Health update: I’m in my 2nd week after my first chemo treatment, which I will receive every 4 weeks until we see some results in eliminating my pesky brain tumor.   The general cycle goes like this: receive infusion (by being hooked up to an IV line for about 2 hrs); then about 30 hrs of good health, followed by 2-3 days of nausea and sickness; the rest of that week is pretty hit or miss (though I’ve got some amazing meds to help me through that); then a week of low immunity; then about 2 weeks of pretty good health again, then repeat the whole thing until tumor disappears (or is significantly shrunk).  At this point, I’m just trying to take care of myself as best I can, stay grounded in prayer and God’s Word, and continue to be grateful for the prayers & support of so many…

I wanted to share a little story with you; now, some of you will find nothing unusual about this story, while others will find it altogether hokey.  But bear with me, please…

It all started while I was chatting online with my roommate’s girlfriend, N.(perhaps my favorite opening line of a story ever!).  Now, keep in mind, N. had only initiated this conversation to share the following story.  N. is Canadian, and has spent extensive time in France, serving with local churches and pastors; it should be said that global Christianity operates much different than the North American version (the concept of direct Spiritual intervention in our lives is much more prevalent in cultures who haven’t busied themselves with the day-to-day preoccupations so many of us bounce between).  N. was privileged to have one of these pastors and his family come stay with her in Canada for the past 3 wks.

So, N. had told these French friends about my predicament, and they were all taking some time to pray together for me.  In the midst of this, the pastor P., having never met me or seen a picture of me, asks, “Is Phil bald?”  N., quite unsure of where this was going, said, “…yes…why?” 

P. then went on to share how he’d had a vision given to him of a bald man who was sick with something.  God told this man that he needed to shampoo his head 7 times in a row, and he That he would be healed.  This parallels an Old Testament story about a military commander named Naaman who had leprosy.  The prophet Elisha told him to go dip himself in the Jordan River 7 times, and he would be healed. Which he did, and he was…


Of course, as a non-charasmatic mainstream Evangelical Christian in America (read: very little “funny business” mixed in with our worship practices; pretty cut & dried stuff), I often react cynically to discussion of modern-day miracles.  When a trusted friend describes witnessing them on the missions field, it’s easy to write it off to the fact that those environments were super-spiritual, and that God works differently there.  But, really, isn’t it the same God?

I’ll be as transparent as I can about this one: I often say I believe God still performs miracles today, but actually believing it is something different altogether.  I mean, sure it’d be great if this tumor just up & disappeared, as literally hundreds of people (many of whom I’ve never met) have been praying to have happen.  But my rational mind just won’t give God an opportunity to plant the notion that maybe, just maybe I’m limiting what He could be doing in me just by my not believing He’s interested in such grandiose acts anymore.  Needless to say, I really don’t get how miracles work, but I believe they do happen.


Ah, yes, back to the story.  Well, after a roundabout conversation with N., wrapping up around midnight, she reminded me that I needed to at least entertain the notion that God was going to do a miracle within the confines of my shower, and through the vehicle of my Trader Joe’s all-natural, citrus-scented shampoo.  So, I decided I needed to take a shower at midnight, and just give God a chance to do something mindblowing. 

*Now, at this point of the story, I should note that a string of life circumstances had really deflated me over the previous week or two.  So much so, that I was convinced God was telling me He’s planning on me closing up shop here within the coming year, and that doing so would bring about the best ending to this receent story of mine.  Miracles were little more that a pipe dream; not something I was expecting, but something I liked to entertain, if for no other reason than to help others cope with my circumstances.

So, there I was, lathering away, counting out loud with each successive, “lather, rinse, and repeat.”  And, when my head was sparkling clean after #7, did I feel an amazing tingling in my head?  Did God strike me blind and speak to me in an audible voice, as with Saul of Tarsus?  Did I FEEL a miracle happen?  Well, no.  But what I did feel was hope. 

Hope that God just might have a different ending in mind for this story. 

That, rather than a show of struggle and mourning,  He might just be saving up for a much bigger display of His power, one which would force people to flat-out accept it or deny it. 

That maybe, just maybe, He still had a miracle up His sleeves yet (beit the miracle of modern medicine, or the blow-you-out-of-the-water kind).

A friend put it this way: “So, maybe the healing that happened…was that God healed your soul.”  And, you know what?  That might just be enough to carry me for awhile.  Though I’m coming to terms with the reality of my condition, and what the numbers tell me of my prospects,  I’m not going to rule out what my God (coupled with a whole ton of prayer) is capable of, if He wishes to steer things down that path…

Thanks again for walking this journey with me.  May you be all the stronger and more filled with God’s joy and peace for having done so.