Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Thanksgiving during last week

In the last one week, there was a dip in my energy level. I am exhausted more easily, and I am not sure whether it was because of my poor quality of sleep and my constant vomiting as I switched back to my oral chemotherapy (Afinitor) regime, and on top of that, I am taking morphine on daily basis as well as laxatives because the morphine causes constipation. I went for six radiotherapy treatment from 18 Jul to 25 Jul to kill the new tumours on my lumbar (which my oncologist and radiotherapist believe to be causing my back pain), and I vomited badly after the first session. Till now, I have yet to see the benefits of radiotherapy in lessening my lower back pain. Without the morphine, I simply don't know how I could manage the pain.

Despite of all the discomforts from my physical body, I experienced plenty of grace along the way. Last week Tue, I brought my father to watch a movie for the first time at Jurong Point. Then last week Thur, I resumed teaching at Jubilee Sch of Missions, and my students presented my with a bouquet of flowers and prayed for my recovery.  They said that my presence was a testimony of God's love for them. I was deeply touched. Amazingly, Ruiyan (a dear sister from my graduate fellowship) was able to offer me a ride to Jubilee Sch as well as to send to me back home. I was all the more grateful when I could also continue teaching at Peoples' Presby Ch on Sat morning, and Huiqiang (a dear brother from my graduate fellowship) sat in during the class. A cup of afternoon tea with him and another dear brother was a God-sent gift, though I found myself exhausted in the evening and the following day. Just yesterday, my church pastor and his wife followed up with my parents and this morning, I was reading the gospel of Mark together with my parents, and we watched a VCD (which I bought ten years ago for them) on the life of Jesus together. I experienced so much grace in the last one week, and I was overwhelmed with tears when I received news that a group of brothers and sisters has pledged to support me partially in my medical expenses on a monthly basis yesterday. So much grace and so many pleasant surprises in the last one week.

I believe I have experienced a spiritual breakthrough in the last few weeks. I am beginning to realize that my hope is not based on my physical recovery, but on the work done by Jesus Christ on the cross. Despite my physical conditions, I am ready to affirm with Paul in Rom 6:4-5 "Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." Our resurrection is a reality and is beckoning us towards it. I am more authentically ready to proclaim "God is great" despite my physical ailments, and I pray for the courage and faith to affirm it everyday.

If you could, please join me in prayers for:
1) My theological students at Jubilee Sch. Some are relatively young believers, and some have a heavier disposition towards the charismatic movement. I realized some of my arguments need to fall back on biblical exegesis. This means I have to read beyond my prepared course materials. I ask for the physical strength and for the grace to be able to ground them in sound exegesis rather than on tangible experience, and may God grant me the request to see them through the coming six weeks.

2) My parents' spiritual growth. I enjoyed reading the Bible with them and I appreciate my pastor's effort to follow up on them every week. I thank God for calling my parents into relationship with Him during my lifetime, and I pray that I may finish reading the gospel of Mark with them, and may they grow in faith.

3) I pray that I will experience less nausea, increased appetite, better quality of sleep and may my tumours react to this new chemo drug.

4) I am extremely delighted with all the grace (means unmerited favour) that has been showered upon me, a sinner and a cancer patient heavily dependent on others. I ask for the courage and grace to continue my journey, and may the same grace be extended to my family members, and to all of you who have been walking with me.

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