I was really challenged the other day by a devotional that a friend sent my way. It was talking about the Israelites & their path to the promised land. In Exodus it says that God did not take them by the road toward the Philistines, although it was the shortest, God made them go around through the wilderness towards the Red Sea. In essence He took them the long way. Why would He do that? Why not just take them the quickest route to get to where they were going? He knew where they would end up why not just get them there already? I remember after Joel's surgery we thought we were home free. We thought the worst was behind us & it was time to move on with life. God had answered every prayer that we had asked of Him so we thought after the surgery our journey would be winding down. I remember praying for life to just return to normal & for us to not have to go through chemo. When we found out that Joel would have to not only go through chemo, but a year of it, we were both crushed. We had already been through so much & were ready for it to be over. We were praying for God to just get us to where we need to be & get us there quickly. None of us ever want to have to go through pain. Our bodies are built with mechanisms in it that tell us when we feel pain so we can shy away from it. Its normal when we feel pain to want to go the opposite direction from the source of that pain. Certainly Joel & I weren't asking for more pain in our lives & we didn't want to have to go through another year of it. That returns me to my original question of why would God take the Israelites the longer route to get to where they needed to be? Well without them going the way that they did He wouldn't have parted the Red Sea for them. He wouldn't have opened the heavens & poured out manna for them to eat. Miracle after miracle in their lives that showed them the greatness of who God truly was-nearer to them than they had ever felt Him before. I don't understand why our journey has been extended but I know that to shy away from pain & be angry about it is not the way that we are choosing to think. The way we view it is now God has even more of a chance to show Himself faithful to us & for His miracles to be displayed in our lives to an even greater extent. Our prayer was always that all would see how great our God is-through us-through this illness. Now we have an opportunity to see it on display even more so. The long way may not be the easiest way or the most comfortable way but I have a feeling we will look back one day & see it as the most rewarding way. Sometimes when God says no to one way or one request it is because He is saying yes to another. We can't see the fruition of that yet but I know one day we will. That is where trust comes in. And we trust our God & His purposes in our lives fully & completely. Now, on to what the near future holds for us. When we were in Houston I asked you all to be praying for wisdom for us on some decisions we needed to make. The reason for that is because our doctors were initially asking us to consider relocating to Houston for the entire year of Joel's chemo treatments. They can do his exact treatments here but it is just going to be a little bit more physically trying on us than it would be to do it there. But being in Houston would emotionally & financially be more trying on us. I immediately thought we should go to Houston-Joel immediately thought we should stay here (isn't marriage wonderful-ha ha) :). It was hard because there was no right answer & both answers came with its own set of complications. We prayed over it, we wept over it & we agonized over it more than I could ever put into words. After a lot of prayer we have decided to stay in Oklahoma to do Joel's treatments. The good things are that we will be in our own home, close to my family, our friends, our church, our entire system of support. The difficult part will be that every 2 weeks Joel will now have to be admitted to the hospital for a full week of inpatient chemotherapy. Every 6 weeks we will have to fly back to Houston for tests for spreading & check-ups with our MD Anderson doctors. We are basically fully MD Anderson patients but OU Medical Center will be administering the orders from MD Anderson. This will be our routine for a full year. Joel will remain on disability. I will continue to work as much as I can while also taking off whatever days Joel needs me to be there with him. We have committed to each other to try this for at least the first 6 weeks & try to make it work. If it is too much of a strain on us we will be relocating to Houston for the duration of his treatment. It will end up being 22 weeks of the next year he will be in the hospital & 9 return trips to Houston. It will most definitely be a long road. It is overwhelming to think of it in the context of a year so we just plan to take it day by day & rely on God for the strength that we need to get through it. We know He is faithful.
We can't thank you enough for your prayers during our trip & for all of your blog comments. We read each & every one & appreciate them so much. We even have people that we have never met before that have put us on the prayer lists at their church. How amazing is that? It continues to blow us away & we thank you very, very much.
Joel said thank you for the birthday wishes! He had a wonderful birthday.
Love ya! Sarah