Grace Followed by Cheesecake

It was a bright sunny day in the middle of the dark year of 2020. I sat at the table cutting my cheesecake and eating with a glazed look from my deep thoughts. With each bite, my eyes would roll outside the window to view the blue sky. I’m not sure I have ever seen the sky so blue as that day. The weather was perfect after being so hot or rainy.

With me, was a beautiful lady, my wife, as my date and we both had been smiling a lot that hour as we ate our Italian dinner. Just about anyone could see we were happy. You see, our great God had allowed both of us to see behind the curtain of divine providence this week and we sat in an overflow of awe in the presence of the grace of God we had seen on display.

Quoting the Old Testament Hebrews 12:5-6 says

 “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

 
In today’s vernacular the word discipline would be better understood as training. The writer of Hebrews argues that we expect our earthy fathers to train us to be better and proper children. And our fathers did this because he loved us. Likewise, we should understand that our heavenly Father who loves us more than our earthly father, would also train us. With providential love and care, our God showed us His love in a grand way.

The week before this bright day, after having an echocardiogram, I found a message left from my daughter that Cindy had passed out at work and shown other signs of a heart attack. Cindy has had a few stents placed in her heart and had just told me a few days before that she was feeling pressure in her chest.

I immediately called my daughter who advised me to not come to Cindy’s office but rather to meet the ambulance transporting her at the hospital. Even though we were there just after the noon hour, we were not allowed to be with Cindy because of Covid-19 for the rest of the day. We waited in prayer, on the pavement, outside the ER for any word of her condition. Little information came to us, so we remained in prayer while assuring others, not in attendance of God’s faithfulness.

This was a time when our family got training in patience. All traditional communication avenues were closed and we were forced to trust only in God.  I believe God’s lesson for us:

“When others are not there, I will always be there. Talk to me. I am here and I will listen.”


And so we did. For the next two days, as we waited, doctors ran multiple tests and told us that she did not have a heart attack. Doctors changed medications that had caused her problems and released her as fine.

Now I sit with Cindy, and cheesecake in front of me. Two days had passed and that morning we had made our way to WVU Medical in Morgantown WV for my six-month check-up. Nearly 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a bone cancer) and had undergone a 3-month long stem cell transplant procedure. Cindy was with me every day.

I leave all check-ups very optimistic with God seeing fit to keep healing me with my transplant in place. But months removed from the doctor’s visit I always begin to wonder. A pain will pop-up and I will wonder if the cancer is back. I may experience a day of weakness and this too makes me wonder. In addition, since my last visit, I lost a sister to cancer that was diagnosed after I was. Last week I ran into a friend that had a transplant at the same time as mine and he was not doing very well. As a Christian, I try daily to trust God, but at times the events in the world remove me from the arena of trust into the world of wonder.

In this world of wonder, we were trained. That afternoon we once again realized that trusting in God is really our only hope. After a good report, I was told that my treatment was complete. This means I no longer need to go to WVU unless I have problems pop up. From what I understand being released from treatment at a cancer center does not happen often.

With all the activity I had forgotten about my echocardiogram. Just then I found out it too, was good.

This is why I was eating cheesecake. This is why Cindy and I were smiling so much. This may have even been why the skies seemed so blue. After all, what do you do when you are overwhelmed by the goodness of God?

I’ll tell you what I do. I pray, thank God, and have cheesecake!

Jim

The Gospel PostScript