It’s after 11:00 pm and I just returned home from two days in Cincinnati. I’m feeling great because I just came from a celebration – Bill and I had dinner and a cup of coffee together. Just the two of us – kind of a quiet celebration as Bill shared his news with me.
As some of you know, I have travelled quite extensively during the past several years and I have found myself in Cincinnati quite often. Of all the places I like to stay, the Marriott Northeast in Mason, OH tops the list. The staff and management are absolutely great, and during the past two years, I have built relationships with several members of the Marriott team. In fact, one year, I ended up there on Dec. 24th, because I couldn’t get home in an ice storm. Those types of events help to build strong relationships.
On one visit, I learned that Bill had received a negative medical report, and was scheduled for surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his right ear. The surgery was more extensive than originally imagined, and he underwent visits to the oncologist which resulted in additional intensive treatments. And he shared with me this evening that he laid awake many nights wondering if he would be around to see his one year old child grow up – and did he have enough insurance, just in case…
If you have been following this blog for the last several days, you know that my life has been touched by people around me who have received a cancer diagnosis. In fact, another person contacted me today to share that sad news with me. And I don’t consider myself a pastor in this ministry field, but there is something so special and vulnerable about people who are searching for healing, and God has seemed to place me in their paths, several times. And I don’t know why.
I heard from Bill this past week-end. Oh sure, I had made reservations at his hotel, and left him a message, but he called back to let me know that he would like to see me before my return to Indy. And then, he told me the good news; His tests had come back clean and the final exam with his oncologist was today at 2:30 pm. Two years – cancer free!
So we talked a little about what might have been, but more importantly, we talked about the future and the transitions that are in store for him. A new assignment at a well known property in Ohio, the success of his wife’s business, and the joy of seeing his family grow.
So this journey of walking with Bill continues. At dinner, I remembered Peter’s requirement of us, in 1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” The word here to concentrate on is “sympathetic”, but not from the English – from the Greek. It really means “same suffering” and has to do with the fact that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all of the same body. And that means that when one of us hurts, all of us should share in the suffering, as if it was happening to us – and likewise, when one of us is rejoicing, then all of us should share in that as well – as if we were joyful for ourselves.
So my prayer this evening is that God may grant Bill a long, healthful, successful life, and that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we will take a moment to offer a praise to God for Bill’s recovery. And at the same time you are rejoicing, remember that I received news today that another part of our body is hurting – and she needs us to pray for her as well. Because when one of us hurts, we should all hurt. So, be sympathetic, and share in the burden of this unnamed person’s prayer request. Because even if you don’t know the details of her story, God does! May God’s Grace and Peace be yours today.