Monday, March 2, 2009

Two Years Later - God's Providence in Action

Two years ago at this time we were finding out for certain that our son had cancer. It was an extremely difficult time of uncertainty, doubt, and pain. As I look back, God providentially carried us through it all.

Let me back up a bit. Two years ago we (my wife, our three kids, and I) were serving the Lord in India. We had been in country for about four months, and were dealing with language learning and culture shock. Although it was certainly difficult living in a very different culture, we were hoping to reach a specific people group with the gospel.

That's when we noticed the strange bulge on the side of our son's neck. We were not initially concerned, but over the next few days Bobby's neck swelling grew larger fairly rapidly. The doctors in our city could not give a clear diagnosis, so we had to fly to New Delhi where we could get more accurate tests performed. After a few days there, we received the news we didn't want: Bobby had cancer.

The official diagnosis was Large Diffuse B-cell Lymphoma. That didn't mean much to me at the the time. I could understand that this cancer was in the family of Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas, but for the most part, I just knew my son had cancer.

After flying home to Savannah, GA, we had to quickly transition from culture shock in India to hospital life in the USA. We endured almost three months in and out of the hospital. Toward the end of May, we learned that Bobby was cancer-free. Praise the Lord!

We then began a rather strange odyssey of healing from cancer (emotionally), Bobby gaining physical strength, and us all wondering what the future held for us. We knew God was in control, but we didn't know what that meant.

Through all this time, God provided a free house for us to live in. God graciously used the generosity of Rothwell Baptist Church to provide us with a mission house to be our temporary retreat while all this was going on.

After seven months of this, Bobby was doing well. We believed by then that what God wanted us to do was to resign from the International Mission Board. With very mixed emotions, we resigned in January 2008. Now what were we to do?

In God's providence and sovereignty, He had it all worked out. In February 2008, I was told by a friend that a Southern Baptist church near Savannah was without a pastor. This was Chevis Oaks Baptist. I began preaching here on and off; this lasted for a few months. In June of 2008, the body at Chevis Oaks called me to be pastor.

Since that time, this church has welcomed our family in with open arms. We have been treated with an enormous amount of love and grace. What a great honor it is to be here.

Within the few months, God has seen fit to provide us with a house to call home. I realize this has little significance at a spiritual level. However, it is a great relief for us. We are thrilled to know where home (on earth) is. Our kids in particular are happy to be able to relax in a place that has some permanence to it.

We see now how God controlled all these events. He guided us through all that has happened. He cured Bobby's cancer. He led us home to the USA. He took us to Chevis Oaks. He has even given us a house.

We certainly serve the God of providence.

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