GROWTH AS A CHRISTIAN: THE SURVIVAL PRINCIPAL - Part 7

God, The Eden Curses, Cancer and Me

Throughout this segment the human conscience, and how society tinkers with it, is very obvious so the word conscience will not be mentioned.

When I finished Sin in church: Growth as a Christian: Part 6 at the beginning of last year, 2012, I did not know God had an astonishing Part 7 in which He would demonstrate His glorious power, kindness, mercy and love for an unworthy, unprofitable servant like me.

Three curses: God actually placed three curses on mankind when man fell from grace in the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 2:21-25) Since men and women are so closely involved with each other the three curses "bleed over" and involve both male, female and even to those who are confused about their gender. Some may even say there's only 1 curse with 3 parts. OK, what's the difference, we're all up to our necks in this thing called lifetime and I won't quibble about words.

Curse of sorrow: (Gen. 3:16-18 keyword: sorrow) (V. 16) The first part of the curse of sorrow is in bearing children. All children bring sorrow, even yours to you and you to your parents. Any given person is someone's child all their life regardless of age and they bring sorrow to other people. I am my parents' child all my life and I've caused people, other than my parents, a measure of sorrow. You are your parents' child all your life, how much sorrow have you brought to other people other than your parents. How much sorrow have you received from other people's children? See what I mean?

The list of children caused sorrow is endless; wars, gangs, racism, politics, religion, greed, search for sensation and etc. Sorrow brought about by other people's children's words, actions and attitudes brings physical, emotional and psychological pain to everybody on earth. See what I mean? Nobody escapes.

What about your child? What about your emotions brought about due to them? Do they cause worry about them, aggravation by them, fear for them, anger caused through them, despair because of them, disgust with their heedlessness, sickness of soul over their failure to recognize danger; the list is endless and all of them cause sorrow.

The reproductive child producing organs bring sorrow and sometimes death: ovary, prostate, breast, and etc. develop cancers, bumps, blisters, chaffing, ruptures, tumors, sexually transmitted diseases, malfunctions, pain, embarrassment, confusion, injuries, failures, tenderness, cheating, the list of these sorrows is also endless and every one of them brings pain. These parts of the sorrow curse are also involved in every aspect of every human life.

(V.17-18 keyword: sorrow) The rest of the sorrow curse is trying to obtain your eating from the cursed ground. It's work! Even people who won't perform work struggle (work) to not work and they never have enough, they always want something they can't have, eventually they are helpless because of dependence on government hand-outs then they are slaves to the mercy of a cold, unfeeling government because they don't have the ability, skills, or education to produce anything; it is sorrow.

Look at what every person in the world is going through to eat. Half the world is on starvation or semi-starvation and America has a weight problem from too much eating, yet, according to statistics, one in six American children don't get enough to eat; all are sorrows.

A person goes to school 12 to 16 or more years to prepare for a job to earn his bread, then tries to find a good job where he wants to live, finally he gets the job, then he's on the treadmill of work; bosses, schedules, responsibility, pain, missing what you want to do, dread of tomorrow, giving your life to someone who don't care; THEN, payday:

"Oh Boy." You step off the treadmill with cash in hand and the line of people you owe are standing there with their hands out; your personal tax collectors have already gotten theirs out of your paycheck, then you pay the thousand hidden taxes you never think about; its sorrow. THINK NOT?

WHEN: When you buy your loaf of bread please remember you are helping pay about 120 hidden taxes on it. Think about it!

How many different taxes does the seed provider pay, then the seed seller, the farmer, transportation to the mill to be processed, the processing, transportation to the baker, baking, transportation to various stores; think about the taxes on drivers, various fuels, fertilizers, buildings, land, vehicles, equipment/machinery, packaging, storage, chemicals, paper, ink, payroll taxes, personal, federal, state, county, and city taxes you helped pay when you bought your loaf of bread because these taxes are added to the cost of your loaf of bread, its the only way providers and sellers can financially survive.

Sure, it's only a slice of a penny but they each add up. In KY. there is no state sales tax on food bought in grocery stores. "Hurrah! Hurrah! I get my loaf of bread tax free!" What a political joke, on me! This hidden tax applies to your socks, toilet paper, apples, aspirin, house, car and everything else you buy; your one loaf of bread represents all the sorrow of work.

After that, some more of the sorrow is what to eat; you can't get enough to eat, you can't get enough nourishment from what you have to eat, or there is too much to eat. "That's bad for ya; arteries, brain, digestive system, bones, glands, skin, hair and etc." More sorrow.

THEN you can start paying all your other personal bills and their hidden taxes. Even the millionaires/billionaires, just like us, want something they can't buy. They can't buy more life, can they? The wanting is part of the sorrow curse that touches every person.

Curse of death: (Gen. 3:19 keywords start: till thou return unto the ground) Me, you, all of us will die. It is inevitable. BUT: Cryogenics: people die, are pronounced dead, then their body is frozen with the hope they can be revived later after a cure is found for what killed them, if they have the money.

Families demand their elderly or terminally ill family members have everything medically done to keep them alive a little longer (guilt for neglect? misplaced love? don't realize what they are doing?) even if the patient's ability to think is gone, even if they are prolonging life in a body devastated by some horrid, wasting, painful disease, even if the medical heroics of resuscitation break the patients ribs, even if machines suck and pump fluids through a dead body, if we have the money, OR the patient's insurance pays, OR taxpayer provided Govt. entitlements pay the cost.

What quality of life are we bringing them back to; a hopeless hope, more wasting away, pain, incontinence, sorrow. Let them go on their way, its over! ALSO: Science goes to extreme measures to master genetics so we can live a few years longer and maybe even live forever; what a joke! (Gen. 3:19) Does God lie?

In most cases finally arriving to the point of death is a very painful trip, does anybody want to come back and make that painful trip a second time? Yes, we go to extreme lengths to deny death but it still comes. The death of our friends and loved ones hurts us. Every death hurts somebody. The curse of death affects and effects every one of us as long as we are in this world.

(Gen. 3:23-24) Curse of separation: (Acts 4:8-12) According to the Bible if a person has not obtained salvation through Jesus they are lost. Unsaved people are separated from God. ALSO: (1Pet.4:18) When you get right down to the nitty-gritty of the matter some Christians in this life are also separated from God by sin and vulnerable to not making it to heaven! Think not?

(1Cor. 9:27) The apostle Paul worried about his personal salvation. Why shouldn't we? You and I had surely better worry about our salvation if that firebrand, Bible writing, Church founding zealot worried about his! So, even Christians who are where they need to be with God in this life are still separated from God until they get to Him! AND:

(Rev. 2:5-7, 16, 22-23, 3:5, 11 & 16) Lots of Christians are walking around thinking and claiming they are alright with God but God's word says they are not! SO: All Christians are still separated from God as long as we are in this thing called lifetime, trapped in a dying body, suffering the curse of sorrow. As long as we live here on this earth we, saint and sinner, will be affected and effected by the three Eden curses.

But sometimes, for His own reasons, God takes a hand.

8-28-13: About seven or eight years ago in 05-06 I endured a series of very painful and humiliating examinations and biopsies that led to a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) surgically performed by Dr. Troy, a high school acquaintance, I call him Sawbones. It's commonly called, having an enlarged, urine blocking prostate gland surgically augured out to increase urine flow. Sounds gross doesn't it?

It is gross; gross, bloody and painful; the Foley catheter to let the blood drain out before it can clot is a hateful, miserable necessity. I didn't realize at that time how glad I should have been there was no cancer. It's all part of the male reproductive system (children=sorrow) and prone to the curse of death. When it was finally over and I had healed I was gladdened by the thought I had it all behind me. Man, I'm glad I didn't know what was coming at me like a runaway freight train!

Throughout the following events, in '012-'013, I kept up my normal praying to get to know God better, for God's revelation and inspiration to write, my congregation and preachers, lost sinners, Christians in general, the Church, Israel, persecuted Christians, all the normal prayers; but somehow I seemed to forget about my medical problems, except; "Please Lord, guard me against bringing a reproach to Your name while I'm anesthetized and stupid".

It wasn't some weird misplaced pride, or doubt, or bravado; I've heard Christians say bad words while in surgical recovery. I didn't worry about what could happen to me; I'm known as a Christian and in weakness I didn't want to say bad words with my mouth that would bring shame to Jesus.

A few weeks after the initial surgery in 05-06 I started passing a little bit of blood and some small clots! "Hey Sawbones, look at this! What's wrong?" A series of very humiliating examinations and painful biopsies later; "It's just a little bleeder from the surgery, you've strained yourself, it'll be alright." That trickle of blood happened for a few days 3-5 times a year and the yearly examinations and biopsies continued, UNTIL LAST FALL, Sept. 2012, happy 69th birthday!

That's when the above mentioned freight train hit me broadside at full speed. Right then I didn't realize I had hit a hard pothole in the path I walk for God. Another trickle of blood in my urine started, nothing to worry about, I was used to it. It got worse, and worse, and worse, nothing to worry about; I'm used to it. A couple of weeks went by and one evening at bedtime it had gotten really bad, "I'd better worry about this!"

The next morning it was a hemorrhage with huge, nearly un-passable blood clots, splat, soft, big as a quarter when spread out! If urine flow stops, urine backs up, kidneys die from ureic acid poisoning and patient dies; I frantically drank lots of water that morning, frequent urination to get the clots out before they blocked my urine off. I couldn't get in touch with my Sawbones urologist nearly two hours of road travel away! Panic! SO:

I went to our local hospital emergency room and was hospitalized for hemorrhage. My wife is a nurse there and she nearly passed out when she saw the deluge of blood and clots. I had kept it secret from her. I don't know why. Macho?

They'd been heavily advertising the hiring of their first surgical urologist, "He's a first place med school grad, he's served award winning residencies, he's the best in the business, he uses the da Vinci (robotic) surgery system." Thoughts: "Yeah great, he isn't a local boy made good so what's he doing in this jerk-water town in the middle of Nowhere, KY if he's so good?" THEN:

I met Dr. Harris during my 2 day hospitalization for hemorrhaging. He'd married a local girl in college and they'd decided to settle here. Women, it works every time. He impressed me a lot; cool, competent, professional, intelligent, friendly, young with two small children, a great guy and, most of all, he's a very dedicated Christian. "Goodbye Sawbones, Hello Doctor."

A week or so after the hemorrhage stopped I went back to the local hospital for surgery. In the process I'd gotten to know Dr. Harris' office staff. They are Christians and we hit it off real well, especially Liz, a Christian. Some of you have experienced a surgery procedure, the rest of you will probably experience it sooner or later because something will go wrong within you. AND:

Surgery! Lights out Daddy-O. Daddy-O, sometimes a word from the rockin' sixties just pops out. Someone was waking me up. It was Dr. Harris. I was looking through the fuzzy, grayish, watery, opaque of anesthesia, "I've removed a cancerous tumor from your bladder. I've seen a thousand of them, I'm sure it's cancer, I'm going to squirt the first chemo treatment up into your bladder, you have to be awake enough to hold it in for 45 minutes." "Unghhhh." "Wake up Jim, wake up."

Fuzzy thoughts; "Well, I must have messed that up and let it go early 'cause I went back to sleep." "You can let it go, you've held it." "Unghhhh" surprised! In the recovery room Dr. Harris told my wife and me; "I'll get the tumor biopsied, they'll call the results back. I've placed a stint in the urinary duct from your left kidney, through your bladder and down your urinary tract to the outside with your Foley catheter to protect your left kidney."

"Your prostate has a weird growth of cells that's full of aimless blood vessels, a couple of them were leaking and I cauterized them. I'll remove that after you heal from this." I was too groggy, maybe just numb, to realize, CANCER! My wife took miserable me, hateful, hateful, very painful stint and that old bag, Foley, (the catheter) home. That was on Wednesday.

Later on in the day I started thinking about it, and thinking, and thinking. "Cancer! Me!" Oddly enough I wasn't emotional nor was I unemotional, somewhere in between; "Bladder cancer! Well, here it is, something has to take me out, I guess this is it." But I really dreaded the wasting away, treatment, surgeries and the pain to come.

I hated the fact I would be letting my Mother down. She's a shut-in and God has blessed me to do for her so she can stay in her home. I hated the fact I'd be letting my beautiful wife down too, I take a lot of pains to do things to make her life better. I can't see that I do much in church, just another bobble-head back in the crowd. I figured my wife would probably have to hire mourners for my wake and funeral. BUT THEN:

On the Sunday after Wednesday's surgery I wandered through the house carrying that old bag, Foley, along with me and I wound up leaning against the kitchen sink, looking out the window, looking up the holler (mountain valley, the "hollow" between two ridges) behind my house, watching the birds and squirrels. It was an introspective time.

(Rom. 5:8-9) I deserve nothing, but God has been immeasurably good to me because He loves me. God has heaped me up and showered me over with His love, gifts, protection, comfort, kindness and blessings. He saved me when I wasn't worth saving and I don't have to go to hell.

(Rev. 3:19) As a Christian, God has kept me when I wasn't worth keeping, He's blessed me beyond measure (Heb. 12:11) and God loves me enough to chastise me so I'll stay where He wants me to be. (Heb. 13:5) When I was broken with unutterable loss, pain and sorrow He loved me and carried me through that terrible agony.

(1John 1:7-2:1) When I crashed and burned in the awful shame, frustration and pain of failure God took me right up there under Jesus' bloody cross and He lifted broken me up, He gave me a healing transfusion of His own blood, healed my spiritual wounds, gave me a long drink from (John 4:10-14) His own cup of the blessing of His never failing mercy and love. God's love for me is all that will ever count. Praise God, I've been under the spout where the glory comes out, its personal! AND I COULDN'T DO IT.

I COULDN'T ASK HIM FOR MORE TIME. I'm almost 70 years old. I feel like God has been better to me than He has to anybody else in the whole world. Its personal and I love God with all my heart. Thinking; Praying? "You've blessed me beyond measure and kept me all these years. I trust You because I know You'll take care of me. I love You and I know You love me 'n that's good enough. I'll take it as it comes, because You'll be there with me."

I turned away to go to the couch to lay down. I took a step or two and God spiritually put His arms around me and I was engulfed in His love. I held on to the island in the middle of our kitchen and cried like a little girl, tears, sobs and gasps; any more of His love and my mortal flesh would have died right there because of the joy and the love of God in that special time of His presence. It was a timeless time.

Then it subsided enough for me to move. I took four or five more short steps, got to the end of the kitchen island and I felt my Son, Jimmie, smile. He's the one killed in the car wreck more than twenty years ago. Again, I have never felt so loved in my life, God was there and I just humped up crying again; "My God! My God! My God the gift Giver!" And buddy it was a dandy that time. More timelessness, it subsided and I went on to the couch.

The thinking about it was done and I laid around for a couple of days. Late Tuesday afternoon the phone rang; "Hello." "Jim?" I recognized Liz, Dr. Harris' office nurse's voice. "Yeah." "You haven't got cancer! You haven't got cancer! YOU HAVEN'T GOT CANCER!" "Ungghhh" "The tumor biopsy came back negative. You haven't got cancer!" Somehow I wasn't surprised.

Eight more days, stint out. Six more days, Foley catheter out. Always wondering; "Did God heal me of cancer OR had I simply not had cancer?" I was about to find out! Five more weeks, surgery again. Lights out again Daddy-O. Foley again, two days hospitalized for bleeding, go home, seven days, catheter out. Two more weeks, Dr. Appt. to find out about the biopsy.

I waited in the small examining room as Dr. Harris by-passed my room while he visited other patients in the other rooms. Rooms emptied and refilled, I waited, and waited, wondering; "what's going on", THEN my wife walked in, they'd called her in from her job as a nurse at the hospital. That's when I knew; "Ugh-ooh, bad news!"

Dr. Harris was a few seconds behind her. He'd had her called so they could "prop me up emotionally". "Jim, the tissue I took out your prostate tested positive, you've got prostate cancer. We'll biopsy it in three weeks to determine the size." He and I had to "prop her up emotionally". She was strident; "Get that cancer out of him!"

Three weeks, biopsy. Two more weeks, result, positive for cancer, Doctor Harris brought the picture out, "That's the cancer right there. The big regular shaped cancer cells are the slow spreading kind. The small irregular shaped cells are the fast spreading kind. You've got both kinds, we'll watch it. Another prostate biopsy in three months. Most prostate cancers grow slow, you'll probably die of something else first." "Huh?" "We'll do a Cysto procedure to check your bladder for tumors in two months." AGAIN I COULDN'T DO IT.

It was just like the first time except there was no personal blessing from God; God has been too good to me for me to ask Him for more life, it was like an imposition upon His goodness, I trust Him to do what's best for me, I'm too stupid to know.

I need to clear up something right now. I mentioned the rockin' sixties above. During the rockin' sixties I spent 6 years and 4 months in the Marines where I paid my dues for living in the great nation America. I liked the music but I didn't like the draft dodgers, protesters, Woodstock, dope and all that. I liked the rock and roll seventies much better. (Isa. 28:16-18 & Eph 2:8-22 esp. V.20 keywords: chief corner stone) On Sept. 19, 1976 I planted my feet on a solid rock named Jesus, (Rev. 3:5 keywords: book of life) my name was placed in a roll book (Rev. 20:15) and when that roll call is sounded I get to live with Jesus in paradise forever.

The two months went by fast, Cysto time, lights out again Daddy-O. In the recovery room; "Your bladder is clean as a whistle, good shape. Don't forget the prostate biopsy in a month." My wife was settling down, but, still bullish on immediate surgical prostate removal. Somehow I felt it was the wrong thing to do right then.

I hadn't said much about my cancer, just to a very few close friends in my church and my Mother but the word somehow gets out and during all this time I had gradually found out Christians all over the county, and even some Christians in surrounding counties, were praying for me. My name was even on various church prayer chains.

All that humbled me to tears. It tenderizes my heart that people love me enough to care. "Why? I am nothing. What good am I? I'm just a nuisance to God, (Luke 17:10) an unprofitable servant. (John 15:5) What have I accomplished that You, oh Great God, have not accomplished within me through the power of Thy Holy Spirit and thy multitude of gifts to me?"

The Saturday night before the biopsy the next week I had a flash dream. Suddenly someone was on my right side, two feet away, faceless because they were in my peripheral vision, and they softly said; "You're not going to have cancer anymore." and the flash dream was over.

It happened so fast it was like a fleeting thought. The next day after church was over we took Sunday dinner to Mom's house and had lunch with her, just like we always do. After lunch I was sitting on her front porch reading the newspaper. A car stopped in front of the house, part on the road and part on the grass.

It was Wetzel, my friend of 20-25 years. Wetzel and his much younger wife were Christians but 16-18 years ago she left him for another man and took their 2 young children. Wetzel went to the dogs after that and embarked on a life of drinking and chasing women. I guess he felt he had something to prove. I love my Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ. SO: I never deserted my friend and Brother.

Wetzel was in a back alley fight with the devil for his soul. The devil was cutting my Brother to pieces with the switchblade knife of anger, loss, frustration, pain and sin. It's a trashy Christian who won't help their Brother or Sister when they are fighting for their eternal soul. (James 5:19-20) Don't never, ever, give up, it's too important. Years went by and I kept witnessing and inviting him to church, even after his Pastor had quit calling Wetzel on the phone. No blame cast there, Pastors have their hands full.

Some Christians spoke slighting of Wetzel; "They wasn't anything to him in the first place! He's nothing but a fornicator and a drunk!" (Matt. 7:1-5 keyword: hypocrite) According to Jesus, Christians who judge Christians instead of trying to help them are hypocrites, (Prov. 11:9) they are destroyers (Matt. 24:48-51) and hypocrites will be sent where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Rev. 21:4 keywords: there shall be no more crying) and that isn't heaven.

One day about 5 years ago I "happened" to run across Wetzel at his Post Office and started talking to him again. "Jim, I'm ashamed to go back to church, you know what all I've done. They won't want me back there no more." "I know a lot of the people in your congregation Wetzel, they're good people and they'll welcome you back with open arms." Tears streamed down Wetzel's tormented face. "I can't do it Jim."

"Wetzel, I'll go with you if you'll go to Church." "You're a Baptist, do you mean you'd go to the Church of Christ with me?" "Wetzel, if it's God's house and God's people it's my house and they're my Brothers and Sisters."

When we walked into that Church House the next Sunday morning I've never seen anything like it in my life. Those sweet, kindly, forgiving Christians crowded around Wetzel, they hugged him, shook hands with him, patted on him, touched his arms, shoulders and face. Little old ladies reached up and Wetzel had to bend over so they could hug him and kiss his cheeks.

Those beautiful, smiling Christians wept and said over and over; "I love you, Brother. We've missed you, Brother." Their love wilted Wetzel with their kindness and joy; his tears wetted his shirt, dripped off his chin, some fell to the floor; and some of them fell on those God Children who loved him. Wetzel didn't go to the altar and re-dedicate himself to God during that service BUT:

That Sunday night service Wetzel did rededicate himself to God. "Thank You, thank You beautiful, beautiful God of glory for giving me my Brother back." was all I could say. Then about five years later:

Here came Wetzel across my Mother's yard with longer and longer steps. A still, small voice said to my heart; "He's going say it." Wetzel sat down on my right side exactly like my dream had shown. His tears poured; "Jim I heard you've got cancer, we've prayed about it and you're not going to have cancer anymore." And Wetzel was gone back across the yard to his car. I was astonished and numb. "Me. Healed from cancer? I'm not worth it, no way!" But still, I wondered; "For sure, something will take me out, but, maybe this isn't the time".

The following Tuesday I had the biopsy. Two weeks later, on the following Tuesday, Dr. Harris came into my little examining room, we said our "Howdy, Brother" and we shook hands. He looked happy. He sat in his chair at the little table/desk where I sat. He opened my chart, thumbed through the pages, found the place he wanted, slowly spun the chart around, looked into my face and pointed to the picture of my prostate; "Your cancer's gone Jim."

Like I said; "Praise God, I've been under the spout where the glory comes out, it's personal!"

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