(Personal Note: I’m so sorry the website has been a mess over the weekend. The server it ties to has had a weekend of problems and that has made life difficult for a lot of people. I know how frustrating it can be to try to find a website that continues to get error messages. I’m hopeful we’re past most of that now. I apologize for any frustration that has caused you.)
At the end of this week’s podcast on df that was posted this weekend at The God journey, I read a letter by a good friend of mine who has just undergone bone marrow transplant in Ireland. Many of you have met David Rice from his previous appearances on the podcast. The procedures he’s undergone have been harrowing, stretching back through months of aggressive chemotherapy, harvesting stem cells, battling infections and dealing with allergic reactions to some of the medication he’s been given.
As I’ve kept up with David during this process, I’ve been blessed by his resilient spirit in the face of such a painful ordeal. While I’m sure he would have opted for a supernatural healing at the start, he’s continued to listen and lean into Jesus through the entire process and through it God continues to not only lead him through it, but to transform him spiritually in the process. I supposed David could have wasted the last few months lamenting his condition and begging God for healing, but instead he has let God make himself known however he chose to do in this process. I love that.
The last twelve days have been the most demanding as his bone marrow was destroyed by chemotherapy and the previously harvested stem cells were inserted into his body. But it takes almost ten days for the new stem cells to start producing enough blood to overwhelm the devastating effects of chemotherapy. During that time the body is wiped out physically
Many people have asked me for a copy of David’s email, so I post it here. In his own physical battle, he saw an even greater illustration of how God transforms us from the inside out through the blood of Christ flowing in us.
I am slowly beginning to adjust to having a new blood system and to feeling new life come back to my body each day. It really is an amazing feeling and shows me starkly how the life is in the blood. Every last cell is supplied and nourished by it and if you don’t have it working you know all about it! All of those miraculous, but natural, processes are staggering in themselves but I am not exaggerating when I say that the real transformation in me is at a far deeper level, in the spirit. The last week has easily been the most significant in my life. I know that inside I am a different and new person. The Lord has been so wonderful to me that I am not sure if I will ever be able to express the wonders of what I see In Him. I am not even sure that I am meant to try, rather to let the fruit of that come out in other ways. We shall see.
I do feel to share a picture that I He gave me from the transplant to illustrate the reality of redemption. In the days before I came in to hospital on previous occasions I felt I was prepared, by the Lord, for what was to come, either by a word or picture or something that caught my attention or someone shared. This time I felt the opposite. If anything, I felt very unprepared, aware of sin, my flesh, weakness and temptation. As I looked to the Lord I felt only one word, PATIENCE. Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen me refer to that there.
I came into the hospital and the procedure began with a very high dose of a particularly nasty chemotherapy drug which was designed to take out my bone marrow completely. This clear, innocent-looking, chemical has a very short half-life so it had broken down and left my body within a couple of hours. The devastation it caused in that time is considerable and its effects will be felt for months. In fact, if I had not had my own stem cells returned to me I would definitely have died as I could not, any more, produce blood cells. This is such a picture of sin. At first it seems innocent and of little consequence, but as it works through a life it produces death, guaranteed.
Those small packages of my stem cells, previously harvested, represent the redemptive blood of Jesus. As they bring new life to my body they deal with the effects of death and sin’s damage. I am redeemed by His blood. I become filled with His New Life. It has not known sin and is not infected by death rather it transforms my sinful body to be like Him. What an amazing work of grace and love.
The above picture became so vividly alive to me as I came through the process. The ten days or so of waiting to see if the cells had engrafted are a special experience. I could feel death at work in me but new life was also growing and swallowing up the death. Once in motion both processes lead to completely inevitable, but opposite, results. In my case death was swallowed by life. It took patience to see the life regrow but when it did the transformation was immediate and amazing. Over a period of about two days I went from being unable to sustain my own life to a completely restored, normal blood count!
This simple but, to me, very real picture of His grace in redemption led on to days and nights of revelatory adventure which are transforming me and I do not know if I can ever or should ever share. What matters is that I don’t think I can ever be the same again!
County Wicklow, Ireland