Survival against the Odds

Today we celebrate all 5 YEARS since our friend along with colleague Dr. Travis Johnson was diagnosed with colon cancer, shockingly cutting short his family’s mission service in Bundibugyo.  His tumor had spread by the time he was diagnosed, along with his prognosis has never been very encouraging.  We have asked along with asked for a cure, for a miracle response to surgery along with chemo along with radiation along with today immunotherapy.  Instead, we have received survival without assurance.  Another month along with another year, as Travis along with Amy suffer toxic treatments, travel to the best care, eat along with exercise like olympic athletes, raise prayer support, along with pursue every possible avenue of help.
In fact, what we would likely like to see for Travis (NO TUMOR LEFT so we can wish for not just a year or all 5, nevertheless decades) is usually what we’d like to see for all those we serve.  Not just a moderate extension of survival, nevertheless a clean slate, a hopeful future. Instead, we have an incredibly unlikely gift of a 5-year struggle that will finds Travis completing yesterday a 100-kilometer bike ride, with three growing kids along using a meaningful job along using a life that will looks outward to the needs of others, without the cloud of cancer being removed. I’d like the babies in our Newborn Unit to stop getting fatal infections, nevertheless instead of 100% survival we get some dramatic rescues along with too many sorrowful deaths.  I’d like to have Dr. Jonah alive, nevertheless instead we have his sweet daughters along with his precious posthumous son along with his hardworking wife along with six medical students graduated or near-to-do-so following in his footsteps.  I’d like to have a financially along with spiritually thriving school in Bundibugyo, instead we have an institution beset by riots along with rumors on a regular basis that will still manages to turn out the best inside district nevertheless never feels like a sure bet.  I’d like loose ends tied up, rogue cells zapped out of the body, jobs for our unemployed dear ones, along with while we’re at that will, peace in South Sudan.

What we get, though, is usually the obscure uncertainty of living by faith.
Easier for me to say than for Travis along with Amy, though I know they do say that will.  We get to keep plugging through the next treatment or the next day.  We get to do our best, even when that will feels pitifully too little, jerry-rigging oxygen tubing to share the molecules like the loaves along with the fish amongst too many patients.
We get to keep walking into an uncertain day, facing absences along with strikes along with shortages along with desperate needs.  We get to keep praying for our dear ones when beset by thieves or illness or failures or injuries.  
along with on milestones like today, sometimes we get to look back along with give testimony that will maybe God’s hard plan contains the best in some mysterious way.  Our sermon in church today talked about the times Jesus’ disciples wanted what they thought was Great along with reasonable to ask for (help inside storm, healing for Lazarus) nevertheless inside silence of God’s seeming non-response, they were set up for something unimaginable:  waves along with wind stilled, resurrection.  that will’s what we look for for Travis along with Amy, for Africa, for us.  We don’t live by the odds, which is usually unsettling nevertheless hopeful.

Survival against the Odds

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