What’s Next, Lord?

I’m beginning to realize that there are many stages to fighting cancer. Let’s call the first one, The Crying Stage for obvious reasons. We began this journey with a lot of tears and a lot of friends crying with us by our side. It’s a painful stage, but when done right…it ends up being a beautiful picture of how God comforts you during despair. The second stage is the Information Stage. This begins when you choose to trust God and join the fight in front of you by getting all the information you can. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples, telling them the importance of gathering enough information before taking action.

 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” — Luke 14:31-33

I have learned more about tumors in the last three months than I ever expected to…and Megan deserves an honorary nursing degree! But through everything we have learned, God uses this information to help us accurately count the cost of fighting cancer. We now know how strong it is. We know the toll it takes on the body. We know how long it normally takes people to beat this tumor. But we have also discovered how strong God made Bennett to be. And we also know that God and His army is stronger than any disease on this earth! We have counted the cost…and I like our odds!

So now we move on to the next stage. I’m calling this one the Rhythm Stage. Just like Daylight Savings is jarring to your family schedule, we are finally beginning to learn a new rhythm as a family. We are back under one roof (most of the time) and are teaching Davis and Reide what it is like to live, fighting cancer together as a family team. It means Davis holds Bennett’s hand whenever we are in the car because it makes him happy. It means learning to like healthier food because Bennett needs the best nutrition possible. It means being flexible because you never know when you’ll have to take a trip to the hospital. It’s a new rhythm to life…and it’s hard.

So we are hunkered down… beginning this new stage…and asking the question, “What’s next, Lord?” This is also the exact same question I asked our doctor at our last appointment. Both of them have the same answer…

“I can’t tell you.”

Our doctor can’t tell us because Bennett’s case is so unique and rare that she has literally thrown away all the standard treatment protocols and is taking this day by day. For example…normally, Bennett would get a booster dose of chemo today. When we asked on Thursday if that would happen, our doctor said, “I don’t know…I’m curious to find out too!” You see, Bennett’s liver…the tumor…and his whole body didn’t respond to treatment the way we expected from the beginning. So we have to literally take this a day at a time. Each day they look and see where his counts are, whether or not the tumor changed again, how much he weighs…and a number of other things… and then decide what to do next. At all times our doctor has a dozen or more next steps planned and waits to see where Bennett’s body tells her to go.

I love this! Why? Because it’s a perfect illustration and reminder to me of what it looks like to live by faith and keep in step with God. Paul tells us this in his letter to the Galatians.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” — Galatians 5:25

Becoming a follower of Christ is so similar to what my family has been living out since Christmas. First, you enter The Crying Stage. You finally discover how painful life can be…how hard it is to live up to the demands of this world…and it leads you to tears. Then you enter the Information Stage where you begin to count the cost to determine if you have what it takes to win at life. At some point you discover that you don’t but you also gain the understanding of the offer Christ makes to us all of us on the cross. His offer is beautiful. “Place your trust in me…and I’ll take your weakness, flaws and sin…and I’ll give you my strength, perfection and righteousness. Together we will make it through this life.”

And when you accept Jesus’ offer, you step into the Rhythm Stage. You begin to discover a new set a values that force you to create a new rhythm to your life. It’s painful and hard at first and that’s why you take it one day at a time. Just like my doctor is taking it one day at a time and keeping in step with Bennett’s body…and just like my family is taking it one day at a time and keeping in step with each other…followers of Jesus take it one step at a time and keep in step with The Spirit.

This is what it means to live and walk by faith. It’s saying, “Yes, Lord!” even when He only shows you the very next step. It’s uncomfortable at times to not have your life all planned out…but it’s also the most exciting way to live. Instead of placing my trust in a great plan of my own making, I’m trusting God has the best plan and I’m joyfully walking in step with Him…instead of walking ahead of Him like an untrained dog who resents his leash.

So today, I’m thankful for God’s protective hand that is teaching my family to walk in a new rhythm. I’m thankful for the unending way He is providing for us and blessing us. I’m thankful for the signs of healing that we are seeing…the tumor is shrinking, Bennett is beginning to eat more and he is bouncing back from this round of chemo very quickly. I’m thankful my family is under one roof for the first time since Christmas…eating breakfast in the mornings at the same table and praying together at bedtime. I’m thankful.

Now what’s next? We keep in step with Jesus and we pray for Bennett’s healing. We are now entering the stage where fatigue can happen at any moment. This is a long road and there aren’t any major road marks ahead to look forward to. The experimental trial drug may or may not be used…it probably will…but we don’t know when. More radiation may or may not happen. Feeding tubes may change…they may not. We just don’t know.

So we focus on what we do know. We know that God is good. He is leading the way and healing Bennett. And we continue to thank Him along the way!

For the most recent prayer updates on Bennett, you can see them on our Facebook Group, #Pray4BabyBennett.

8 Comments

  1. Beautifully clearly told the story of Redemption! Love the- Christ-centeredness of the post! We continually pray for precious Bennett & your whole family! May The Lord strengthen you for each new day!

  2. Just reading this — gives AMAZING POWER, FAITH, HOPE to those who might be fighting their OWN battles right now. This was so BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN and you are right, points out how scary it is sometimes when you have to walk that “unknown walk” – not knowing in any way what the next step may be, but when the Lord is waking WITH YOU, and once you have chosen to COMPLETELY put your TRUST, your HEART AND SOUL TRUST, IN HIM — He will bring you through this walk and it’s a walk of a new and different day, EACH DAY and in REALITY — FOR those of us who have WALKED some of these “Special Walks” with The Lord — the MOST WONDERFUL, MOST BEAUTIFUL THING is that it brings you SO CLOSE TO GOD, so close that you can feel Him breathing right next to you!! And while sometimes, when we’ve had to look back on some of those walks that we thought or felt at the time were in the realm of the “unknown” which can get uncomfortable for many people for many reasons, we remember feeling that discomfort AT THE TIME WE DID IT, but when the time comes that we CAN LOOK BACK — it’s a SURREAL EXPERIENCE because it was a very special time, a special trust and bond we created with the Lord.

    I loved reading this and sat here nodding my head in agreement with the scripture cited within — and I have to say that I don’t know any way this could have been written, felt, said ANY BETTER and I can for SURE SAY that if there were a Family that could stand strong in a whirlwind with the Lord beside you and have no fear — that is TRULY A GREAT, PRECIOUS GIFT.

    That being said, we are praying ALWAYS for your family and Bennett. I pray that the Lord lifts and holds you all up for each new “step” that you must face. And I pray that as He is right now, that He STAY CLOSE AND FIRM to ALL OF YOU, comforting you all in everything that lies ahead.

    God BLESS you all ….
    Katie

  3. Excited to share with you that this Friday, March 14 the boys daycare will be doing a StJude’s Trike-a-thon. Jeremy is excited to be old enough to ride his trike and collect donations to help Baby Bennett. Continually praying for you and your doctors. The Hills

  4. Praying for Bennettt and family each day. Thank you for sharing this with us, it has uplifted me
    and helps me to continue trusting God for even the little things in life. May He continue to heal
    and bless you All. Praying God will continue to direct the doctors to the treatment He has for Bennett.

  5. I wanted to share a story with you from church yesterday. Our sermon was on Jesus healing the blind man and how as Christians we have faith that God can save us from our sins but when it comes to physcially healing we have doubts. The entire sermon I was thinking of your family and the amazing faith that you have in God’s healing of Bennett. At the end of the sermon we sang “Healer” by Hillsong:

    You hold my every moment
    You calm my raging seas
    You walk with me through fire
    And heal all my disease

    I trust in You
    I trust in You

    I believe Youre my healer
    I believe You are all I need
    I believe Lord

    I believe Youre my portion
    I believe Youre more than enough for me
    Jesus You’re all I need

    While singing this, in my mind I was singing Bennett’s name instead of “me or I”. Half way through the song, I saw Jesus sitting next to Bennett on his hospital bed stroking his hair. God was showing me that Jesus is with your baby during all of his treatments. This was absolutely amazing to me that I just had to share it with you.

  6. Hi Ben and Megan. Just to let you know my family and I pray for you guys each night. There is a quote on a plaque in my office that signifies the meaning of today’s blog. “Just enough light for the step I’m on”. I am not sure who coined that phrase – I have seen Martin Luther King, Jr.’s name posted after it but I cannot substantiate that is who did.

    Dear God, remember your servants, Ben and Megan tonight. Dear Lord guide their steps as they climb that staricase with just enough light to get them through today. Let their slumber tonight be sweet and restful. May they awaken tomorrow refreshed and renewed to face the day. Dear God, our Healer, put your healing hand upon the areas of affliction in baby Bennett’s body Dear Lord. Bring healing and restoration of health to baby Bennett, In Jesus’s awesome name I pray!

    Amen!

  7. Ben, Thanks for sharing your heart and faith. You are a few months ahead of us on the road. Our journey began a week ago with our six year old daughter being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She is right now fighting to gain back all that she lost during the operation to remove the tumor. Then we are looking at radiation and chemo. My pastor sent me the link to this article today and you ministered to me right where I am right now. Even as I am moving past the grieving stage, God is ministering to me through his word. Today I was reading the story of the prodigal son. What struck me is what the Father said to the older son. “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” I felt like God was saying that to me. Through the tears I asked, “God if everything you have is mine, then why don’t I have a healing for our little girl?” Immediately he reminded me of Jesus. He said “your older brother Jesus had everything but He surrendered all his rights and entrusted himself to me.” (Philippians 2:8) The path to peace through brokeness is not holding on tighter, it is through surrender and trust. The future looks overwhelming to me and my wife right now, but one day at a time with my savior… that is perfectly doable. I heard someone say one time that our Heavenly Father is the great I AM not the I WAS or I WILL BE. That means that the only time we can engage him is right now, today. He is in our past but we are not there anymore. He is in our future but we are not there yet. The only way to walk with Him is moment by moment, hand in hand surrendering to His will and choosing to be an excited partner in His story instead of demanding Him to assist us in our story. You said it best when you said “I’m trusting God has the best plan and I’m joyfully walking in step with Him…instead of walking ahead of Him like an untrained dog who resents his leash.” I am choosing to join you in your trust of our loving Father. I am really saddened for little Bennett and the suffering he is going through. I am saying a prayer right now for him. I will continue to pray whenever the Spirit brings you guys to mind as we are a few steps behind you on this road. Thanks for being transparent on your blog and taking the time to encourage others. Blessings to you and your family. Come Lord Jesus!

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