Cancer Journal (08.12.31): And Then There Were None

Today would have been chemo #13. Thankfully I needed only twelve.

Praise be to our God!

A little update on my progress. My doctor sent me to a radiation oncologist who advised me on the matter. While radiation is typically for patients who have had a large tumor or a single, super-enlarged lymph node, she recommended radiation in my situation because of the significant size of the numerous enlarged lymph nodes in my chest. She outlined the benefits, risks, and proposed schedule that I would face, and then left Kimberly and me to make the decision, assuring me that choosing not to have radiation would still be reasonable.

As with any treatment, there are unknowns. But going ahead with radiation changes the odds (humanly speaking) of a relapse from roughly one-in-three to one-in-ten. That was significant enough for Kimberly and me to go ahead with both doctors’ recommendation.

We’re convinced that the work of these two doctors is in direct answer to many prayers offered on my behalf, that God would grant wisdom to those providing medical care for me. I was reminded in Nehemiah 4 this morning that there is no conflict between human responsibility and divine sovereignty. Even as Nehemiah commanded the workers to rally to a place of battle, he affirmed that it would be God who fought for them. Even as the Jews worked to thwart their enemies’ assault, they ultimately recognized that it was God who frustrated their plan. Even as the laborers built the wall, Nehemiah acknowledged that it was God who prospered their work. So we look at the work of my doctors and nurses–their diligent, intentional labor on my behalf–and recognize that it has been God who has given wisdom and brought healing.

Praise be to our God!

One other item. At my last treatment, after everything was completed and I prepared to leave the office, I asked my nurse a question for which I’ve wanted an answer for a while: if my cancer hadn’t been found, how long would it have taken for it to take my life? She replied, “A year, at the most,” explaining further that Hodgkins, while curable, is a very fast-moving cancer. I asked, “Is that one year from my diagnosis at Stage IIB in late June?” She shook her head. “No,” she said. “It would have been a lot quicker.”

That is a sobering thought. With every day that passes, it becomes more of a reality that I am living on borrowed time. If I had lived fifty years ago, I might already be gone. If God hadn’t prospered the work of my medical team, my life may already be over.

But the reality is, I was already living on borrowed time. Born a sinner, I deserved not a single day, not a single breath. Every day has been an act of God’s free grace, twenty-four more hours that I did not and could not merit. But then Christ broke in to reveal his gospel, common grace became saving grace, and God has been at work to fill my borrowed time with praise to his glory.

So I rejoice tonight, not merely in the extended time that God has granted, but also in the work of the Spirit to recognize his mercy. To live more days without an awareness of his glory would be to add condemnation to condemnation. But to enjoy longer life in view of God’s mercy is in itself a gift of his mercy.

Praise be to God!

Because he promised, “The flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”

Because the T4G guys were willing to put the hymn-singing from this year’s conference on CD. Thank you! It has been food for my soul and the source of much tear-filled rejoicing.

Because of great friends whose humility, transparency, and desire for God inspire me to love Christ more.

Because of the two men who showed up Monday to clear the leaves and trim the bushes at my house. You were the hands and feet of my Savior to my family.

Because of time spent with my parents this past weekend. The older I get, the more I realize what a gift from God they are to me.

That God would use my cancer to glorify himself, both in the salvation of unbelievers and in the preparation of his people for whatever suffering he has ordained.

That God would grant me humility as he continues his great work of sanctification.

That God would bless my family with rest and joy in Christ.

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3 Responses to Cancer Journal (08.12.31): And Then There Were None

  1. Alfredo says:

    Matt, thanks for this news and for sharing it all through the perspective of the Gospel. The praises that you share motivate me to praise God as well for these things.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Matthew,I am so glad that God allowed the doctors to find and treat your cancer! And I am so thankful that He has seen fit to give you more time here with your family and friends! I have been deeply touched by some of your posts and I want to thank you for the testimony/sermon you shared a few weeks back on your journey with cancer! God used that to encourage my heart the night I heard it online.God is so good! And I thank Him for all He is revealing to you through this time of suffering. And I thank Him for you and Kimberly and your girls!We love you all very much,Heather Newcomer

  3. Holly Fimbel says:

    Mr. Hoskinson-My youth Pastor (Landon Clouse) told me about your site. When you came to our snow camp the year before last you were such a blessing to me. And by me reading this you continue to be a blessing. Your love for God inspires me so much! keep up the good work! 😀 I’m praying for you!

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