The summer break is over and school has begun. Fifteen months ago I entered a medical trial to continue the battle against my blood cancer, multiple myeloma. The cancer has left and has not returned, and we praise God. I continue to receive weekly infusions of blood cells, but I am thankful to be relatively drug-free. We appreciate your prayers and love.

God gave Susan and me incredible opportunities this past summer to visit family and friends in many places. We traveled to Tennessee a couple of times, to Colorado for Owen’s third birthday, and to Israel, Ecuador, and Spain. I’ll share stories over the course of the year, with all glory going to our Father in Heaven.

The challenge for the child of God is to be grateful in the good times and the bad. Dealing with cancer for nineteen years, I would say God has answered ‘no’ or ‘wait’ more than He has answered ‘yes’ to thousands of prayers. Though we may struggle with the ‘whys,’ we can always confidently sing: “You’re A Good, Good Father” which contains the line: “You are perfect in all of Your ways.”

Jesus teaches us to trust… with His words and with His life. “Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.” (Hebrew 5:8) I don’t fully comprehend this truth, but it is clear Jesus suffered many things before His cruel death on the Cross.

Like most, I would rather be ‘blessed’ constantly with good health, abundant finances, and ‘happy’ times, but it seems the path to maturity involves difficulty. A foreign-born evangelist I admire recently said, “Without suffering we cannot know the Lord… ” Many might disagree, but this brother has endured much and has recognized good fruit as a product. He would never wish his trials on others or advise a believer to create his own suffering, but he realizes that hardships during the life of faith result in blessing.

Jesus taught: “The poor in spirit are blessed… Those who mourn are blessed… Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed…” with a future promised but not defined. “For the kingdom of heaven is theirs… for they will be comforted… for they will be filled.” Jesus — chosen and blessed by His Father in Heaven — was called ‘Man of Sorrows’ as He walked the earth, yet now He reigns on high.

May we learn to ask, seek, and knock as our Lord instructs. And may we learn to trust with child-like faith as we give thanks for the “love the Father has given us, that we should be called God’s children. And we are!” (I John 3:1)

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has now sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
(all quotes of Scripture are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

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