Sometimes it is followed up with a statement: "He is OK, isn't he?"
A few also tell me that they are praying for him.
How do you respond to the question on hand. The easy way out is to mumble a "yes", put on a smile, and move on. Allow the questioner the comfort of knowing that all is well.
Reality is harder. Even asking Dad the question is hard. What is he supposed to say? To give a minute detailed description of the various pains he is going through? To share what it is like to have difficulty digesting food and have a family looking at you at every meal, hoping that you will eat more? To tell about his times alone with God - talking to Him and praying in the night hours?
I have at times told people that 'everything is not OK' - but that God is with us despite it all.
That Dad continues to be positive. And that we are working on helping to alleviate the pain - but that we are walking in new territory here.
Most of us want things tied down in neat bundles. In crisp categories. You are either well or you are sick. But can you be both?
Dad is walking down that path now. He spends much of his day in naps. But also is up and about for meals. He reads God's word and prays. Most days he takes a small walk if the weather is dry outside. He takes his medicines regularly. He tries to eat well. Mum has been making special meals for him - and the portions are small, but we are happy for every meal Dad has. He and Mum look out their bedroom window at scenes like this:
|photo courtesy Christa Eicher - as are all the photos in this post other than the first - taken by Bhagat Pun|
So how is my father doing? Well, the outer man is wasting away, but the inner man is being renewed every day. Each and every sunrise that Dad experiences is a miracle. We are grateful for every opportunity we have to be with him. The knowledge that the shadow of death is nearer instead of some far-off-distant-future-never-never-event is blessedly helpful in many ways. It brings an added joy to every conversation, an added tweak to every good-bye.
But most of all, Dad has been ready to meet his Lord Jesus for years. If there is someone ready to meet his Maker, it is my dear father.
We know, and absolutely believe, that our Lord Jesus can remove every single cancer cell from Dad's body and give him another 15 years of life. Why stop there - God has the power to give 100 more years, make that 200 hundred. And this loving Lord of ours does not in anyway look down on us if we ask Him for more life for Dad. But, we also know that an awful lot of people have already prayed and continue to be praying for Dad daily - and the cancer continues to work its way through Dad's system. Will we only receive blessings from the Lord and naught else? Can there be goodness while walking into shadows too? We know that God is sovereign - and He is good. And so we gratefully receive whatever He has for Dad. Getting another 2 days is a miracle. So is 2 weeks or 2 months or 2 years... or 20. We don't have the power to even grow a single extra hair on our heads (I should know!).