My wife has this incredible eight-inch scar on the right side of her abdomen that we affectionately refer to as “the reminder of God’s love and faithfulness”. In early 2008 Kelly went into a local urgent care facility while experiencing severe cramping and bleeding. After a brief examination by the urgent care staff, they immediately transported her to the hospital Emergency Room for tests where she spent the week recovering from a severe intestinal infection.
The severity of the infection was dangerous enough. However, the scans and tests conducted by the ER staff revealed that Kelly had a large tumor within her adrenal gland. Oddly enough, the tumor had nothing to do with the intestinal infection. Unfortunately, Kelly was too weak from her intestinal infection for immediate surgery. So she was sent home to recover and gain strength for a pending surgery to remove the tumor.
Upon biopsy they found that Kelly had a malignant pheochromocytoma, one of the more dangerous and rare tumors know to medical science. Needless to say, the weeks between the tumor’s discovery and its eventual removal were filled with many earnest prayers and petitions for Kelly’s healing and for God’s comfort during this frightening time of uncertainty.
Yet, in my spirit I felt a peace about Kelly’s situation and the eventual outcome and the Lord comforted me with the familiar passage of Psalm 23: (1) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (3) He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Lord was also speaking to and comforting Kelly through Psalm 84:5-7:
(5) Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. (6) As they go through the Valley of Baca (weeping) they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. (7) They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
The surgeons had to overcome a near fatal release of toxins by the tumor during its removal. Though extremely frightening, Kelly’s surgery was a success and she has fully recovered. Her scar now serves to remind us of God’s incredible love and faithfulness. If Kelly had not developed the intestinal infection, she would not have been admitted into the hospital and we would never have had the scans done that revealed the silent killer lurking in her adrenal gland. In fact the malignant cells were still encapsulated but had just begun to breach the adrenal cortex. Had it not been removed, within a year or so those cells would have spread throughout her body and caused cancer. God’s timing and faithfulness in the valley of death was unmistakable and we continue to feel blessed at how He is seeing us through each day in this life.
The genesis of the song My Rock (O Sovereign Lord) was birthed out the season described above as well from the many other (though perhaps less dramatic and certainly less life threatening) trials and adventures that we have faced since that time. Through it all what remains true and lasting is that Kelly and I look to God our Savior and sing:
You are my Rock
You are my Refuge
A Mighty Fortress strong and sure
You are my hope
My one Redeemer
O Sovereign Lord
O Sovereign Lord