Wednesday, 29 June 2016

so how is your father doing?

I just got back from another short Mussoorie stint.  Almost everywhere I go, I get asked the question.  "How is your father doing?"

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

Alternately, Dad gets to see God's glory in small spaces courtesy the flowers that Mum lovingly curates in the garden or up on the small 'green house' on the terrace of Shanti Kunj.

We are currently still working on what levels of pain medication Dad should be on.  We have for the last 2 weeks started him on low-dose morphine, and have increased it a bit this week.  Getting delayed release morphine-sulphate has not been easy, but we are working on it.  In the mean-time, Dad keeps a close account of when he gets up at night, when he takes extra pain-killers, what he has eaten.  All of this helps in making these days as blessed as possible for Mum and Dad.

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!).

So how is Dad doing?  I would say, that given all that Dad is experiencing these days, that he is faithfully walking his path with the joy of the Lord.  With a peace that passes all understanding.  With a faith that continues to glow, especially in the darker valleys that he and Mum are exploring these days.


  1. Praying for the whole family as you go through these days. I am reminded of my grandmother's last days. I cherish the memories I have of being able to give her care. Yes, God is with us through the ups and downs. He is good all the time and his purpose defeats our circumstances.

  2. Thanks, Andi. Thinking so much of Asha, too, and her empty chair at your table. Truly, it is a time of transition for all of you! May He be close to all of you in these days and get Stefan there safely and soon!

  3. We think of you often & are thankful that in all the uncertainty, Christ is the one sure thing. Your Dad is safe with Him. Love from the satows

  4. Reality check bhai.. Blessings & Shalom

  5. Delighted at some actual facts......... We love you all & stand with you through this time........ remembering each one of you in prayers.........God Bless You & Lots Of Love............

  6. How I wish our dear Lord completely heal y(our) dad. He is very blessed man of God - down to earth. He is our role model in missions. Praying for a miracle. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? I fondly remember Ray singing this song with his own actions at Logos Bhavan in early 1990s much before the construction of different blocks. He taught us to confess our weaknesses and sins and led us in the path of FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS. Lord, please grant him your favor

  7. Sending much love and many prayers for Ray, Christa, and your whole family. Each morning I see a small wooden plaque above my kitchen sink that says "Peace"; your parents gave it to me when they visited me several years ago. Peace. Shanti Kunj. It reminds me each morning to pray for you all for peace that passes all understanding. With much love and gratitude.

  8. Thanks Andi for sharing this news with all of us. We deeply love and appreciate Ray, Christa and your whole family and realize that these are challenging days ahead for all. Our prayers are that the Lord will use this time to bring you even closer to Him and each other as you give testimony of His grace to so many of us.