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Update

I saw Mum at the hospital today. While I was there, the consultant reported the result of yesterday’s bronchoscopy. They found no evidence of secondary cancers, so the worst scenario appears to be crossed off the list.

Next up is surgery on Friday. They will remove the lesion from her lung. While she remains under general anaesthetic, the lab will perform a biopsy and report the result to the operating theatre. If it is cancerous, they will then remove that section of her lung and presumably prescribe some precautionary radiotherapy as follow-up. It would most likely be a stage 1 cancer, caught early.

There is a small possibility it might not even be cancerous – say, TB. If so, then appropriate treatment will be prescribed.

Thanks to everyone who is praying – if you can continue to pray, I’ll be grateful.

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Waiting

It was the eminent American theologian Tom Petty who once sang that ‘The waiting is the hardest part.’ We, like millions of other families, are currently waiting. We are waiting for next week, when Mum enters the Brompton Hospital for her investigations. Admission is Monday, procedure is Tuesday, we are told the results Wednesday, and if surgery is feasible, that happens Friday.

Meanwhile, even a short wait from Monday last week when the consultant broke the potential news, feels like it is dragging. If it feels like that to me, I don’t know what it is like for Mum or Dad.

And there are others who wait much longer. In Scipture, waiting is often for years, decades, even centuries – for the hope of the Messiah to ease the pain of God’s people (and even then he wasn’t in the form they expected).

Yet one thing I must recognise is that God uses waiting positively. ‘Waiting’ and ‘hoping’ are interchangeable English translations of Hebrew, if I recall correctly. (Compare different English versions of Isaiah 40:31). I believe God can use the waiting period to shape us. George Carey once said to me at Trinity College, Bristol that theological training wasn’t simply about information, it was about formation. And isn’t that true of the whole Christian life? God is forming us. One means he uses is waiting. As we pray, struggle, wrestle and argue, God forms us more into the image of Christ.

I pray that God is doing that for us as a family right now. If you are waiting, is he doing it for you?

When the singer Sam Phillips was operating on the Contemporary Christian Music scene under the name Leslie Phillips, she wrote a song that I imagine her paymasters didn’t like. It was called ‘Answers Don’t Come Easy’, and it returns to me at times like this. She sang:

I can wait
It’s enough to know you can hear me now
I can wait
It’s enough to feel you near me now
And when answers don’t come easy
I can wait

I think she was wise.