Saturday, July 2, 2011


Trusting that I Will be Able to Survive His Plan

Just after I posted Rich Mullins' superb monologue about living "on the verge of falling", Petra over at Penned Pebbles comes on line to reflect on the "all things" we can do through Christ.
Our upside down thinking only proves painful. What is it that frightens or hurts us the most when we face a storm, fire, persecution, cancer, prodigals, the unknown, or even death itself? Is it not the grief of doubting because we want what we think best? Oh, that all of our confidence would rest securely in Christ—ALL of it! Yes, sorrow brings us this cure! though we’d rather not have it.
Aptly spoken, yet she drives us deeper--indeed, to the verge of falling--as she walks us over to CaringBridge, where a mother's anguished journal wakes us to the fear none of us wants to face:
I sat filling in the spaces of the application as the kids played nearby, waiting for someone to release us after the CT scan. We were the only ones in the waiting room so I immediately looked up as the door opened. And then I knew, something was terribly wrong. 4 people entered the empty space, someone gently touched my shoulder and asked if they could sit with the kids and if I could follow the others into a private room. I followed them, but don't remember how I made it there. "I'm so sorry" seemed to be the first words I heard. My mind was screaming sorry for what!! She has to be fine. No God! And then the rest of the words ran together. There was talk of a large tumor, a neurosurgeon waiting on the phone and being admitted to the ICU. Somehow Kate was now in the room. I looked at her through tear stained eyes. She was slumped over sobbing into her hands. She was old enough to sense something was wrong, undeniably. I held her and we wept. How do I tell her daddy? He was still living with the false comfort of ignorance. I was about to shatter that. I called him, he wept and said he would have someone drive him up right away. And so began Kate's battle with brain cancer.
So there it is. For most of us, there is almost nothing more terrifying than the thought of learning your child has a life-threatening, debilitating condition. I have often thought to myself that I have promised that I will endure anything for the sake of the gospel. But not that, Jesus ... please God not that. Because I know what that will take ...
So much has happened in the past 2 years. Far too much to summarize on this page. My mind continues to feel clouded by the stressors of the journey. My now poor memory another casualty. And yet, there are certain things I remember with distinct clarity. Too much clarity. The smell after Kate's brain surgery. The feeling of seeing for the first time the tumor on the CT scan. The suffocating feeling meeting the boy in the room next to us on the neuro floor. No signs of brain cancer for 5 years, and then he had a stroke. He was left unable to communicate, move, eat, nothing. He just watched tv. And cried. So did I. The distinct, piercing cry of a mother that arrived on the oncology floor too late. She couldn't get there fast enough to say good bye. Her screams tore at the veil of security I tried to wrap myself in. And the tearful mother who returned the gifts many of you had provided through Kate's Christmas drive. Her daughter didn't even get the chance to open them. She died on her birthday. And then the dream shattering day, we unexpectedly found 2 new tumors had made themselves a home on the other side of Kate's brain. I threatened to throw a chair through the oncology room wall, if no one had done it before me. And the email that said "palliative care" from a Dr we consulted with afterwards. The anger, the emotion, the fear and the deep, deep disappointment. These memories seem unshakable. Unthinkable, and yet all too real.
For this mother it is "all to real". For me it is merely "unthinkable". I believe that I can indeed do even this through Him who gives me strength. Yes, I will ... for His glory, and for the eternal joy of what He promised.

Yet the mere thought of it fills me with terror.  How could I possibly be strong enough for something like this?
Some days I could stop there, with the clear reality of how I feel, of what my emotions seem to be saying so loudly. And then unexpectedly, oftentimes quietly, I am reminded of our real home. Of our hope. It doesn't lie in statistics and prognoses. It doesn't even lie in health and healing. It's the hope that one day this will be the seemingly short life we lived here, as we live out eternity. As much as I love my Kate and would do nearly anything to see her healed, I know Jesus loves her more. Trust. I have struggled immensely with it since her diagnosis. Trusting the doctors know what is best for her. Trusting Jesus period. Trusting He has a plan for sweet Kate. Trusting that I will be able to survive His plan. Trusting that I will find joy amidst circumstance. And yet those very same things I struggle with are the very places I find solace. Knowing He has a plan, and knowing His deep love for Kate. It's painful none the less, but it holds hope. It holds promise. And so 2 years later when life still feels uncertain, unpredictable and painful, we look to the One who can heal, not only Kate's body, but our hearts as well.
Kate McRae
I talk, teach, and write about faith. This woman lives by it in a way I know so little about ... and to be brutally honest, I really don't want to.  Yet this is what it all means ... all the promises, all the challenges, all the hope of eternal glory and redemption.  Or, as Kate's mom put it:   As much as I love my Kate and would do nearly anything to see her healed, I know Jesus loves her more. 

What is left but to implore the Father?  I know this family is one of many who face similar challenges, and I know your eternal, glorious plan is greater than any design I have or can possibly imagine, but God please heal this little girl.  Thank you for the wisdom you have granted her mother thus far ... now please grant her comfort and strength to face each new day with renewed hope.  Amen and amen.


  1. Isn't it amazing, Jailer, how all our attempts to define faith by theological argument fade in the face of a story like this? After 35 years of ministry, I confess that the pain of such accounts has become more acute, not less. At times I distance myself because the struggle of others seems so burdensome. During these moments I am drawn to the simplicity of God's Word: "My grace is sufficient for you; My strength is matured in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12).

  2. I couldn't have put it better myself, Sam.

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for this awesome post! (And I mean this on so many levels.) Thank you so very much for praying for Kate and her family! I've been following her story for some time now. I, like you, am amazed at the strength in sweet little Kate and her mom. It is proof (for all of us) that Christ's promises are true! Blessings, dear friend and brother!

  4. Thank you for sharing this post. Kate's Mum is an inspiration - an open, honest, yet deep-rooted trust in our God and a submission to His perfect will. As she trusts, not in herself, but in God who raised Jesus from the dead, she is bringing glory to Him. I will keep Kate and her family in prayer. I'd love to be able to get updates.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story and how I can feel your pain as you wrote about precious words can really comfort that depth of pain that really is almost impossible to comprehend, but only the oil of God poured upon your heart as HE can only heal the broken heart and the wounded spirit. "Father, in the name of Jesus we place Kate in your loving arms and ask this day that you hold her and her Mom close to you. We ask your Holy Spirit bring comfort to her and her Mom and her family and that you would engulf them all in your love and presence. Blow your spirit upon them and do that which only you our Heavenly Father God can do in the loving way that you take care of your precious children. Thank you that you are Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We Praise your Holy name for Kate, her Mom and her family and thank you so much for touching as only you may touch and heal as only you may heal. We give you all the Glory and Honor and Praise. In Jesus Holy name we pray. Amen and Amen. My husband, Joseph and I, Emily will continue to pray for Kate and Mom and family. Please keep us updated and thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Amen. Thank you for sharing this, I will hold them in my prayers.


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