visits to Children’s Hospital, tests, phone calls, lots of waiting and more fear than I had ever experienced in my life. I knew too little about what was going on inside Austin’s brain, but having been through this before, I knew too much about the possibilities. I was petrified.
One day, somewhere in the painful mix of waiting and life, I heard a song on the radio just as I was pulling into the driveway. I sat a little longer to listen. It was MercyMe’s “Even If.” After the song ended, I raced in the house to look it up and play it again, but the video wasn’t even available on YouTube yet. I googled the lyrics and was blown away:
I know You’re able and I know you can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
. . . I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
Even if . . . Even if it was cancer . . . Even if He didn’t heal Austin . . . I listened to that song over and over. I watched the video of the backstory (check it out here: https://youtu.be/E3wH_srDZ8k ). The more I listened, the more I learned, the more I loved it.
Several months ago, I purchased one of those coloring Bibles, and I often take it with me to the hospital to color a Bible verse while I’m waiting. On April 12, 2017, while Austin was getting the MRI that would reveal the relapse, I colored and meditated on these words:
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 NLT (emphasis mine)
Even now, with one failed chemo attempt and a tumor that has continued to slowly grow, I know that God is able. Jeremiah said, “O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17 NLT)! Miracles still happen, and I am hoping and praying that one day, I will be able to share with you about ours. But here’s the thing that I don’t want you to miss: We don’t have to wait for the miracle to know that God is good. He is good now. He is faithful today. Even if the story doesn’t end like my heart so desperately wants. Even if I am more broken and angry than I thought possible. Even if. I can still say God is good. Always. No matter what. His love is constant, and His grace is big. I don’t have to understand or even like what He is doing or allowing, to know that is true.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.
Daniel 3:16-18 NLT (emphasis mine)