By Elisa Morgan
On Sunday afternoon, I needed to get out of the hotel room for a while. Many of you know that my husband, Evan, is battling bladder cancer. We had journeyed to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for diagnostic surgery in order to determine the best course of treatment for him. That was the Wednesday prior and by Sunday afternoon, Evan was discharged from hospital to hotel and on the mend from needing my every moment attention and I was antsy.
I took to the skybridges connecting the hotel to the hospital buildings, pounding out a bit of exercise. My thoughts whirled with all the information we’d received from the specialists as my heart hammered in anticipation of the decisions ahead of us. What version of treatment? What kind of surgery would be next? What manner of life change would be needed? What kind of life would we experience on the other side of this challenge? (Please Lord, life…!)
Looking over the vast campus, I spotted the chapel. After taking several escalators, winding down a few hallways and following directions offered by a gentle giant of a security guard, I ended up inside. The gorgeous interior reminded me a bit of my home church where I’d grown up – and first been commissioned into ministry - in Houston. A miniature, dollhouse-sized version.
I paused and pondered and prayed for wisdom as I also thanked God for his presence all around me.
As I exited, I noted a cone-shaped prayer card tree and stopped to read a few of the requests hanging from its packed layers. It was then that I noticed the display of Our Daily Bread devotional booklets. Opening the pages, I found my very own entry for September 26. Okay, a few weeks off, but nevertheless, there, in the booklet, in this chapel at MD Anderson in Houston: "Rest Well." That message, penned months earlier, reminded me that Jesus invites me into rest based on a relationship with him, not a regulation to follow. Oh, how I do need to rest in him!
Just hours before my walk, I’d typed out a Caring Bridge update to friends and family, requesting prayer for discernment and wisdom as we move through these challenging days. Since arriving in Houston, we’d discovered that Evan would not be a candidate for chemotherapy as he’d endured radiation for previous cancer years earlier. If this cancer had grown to Stage 3, we’d be in trouble. Well, we were already in trouble. We’d be in more trouble as our treatment options would narrow considerably.
I was reminded of Jeremiah 6:16, a verse I've focused on many times before. This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16
When faced with a crossroads decision, ask for crossroads wisdom.
Find rest for your souls.
Retracing my steps back down the hallways, up the escalators and through the skybridges, I noticed the many, many passage crossroads. A hamster would have a hey-day in the maze I followed with its never-ending choices of directions. But I’d been back and forth over these bridges for days and now I knew my way. And I knew my God knew the way beyond these bridges that would lead us forward into what we could not yet see.
Note on our next steps: Evan is scheduled for surgery on October 18. At that point the pathology report will guide additional steps. Our prayer is that this is Stage 2 bladder cancer, not Stage 3. Thanks for praying with us!
Elisa Morgan is the cohost of the new podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her latest book is When We Pray Like Jesus. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.