When I was a kids pastor at the ripe age of 21 I did then what I find unthinkable now. I wouldn’t sing Christmas songs in kids church and never would sing hymns. As I think back I can’t even remember why I felt that way. I think I felt that kids wanted to have fun and Hymns were above their pay grade. I think I thought Christmas Carols were things you heard in stores not songs of praise sung in church. What changed my perspective was being in the same church for 20 years. Seeing the kids grow up that I had taught in preschool I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes.
One mistake was thinking that fun mattered more than substance. If I made it crazy enough they would come back. I’m all for fun but not at the price of substance. The other mistake I made is I thought I was helping kids with the faith that they need today rather than preparing them for the faith they are going to need. As kids pastors we have to give them a faith for today but we also have to prepare them for the faith they are going to need.
We must give our kids a faith that is big enough they can grow into. Kids also need to be connected to the history of our faith. The need to know that God loves them yes, but many people have lived a life of uncompromising faith they can to by God’s grace.
One of the things we are grateful for is what the writer of Lamentations knew about God. He has new mercies for us every morning. His love is steadfast and unchanging. It seems each day has a new challenge to it, but each day is met by grace that far exceeds anything we could provide.
After Sandra’s first Chemo treatment she responded better than we had expected. It’s hard to know what to expect when your expectations for chemo are set by Hollywood movies. The next couple of days Sandra was tired, but they were mostly uneventful, as the week progressed Sandra struggled quite a bit with tiredness and various other symptoms. The past few days have been much much better. Your prayers are felt and are doing more than you know. Sandra today felt good enough to get out of the house for a few hours. We have much to be thankful for.
One of the prayers we pray is we don’t want to waste this season on self-pity and trying to understand the incomprehensible. One of the things we are learning is how God turns bad thing into good things. In the Dec 8th section of Tim Keller’s devotional on Psalm he has you read Psalm 135 and says this about it:
Why should we praise God? We should praise him…
1. Because He is good
2. Because it is good to praise him
3. Because in his grace He finds us
4. Because he works all thing together for good.
Huge thanks to Jamie Burgess Check out more of her work here.
The past five weeks have been some of the most challenging weeks our family has faced. Five weeks ago my wife Sandra found an enlarged lymph node on her neck. She went to our family doctor who quickly sent her for a CT scan and for a biopsy. I wasn’t truly concerned because I honestly didn’t think it was anything serious. We went through the steps we needed to take to rule out what we believed to be impossible. We waited for the results hoping and praying for a good result. For reasons we will never fully know the results we were looking for never came. On November 6 the doctor who did the biopsy called Sandra and told her she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There are few feelings that match the feeling when you first hear that you have or someone you love has Cancer.
The hardest part of knowing you have cancer is what you don’t know. To not think to far into the future or to keep from constructing worst case scenario is a daily battle. We have since been on a journey to understand what Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is and what is the best way to treat it. We meet with Sandra’s Oncologist a couple weeks later who told us we were facing 4 to 6 months of Chemo with possible radiation. We contacted a few close friends and family to pray. We went back last week and it confirmed through a PET Scan that she has Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The good news is this is very treatable it has a 95% rate of recovery. We met with the Oncologist last week to discuss treatment and the results of the PET scan. He told us that the Lymphoma was very early stage, limited in size and located only in two places, as a result, she would only need three months of chemo and no radiation. This was a definite answer to prayer. If she is cancer free at the end of three months of treatment she is done. If she still has cancer cells at the end of three months she will have to have another month of chemo followed by radiation. Please join us in praying that there will be no cancer remaining after three months.
We believe that God is a healer. We also understand that God uses means. He can and does heal miraculously but most often does so through doctors and over time. We also know that one day He is coming back to make all the sad things of this world untrue. Cancer is one of those things. We don’t understand why but we trust the one who does know, because the God that we serve is not safe but He’s good. We are already seeing God at work in big ways and small ways. There are few things that clarify what matters most than facing your own mortality. There are few things more difficult for a husband than to be utterly helpless to take away what is causing the person he loves more than anything in the world so much pain. In the midst of this trial we have much to rejoice over and much to be thankful for. We each have such amazing faith-filled families. We have a church that is truly a family the support we have felt already is deeply humbling to say the least. When I reflect as I write these words on all the blessings God has placed in our life I am overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed by friends I don’t deserve, by a family that is so precious to me, by my need for daily Grace, and by a Savior who loves a wrench like me.
What we ask of you is pray with us to believe God with us for Sandra’s healing. Here is what you can pray:
- Sandra’s healing.
- Strength for Sandra as she goes through chemo that she will be strong and be unaffected by side effects.
- That at the end of three months of treatment there will be no cancer alive in her body
- For our kids – That God will be with them and guard their hearts in this time that as we walk this out as a family that we will rejoice together and weep together. That as a result of this trial Christ will become infinitely more precious to them.
- Pray for Sandra and me that when the waves of doubt crash on the shores of our hearts we will keep our eyes fixed upon Christ.
Thank you so much for your prayers, support and friendship if you want more information or want to help in anyway we ask that you not feel any pressure to do so, your prayers are what we covet most. If you want to keep updated I will do that on my blog the link is below if you want to reach out in any way I have also included links for you to do that. Thanks again we love you.
Sorrowful yet always rejoicing,
The Luce Family
To keep up to date on Sandra’s condition this link has the latest http://samluce.com/category/sandra-update/
If you would like to send a note or would like to offer to help in any way a friend of ours will be replying to the email address we have set up which is [email protected]
If you would like to send card our address is
14 Charles St. Herkimer NY 13350
If you would like to give you can do it through a site a family member created. Here is the link
Machiavelli first said, “Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis.” Winston Churchill popularized Machiavelli by saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste” Republicans and Democrats differ on many things one thing they both agree on is more power and more influence is better than less. A crisis therefore, allows politicians to consolidate power and expand influence. To use their strength to grow stronger by preying on the weaknesses of others. A crisis is an opportunity for them to boast in their strength.
For the Christian the idea of not wasting a crisis is altogether different, rather than projecting strength at the expense of others you boast in your weakness. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that as Christians, servants of God we commend ourselves not in our self-confidence not in our success but actually in our weakness.