God Is Rock-Firm and Faithful – an update on Lois

Do we place our expectations on God? Are we so arrogant to think we can advise Him – tell Him what He ought to do? Could it be that we have convinced ourselves that it’s “OK” to make plans and just assume that God will bless?

James has a harsh warning: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16 (NIV)

We continue to learn that God wants all our expectations, all our hopes, and all our plans. He expects us to trust Him for every minute of every day. Totally – nothing held back. We are learning to say, “OK, God, we know our very next breath is in your hands, now take that knowledge and make it a reality in the way we live.”

Wednesday we had a scheduled CT Scan, lab work, and a consultation with our oncologist. This is what we learned:

· Most of the tumors have grown. The largest two look the same size as June 24, but the small ones (there are scores) have grown – some by as much as a centimeter. (If there are 40 tumors and each one grew by half a centimeter you can imagine how much that increases the size of the liver)

· The CEA tumor marker is 29 – up from 18.6 two weeks ago and 13.4 on June 24.

· The intermittent fevers Lois has been spiking are tumor fevers. Nothing can be done except treating the temp with Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

· The cancer is no longer contained in the liver sac. There are tumors growing outside the liver.

The conclusion: The Chemo is no longer working and there will be no more.

You may recall that over six months ago there was an extensive study of cultures from the tumors they removed in the surgery in May of 2008. That lab work resulted in a list of Chemo drugs which would be most effective with the exact type of cancer in Lois. We have tried all the combinations. There is no other medical protocol to pursue.

Our Dr had a difficult time admitting we were done. In the past 14 months we’ve become friends and the difficulty did not come from pride or from missing out on some personal gain but because he realizes that now it’s only God who can make a difference.

We’ll begin working with a local Dr to manage symptoms and pain (when it comes) and continue to consult with Palliative care specialists. Since both Lois and I have taken the Hospice Volunteer training, we anticipate involving them when the time is right.

Over fourteen months ago, when Lois was diagnosed and had surgery, we began preparing for this. As we shared the news with Joy and Tony, Peter, and Kari and Jeremy, we all had an overwhelming sense of peace. We know that God is in control. We haven’t been fighting this cancer, just learning to live with whatever God allows in our lives.

We’ll take one day at a time. We’ll watch for the “signs” from Lois’ body about what the cancer is doing and let God be God. The prognosis from the medical community is 2-6 months. Only God knows the exact number of days. For right now, we won’t change any plans for retreats or conferences or working with pastors and churches. We will trust God! He is rock-firm and faithful!

When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy,

I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence, but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.
You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!

Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God
— oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do!

Ps 73:21-28 The Message

22 thoughts on “God Is Rock-Firm and Faithful – an update on Lois”

  1. Jim & Lois,
    I am sitting here with a heavy heavy heart for the news I just read. Heavy because I understand where you are, heavy because I love you and hurt for you and your family, Heavy because when God’s perfect time comes to take you home, I will miss you my friend.

    At the same time I sit here with a selfish heavy heart I rejoice with you knowing that your eternity will be spent with our precious Lord & Savior. As we went through this process with mom only 1 1/2 years ago I remember going back & forth between the grief and hurt and the joy & peace & strength that comes only from Christ.

    Our prayers are with your family and we send our love. Please let us know if you need anything.
    We love you,
    Nita & family

  2. The latest news brings me to tears; but your faith is such an inspiration to me……and I thank our Lord you are sharing this journey with us. I pray for you more of His gentle goodness, His abundant strength, and His blessed assurance. Love you….. Jane

  3. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me” Psalms 23

    May God give you the grace and strength you need as you lean hard into Him. We will continue to pray.

  4. Jim and Lois,

    Your outlook is awesome!…God can be trusted even when we don’t understand. We pray that you will be filled with peace and comfort in the days and weeks to come. You are a great tesitmony and witness of God’s love and grace. Out hearts go out to you!

    In His Grace and Loving Embrace,
    Terry and Marsha

  5. What you just shared reminded me of the time our daughter, Tammy, was in a hospital in Chicago and just coming out of a coma from an “overdose” of chemo. A young couple came to visit her hoping to bring blessing and encouragement to her. However, the opposite happened. Instead it was he who came away with a blessing he said because of Tammy’s life, words, and outlook. This is how I feel as I read what you wrote today. Although my heart does feels full of pain and sadness for Lois, you, and the family, I also find that my heart contains fullness of joy because of who God is and how we can rejoice in Him and trust Him no matter what. I am blessed by your lives. Thank you. Praise God for your insights and trust!

  6. These are not the words we wanted to hear. But in your faith God will keep you strong and courageous, as you have been all along. We just have had some guinea chicks hatch out. I love the way the mother hen covers the chicks with her wings. That’s one of my favorite images of God. He shelters us through the storms of life. Our prayers will continue to be with you.

  7. your friends at the bethel c.u. church in mo. continues to remember you both in prayer every day. It is still in God’s hands and always had been. continue the walk of faith you are not alone and never have been. God bless you. love in Christ, Gregory Carroll and the Bethel church

  8. We are so humbled by your faith in God! You give others peace as well with your testimony. God is good. We will keep you in our prayers during this time! Love, Julie, Zach, and Mallory Wigle

  9. ….ok…..wow, that is a lot to hear and digest! The Lord is with you, as you already know. Your battle has put mine into its proper perspective, thanks….

  10. As I remember just three weeks ago when I absolutely could not believe that you could come out to our son’s visitation, knowing that you were so ill yourself…Lois, you are a wonderful lady admired by all whose lives you have touched. Your faith is so strong, and God is the Great Physician. We still pray and believe for your complete healing. In HIS FIRM GRIP, Willa & Ron

  11. We are so saddened by this news. We had hoped, as we are sure you did, that the result would be different. But, as you say, God is in control. We don’t always understand why things happen like they do, but God does. He never says, “Wow! Wasn’t expecting that!” You are in our prayers, Lois. Jim, you and the family are also in our prayers, as this will require great strength on your part as well. We will not give up on God! A miracle could still be on the way! That is what we will pray for most! Love, Tom and Laura

  12. Not only do you have a loving God, you have the most loving friends. I am blessed by reading how everyone who knows you (including me) responds to the testimony of your faith. God has blessed you so abundantly and we are grateful recipients of the overflow. As the ‘family’ continues on here my prayers will center on their expanding faith. Love you all

  13. It is unfair, except for the fact HE is our FATHER!
    This verse may not make sense in light of the news I just received but i like it and I am sure HE will make sense of it for me!
    “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NLT
    With love and your friend in Christ,
    Pastor Phil

  14. This news brings tears to my eyes. I have set beside so many of my family and never know what to say or do. You have put up such a good fight
    I am the last of 32 first cousins. And now to see so many of the next generations fighting the good fight. We will keep praying.
    I am so thankful that we got to spend some time with you 7 years ago, and was able to meet so many more of the family that I didn’t know I even had when we were doing the book.
    Thank you Jim for keeping us so well informed. Please stay in touch.
    With lots of Love and Many prayers.
    Jack Wilson

  15. So sorry to hear the news. It has been an honor and a blessing to know the both of you for all these months. I always learn so much from those I serve and Lois has been a great teacher! You and Lois will be in my prayers. Big hugs to both of you.

    Beth

    I have been gone all week as my Dad was just diagnosed with cancer on Monday.

  16. Your courage and strength is overwhelming to us. Even through this difficult time you continue to bless us. You are an encouraging example of His faithfullness. I know through my mothers experience in the nursing home there is worse things than death. We miss her but rejoice that she is with the Lord. Thank heaven we have thr promise of eternal life. The peace of God will sustain us. Our continued prayers are with you and your family. Please stay in touch.

    Love,
    Steve and Lori E.

  17. Sorry to hear the news. We will remember you in our prayers. We have been here with several of our close family members. God is our friend. Let us know if we can help someway. Love the Carneys

  18. Lois, My life would have lacked much color and beauty if God had not blessed me with you!! When the tears come they are out of selfishness, out of pain for your family!! However, I believe in a God of miracles, my HOPE remains in HIM and HIM alone….it is all in God’s hands, IT always has been. I trust HIM to take care of you, sound familiar Lois, well honey it’s on the other foot now:)!! I do trust HIM to take care of you!! Loving you brings me such joy, always will!! Praying for you is a privilage. I will continue holding you and yours close in prayer and thought!! I will call again soon to set up a time to run over…breathe in HIS peace and love Lois you are HIS child!! Such an inspiration you and Jim are, I thank God for the two of you!

    Jean

  19. Dear Jim and Lois, How our hearts ache for you during this time. We understand that you are and have been trusting God to perform His will, which He will do, but it is still a difficult time. We are praying for you as we have been this past year. We love you both and trust God to continue to give you comfort and peace during the coming days. We would have written sooner but when we returned from Ohio Council we had only a few days before spending time with Pauline’s sister who had knee replacement. Just got home tonight and read the report on Lois. We will continue to pray for you both and the family and look for news on how the Lord is blessing you.

    Ron & Pauline

  20. I’m so sorry to hear your news, Lois, I think of you as such a Godly woman and how you have influenced so many lives with this testimony. You have showed us grace, love, and kindness and have given us many hugs. We are praying for you and your family, we love you guys. I will pray that God continues to give you that peace that passes all understanding.

    Leland and Carrie

  21. Dear Jim and Lois, I received this email when I got back to school and was heartbroken. You both have been such an inspiration through this whole thing. Lois, I enjoyed our visit at camp and have been meaning to call and find out how Tri State went. I thought about camp. Steve and I send our prayers to you and family for comfort, strength and peace. We love you all so very much. God’s blessings!

    Steve and Elaine

  22. Hi Lois & Jim,
    During my cancer Julie & I rested on Isaiah 26:3 (Message) “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. 4 Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.”

    We pray a perfect peace on you. A peace that passeth all understanding. I can tell you are already there and resting in the Lord. To God be the glory! Randall & Julie Lipson

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