I'm letting Jenifer take the helm today and share an update on behalf of our family. The following is from her Facebook wall last night...
An Important Johnson (Extended Family) Update….
Exactly one day after returning home from speaking at an awesome ladies retreat in Lafayette, Louisiana, my phone rang. My parents called with news that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer. The pathologist in Houston had sent the biopsy to the Mayo Clinic because he couldn’t figure out what it was. Anyone who has had cancer or has walked intimately through it with a loved one knows that our week of waiting to hear back from Mayo was agonizing!!!
In preparation for the retreat, Christ had very intimately walked me through the reality that we are not in control of our lives. (I have always wanted to control every part of my life. He has made it clear to me that it all boils down to my struggle with fear.) During that week of waiting to hear from Mayo – and doing a lot of crying out to God - I feel like He said to me, “I know you thought that amazing retreat was for all those ladies you shared with. But I had you share on control and fear to prepare you for what was coming in your own life.”
I have officially entered a season where I am going to have to practice what I preach.
In the last several years, I have walked through a great deal of loss and suffering. While I used to shake my fist at God and question His will and His love, in recent years my perspective has significantly changed.
The words of Paul in Philippians 1:21 perfectly capture the reality of my dad’s situation. Paul’s profession of faith was this: “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” My dad (and the rest of us) can walk with confidence, praying that God will heal him and give him many more years to serve Jesus with passion. That’s exactly what we are hoping for. No man I have ever known is more fully committed to building God’s Kingdom here on earth than my father. For him to live another 25 years would truly be a victory.
However, Paul went on to say, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” He knew that to die was the ultimate victory…the ultimate healing. I have come to peace with this in recent years, knowing that my Christian friends who have died from cancer have not “lost their battle” with that horrible disease. No. They got healed and they are now in the presence of a loving God, basking in His glory and forever hearing Him declare how much He loves them. “To die is gain.”
This world is so temporary. It has nothing to offer us. Of course, we will make the most of the precious relationships we have here and savor every beautiful thing in God’s creation, but this earth is certainly not our home. So I will not fear. I know that at the end of each of my fears and my “what ifs…” I will find my Jesus waiting for me. And that gives me incredible hope and comfort.
So back to the update…
Dad’s cancer is a rare form of melanoma that grows inside the sinus cavity. He has a full schedule of tests this week at M.D. Anderson in Houston and we hope to get a treatment plan mapped out next week. We have been very impressed with the care there and we absolutely love his doctor. He is an Egyptian-born physician who is very gifted, but he also attends First Baptist Houston where my dad’s Oilfield Christian Fellowship ministry meets every month.
Please be in prayer for my dad and mom…and for me. While we are fully trusting in God, this journey will not be any fun. I plan to use Facebook to post occasional updates, because verbally sharing the details over and over again really wears me out emotionally. On a related note, our family certainly welcomes words of encouragement and hope, but I don’t think hearing everyone’s cancer story is very helpful right now. Thanks for understanding!
We can’t wait to see how God will be glorified in my dad’s life as we walk through this journey of faith. God is so very near to each of us!