What’s so Good about it anyway?

Day 29. Today is the day that determines our cancer future. It is the big crescendo of the first phase of Delaney’s leukemia treatment, and… it falls on Good Friday. And with that God, I’ve got to admit, you’ve still got it!
Apparently, even cancer doesn’t wait for cancer. Long before now, today was marked on our calendar as the day we would be heading back to Children’s Hospital. Once we were there, Stacey and I would put on our brave faces for Delaney so hopefully she wouldn’t realize how serious the implications of everything she was about to have done to her, really were. Ha! The joke is on you cancer because we didn’t even have to make the commute to Children’s Hospital today, we were already here! Our eyes are already bloodshot from all the fun we have had over the past three nights, so why stop now?!?!
Today they will draw more of Delaney’s blood, purposely make her unconscious, do a lumbar puncture, take bone marrow, and then give her more chemotherapy. Then later, they will also go about analyzing the blood, bone marrow, and cells and start counting how many cancer cells still exist. God willing, they won’t find ANY! But even if the doctors surprise us with the terrible news that Delaney’s condition has gotten much worse, or inform us that we won’t be able to bring her home for another 444 nights, or if the excruciating knee pain returns every night (it came back last night so we already got to go have X-rays done this morning), we know that God is still in control.
People have commented about our faith through this whole (non) adventure. “I don’t think I could do it, how are you guys holding up like you are?” they’ll ask. If you don’t mind, and yes, I know many of you actually will mind, I’ll answer that by sharing a little about my faith. More specifically, why it has not and will not waiver no matter what the results of today’s tests are and no matter what tomorrow brings. Why? You’ve heard of that guy that was blind but can now see… well that dude is me.
I was probably never really an atheist, but for most of my adult life, I just chose to live like one. Technically, I would be classified as an agnostic. I didn’t know for sure that there was no God (as the mountains, the fishies, puppies, and babies -without poopy diapers of course- seemed to necessitate some sort of Creator), but I definitely didn’t believe in God. Truth be told, I thought the Bible was a bunch of crap (to put it nicely). Some fables of the Aesop sort, to pass along to the kiddies to make sure they behave.
Because this is Delaney’s blog and not “Tom’s testimony,” I’ll cut to the chase. Living like there was no God wasn’t exactly good for my marriage. After seeing three different marriage counselors and deciding there wasn’t going to be a fourth, we moved from Northern California to Southern California to make it easier on us when the inevitable divorce took place. However, shortly after the move, my brother invited me to his church (Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA). I went with him, but I was honest with him when he asked what I thought of the service, “it was fine… but I think the whole thing is based on BS!” He gave me a book to read called, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel (also a former agnostic). By that point I had already checked out religious science, Buddhism, and a bunch of other stuff before settling on being semi-content as an agnostic, but I agreed to read his book. Contrary to other books I had read, this one didn’t try to use the Bible to prove its own validity, it used things outside the Bible (ie. history, archeology, and science). It quickly had me thinking, “if the Bible really is true, what does that mean about how I am living my life?” That was thirteen years ago this July. Needless to say my marriage, and my life, haven’t been the same ever since.
Some of you more observant folks might be thinking, but you are not religious! You’re right. I’m not a huge fan of religion and the way it divides. Do you know that Delaney has Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, heterosexuals, and just about every race praying for her? I am even less of a fan of most “religious” people, who want to go around judging people who sin differently than they do. I am actually in pretty good company there, because guess who else wasn’t a big fan of religious people: Jesus.
Yes, that same Jesus who was crucified on the cross on that original Good Friday over 2000 years ago. By the way, the fact that he was nailed to the cross isn’t in dispute by any of those religions mentioned. What that crucifixion, and then the empty tomb, meant (and still means) is where their views differ. We may interpret differently a verse about the coming Messiah that was written 500 years before Jesus even walked the earth (Isaiah 53:5- He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.) I may just be impartial because of the “healed” part, but I believe that Jesus died for my sins and through his death and resurrection, I’ll be in Heaven someday with him (the way I am eating these days, “someday” will probably be sooner rather than later).
When I was an agnostic, I thought I was going to “I’m a good person” my way into Heaven, if such a place even existed. Sin is a funny thing. Unfortunately, it just isn’t “ha ha” funny. Let me bring this back to Delaney for a minute. When Delaney had the surgery to put the port in her chest, she literally came out of it orange. “Wow, cancer is turning our daughter into a giant carrot!” I thought before they explained they scrubbed her with a disinfectant prior to the surgery. The disinfectant killed most of the germs, but could never permanently remove all of them. Sin is just like those germs, I could try to just live a good life or cover them in other ways, but only Jesus could actually take away those sins. That’s where so many people are mistaken in their belief that they need to be “perfect” or get better before God could love them. In Delaney’s world that would be like saying, “She needs to feel better, before she can get rid of the cancer.” It is actually the other way around, after she gets rid of the cancer, she’ll feel better. Sin is the cancer and that is why it is so encouraging when the Bible says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
So no matter what happens today, it doesn’t change the truly important thing. Cancer can’t compete with my God. Only HE can take something that looks like it is the worst thing ever (for example, Jesus being crucified on a cross, or the sweetest six year old ever having leukemia) and turning it into the best possible thing (like Resurrection Sunday or ???… we’ll have to wait and see what he does for Delaney, but it’ll be great!). Have a great Good Friday. Say a prayer for Delaney, go check out The Case for Christ yourself, call your Mom, paint some eggs, bite the ears off a chocolate bunny, or do a little jig. Need a reason to dance, I’ll leave you with this, “Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” It’s Friday… but Sunday is coming!!!!!

19 thoughts on “What’s so Good about it anyway?

    • Hi Tom and Stacy,
      Clem and I wanted to let you know that we have been praying for Delaney and you folks daily.We know God is in control and we believe He will send a miracle to your family. Your testimony is beautiful.Praise God for our risen Savior.

  1. Thank you for your “non” adventure news today. It truely touched me. I pray for your family and especially your daughter. It is Friday and Thank God Sunday is just around the corner.

  2. Beautifully said, Tom. Our heart goes out to you all and praying for you all often. Praising God for His provision, and thought of this hymn today:

    He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
    Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
    His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

    The writer of this hymn has a great testimony, and is worth checking out. Her name is Annie J. Flint.

    Hugs to Stacy and love to all!
    Melissa Mo

  3. Hi Tom, you don’t know me but I am following your blog and am praying lots for your family and especially Delaney. I have had one thought about the knee pain. My son is on high levels of prednisone sometimes for 6 months. Delaney is on even higher doses then him. My son get awful Joint pain from the prednisone. Every doctor we have seen says its not possible. They say prednisone should not cause that kind of excruciating pain. I am here to tell you every time he gets put on it his knees hurt, or his elbows, of his hands and fingers. He screams and screams. Nothing takes it away except a shower or bath will calm him down a bit if he lets us put him in. No body believes me but as soon as he is off of it, within a week he is back to normal. I am not sure this is why your daughter has this pain. I just thought I would share. HUGS!

    PS My friends nephew is fighting Leukemia like Delaney. Check out their Facebook page. Skyler’s mom may be a big support to you guys. https://www.facebook.com/SkylersJourneyWithLeukemia

    • Dear Tom and family,
      Your testimony really touched our hearts. Cancer gallops through our family, but there are many survivors. My mother, Helene, was given 3 months to live and she lived 14 years. I pray to her whenever someone is going through chemo and radiation, so, you can be assured of our prayers to Helene (God, too!) to surround you in love and hope. Blessings to you and your remarkable family.
      Happy Easter and God bless you really good,
      Maureen Nunn and family

  4. Thank you for adding a beautiful dimension to Good Friday and for sharing your journey of faith. I am truly moved by your words.

    As a good friend of Kirsten and Steve’s, I have been privy to your walk with Delaney in this world of cancer and prayers are flowing from this side for sure.

    Your faith is such an inspiration and something I truly share with you in believing that God really does have it handled and we are all just in the back seat for the ride until we meet Him in heaven.

    I too, have read The Case for Christ and being raised a Catholic, I have to be honest in saying I have not questioned my faith, but have “grown in it” tremendously in my adult life. One of the reasons is the book you mentioned. A “must” read for all.

    Wishing you a beautiful Easter and thank you for gracing us all with your beautiful words, your outstanding profession of faith, and for your sweetest Delaney who we can honestly see God’s eyes shining through.

    With blessings in abundance,
    Marisa Marshall

  5. Tom , thank you for your story. It’s amazing. As I sit trying to hold back more tears, I want you & Stacy to know DeLaney is being continually prayed for here at the Moneta house. We will not stop and have complete Faith! Have a very “Good Friday & a very happy Easter! God bless to your family. Love Nikki,Scott, Dani, Coleman. & Drew

  6. Thank you Tom, I truly enjoyed reading this blog, not for what Delaney is going through but your honesty about how you used to think or not believe. Very inspiring. Praying for your family and especially Delaney.

  7. Here I want to say something to encourage or help you and your family and yet I find myself getting more from you and your families story. Thank you, my path has been very similar. May God continue to bless you all. continued prayers and may Delaney have an abundance of eggs in her basket.

  8. Well said Nondoubting Thomas! Sorry for your week in the hospital. Still praying daily and looking at the Orange Bracelet that makes me pray again. Praying for a Good Friday.

  9. We have been and will continue to be praying for Delaney. Thank you for sharing how Jesus saves, transforms and redeems his children. He paid the price for our sin that we may seek and and share in His righteousness.

  10. How amazing is our God. I have not yet read everything on your page. But I just read “Your Story” on the KLove page!!! 🙂 To you I share the song “We Will Not Be Shaken” by Building 429. Praying God’s strength, comfort, and peace over your family.

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