When I see Andrew in so much pain, it makes me so grateful that the Lord has mercifully saved us. What hope we have! Even if the rest of our lives we're suffering, there is no more death, no more tears, no more sickness in heaven. Just rejoicing!
At the same time, I feel grateful, because it reminds me of what the Lord has saved us from. How much worse the suffering in hell will be! And yet, there is no medicine for the pain, no TV to distract, no naps as an escape.
In just a split-second there, the misery will be infinitely worse than a life-time of suffering on this earth.
Thank the Lord that we don't have to go there! I'm so grateful Christ has provided peace with God through His death on the cross.
I'm so thankful that I don't have to make excuses for my sin to alleviate the guilt. I can flee to the gospel! My sin is so ugly, and yet Christ says: "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ." Thank You, Lord, thank you.
How desperately we believers need the gospel every day as every day we fail to meet His perfect standard. There is no one like the Lord, who continually accepts us, because of Jesus.
A.J.'s Dealings with Papa's Cancer
A.J. has had a hard time with this whole period of Andrew's treatments. He knows that something is wrong.
Andrew, A.J.'s best friend, has not been able to pick him up very much the past two months since his surgery, lest A.J. touch Andrew's delicate neck or inadvertently pull on his feeding tube. Not to mention, there's a constant changing of the guard in the grandma role. He must be wondering who else is going to change. Papa? Mama? Why are we often gone when he wakes up from his nap?
The other day, Andrew wasn't feeling well, so I was trying to help him. At the same time, I felt worried about the children, who were probably wondering why two grandmas were giving them a bath instead of Mama.
A few minutes later, I heard A.J. screaming from his room at the top of his lungs as if he was about to give birth to a baby in the bathroom. I looked at my watch. Ten minutes to his bedtime. Someone must have put him in his crib a few minutes early not realizing we have a bed time routine. A.J. probably panicked, especially because he loves the time he has with us when we put him down.
I picked up A.J. and brought him into our room. I said, "Do you want to help Mama comfort Papa?" I sat him down in my lap before Andrew's feet.
A.J. gently rubbed his hands over Papa's feet, trying to help me. He was so happy. He crawled from the foot of the bed up to Andrew and took his hand. Then, he turned towards me and held my hand. He smiled at Andrew: "Papa," he said. He beamed at me: "Mama." He looked back and forth between the two of us: "Papa. Mama. Papa. Mama."
A.J. embraced me. He turned towards Andrew and threw his arms around him.
A Visit to One Sicker Than Andrew
On Friday, I went with my aunt to visit her brother's friend, Tito Rudy, nearby who is in the most advanced stages of pancreatic cancer.
His wife answered the door. She already knew about Andrew. Though she had never met me before, she took me into her arms, and said, "Oh, she's so young." Cancer has a way of stripping away all the superficial and unnecessary.
I looked into her face, surprised at what was going on in my mind. I was wondering how she was doing, how she could possibly be handling this, though shouldn't I of anyone know? But all the doctors had given up on her husband. I did not understand that.
Yet, her face seemed to reflect my own questions. She kept expressing concern about me. "Listen, she said. If there is anything we can do, I want you to know we want to help you," she said repeatedly throughout our visit.
She showed us to into Tito Rudy's room. Tito Rudy struggled to sit up in bed. He is a man in his sixties with white hair.
He had only met my aunt one other time, yet he hugged her and took both my hands when she introduced me.
Then, practically interrupting our introductions, he said to my aunt suddenly, "Manang Bing, will you pray for me?"
Aunty, though a little surprised, prayed. And then, while she was midway through saying "amen," she said, "Gracie, you can pray too."
I was a little caught off guard. I prayed the only things I could think of to pray, since I had just met him: the same things that I always request for Andrew. We had hardly been in their home a few minutes, yet tears rushed to my eyes as I prayed. I prayed for his physical pain relief, for the peace of Christ to comfort his heart, and praised the Lord that in eternity there is no more pain, no more tears, no more death, where we shall see our Savior face to face.