Josiah’s first post-surgery MRI was in January 2013, four months after his surgery. We had left the hospital at the end of October with no sign of tumor on the MRI (even though we knew 3% was left behind.) This MRI was a standard follow-up in order to check for tumor growth. We were hoping and praying that the surgery would be the only step needed to take care of the brain tumor, and had even expected not to have any further problems. But the MRI showed us otherwise and we knew it immediately when we saw the results on the screen. The tumor had grown enough to be a concern and steps were taken immediately to begin chemotherapy treatments.
I was once again floored by the MRI results I had not expected to hear. There were no signs, no reason for us to think the tumor had begun to grow back.
I’ve thought about that MRI often, as well as our reaction to those results.
I know many people were praying with us about Josiah’s tumor and his MRI and that we would get good results. That, however, was not God’s plan for Josiah. I left the doctor’s office that day in tears. I was devastated. I had just started feeling like we were getting into a great routine; finally getting all Josiah’s medication figured out, he was sleeping a little better, therapy was going well, and he was beginning to act more like himself. Now all of that had to change and we were pulled back into an unknown journey filled with new doctors, nurses and hospital visits. We met with the oncologist the following Monday, Josiah had surgery to place a port the following Thursday and in less than two weeks Josiah had started chemotherapy.
I find myself thinking, “what if…” What if the MRI had turned out the way we wanted? I know that many, including myself, would be saying “Praise God!” I can imagine that phrase would be in many comments on Caring Bridge and Facebook. “Praise God!”
But that’s not the way it turned out, which got me to thinking:
Why does the outcome of an MRI determine whether or not God is to be praised?
Now obviously, I’m not going to sing and shout praises that my son has a brain tumor and our family has gone through such a difficult time. But it’s a question I’ve pondered for awhile, and while I’m not sure this is the best or right answer, I’ve tried to put together my thoughts on the subject.
I looked at scripture to give some direction. I did a search with the word “praise” and went from there. While there are many instances of the word “praise,” these verses from 1 Peter stuck out to me the most. (Take the time to read the whole section; I just typed up the individual verses that really stood out.)
1 Peter 1: 3, 4, 6, & 9
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you… In all this you greatly rejoice, though now you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials… for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Salvation. The end result is salvation. THAT is my hope. THAT is why I say “Praise God!” So while I can sing praises for a good test result, if the results are less than what I desire, I can still sing praises to God for his “great mercy” and for the “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus” and my “inheritance in heaven.” I can rejoice in those things, even as life as I once knew it crumbles around me. I am loved by God, and his love has been shown through the many, many blessings we have received throughout this trial in our lives.