8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:8-11
This post won’t be a popular one, because it isn’t controversial, and it simply represents a reflection on my part about a real life scenario that I was faced with back in late 2009 through much of 2010; so goes the reality of online interaction and blogging.
‘His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways his ways, says the Lord.’ Indeed. As many of you know I was diagnosed with a rare and usually deadly cancer called Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (which is in the sarcoma family), or DSRCT. There is no actual protocol for it, in other words, there really is no treatment for it; they ended up borrowing the Ewings sarcoma protocol to treat me. But instead of getting into the nitty gritty details of how all of that played out for me (I have been cancer free for almost five years … a long story), I want to focus on God’s providential ways.
I met my wife, Angela, in Bible College in early 1999; we were married in late 1999 (in fact on December 18th, 1999), so fifteen years ago (of wedded bliss!) She is originally from Olympia, WA, and I am originally from Long Beach, CA. When we married we intended on heading back to Southern California once I graduated from undergrad in 2001. We in fact did head back to Southern California, but things didn’t work out; I couldn’t find adequate work to allow us to afford to live there, so we headed back to the Pacific Northwest (Portland, OR and eventually Vancouver, WA where we live now). I scurried around from low paying job to low paying job, and then to some higher paying jobs, and currently in a pretty good paying job (with sucky hours J ). But I am getting ahead of myself; as I was working for Toyota Logistics Services in Portland, OR (a good paying job with sweet medical benefits that essentially paid a hundred percent of all of our medical bills), in early 1999, it was then that I was diagnosed with my horrible diagnosis! We found out what kind of cancer it was, after a long ordeal (at first they misdiagnosed it as Lymphoma, which would have been better), and realized that we “coincidentally” lived right next to one of the only sarcoma centers in the whole country (United States) at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, OR. We got hooked up with a great team of doctors, and they went to work on me. Again, without all of the details, miraculously, I made it!
God’s Providential Ways and Contingency
What I was thinking about was how God worked way before any of this cancer stuff ever happened. He had me meet my beautiful wife, whose heart is bent on the Pacific Northwest, and who is very open to healthy living (as far as diet and alternative medicine); she is a Pac NW girl! He had it so that I couldn’t find the kind of work in Southern California that would keep us there, and which essentially forced us back to the Pacific Northwest. He put me into a position at Toyota where my medical benefits (union benefits) were outstanding! And he put us in an area where we were right next to one of the only medical institutions that specializes in the family of cancer that I ended up getting (a sarcoma center).
I was thinking about God’s providential ways, and contingency in this context. What if I hadn’t met my wife, Angela? What if I had graduated from Multnomah in 2001, a single guy, and headed back to Southern California and did seminary there? What if I was in Southern California, and wasn’t next to a medical facility and specialists like this? What if I wasn’t married to a woman who was prone to alternative medicine (which I have been participating in ever since I became cancer free in 2010)? I might be dead.