In I Samuel 23, David is being pursued by Saul. He is literally running for his life from a mad man who wants to kill him. This feels a little familiar to me right now as Clay and I are being pursued by cancer. A friend of my pastor shared this verse with us on Sunday and it resinated so strongly with me…
I Samuel 23:14, “And Saul sought him everyday, but God delivered him not into his hand.”
There is so much meaning in this. First of all, the wording signifies that God is in full control. It reminds me that, if I am a David (a man after God’s own heart) then God is in control. If I’m going to be delivered into the hand of the devil at this point, God would have to do it. Even though my enemy seeks me everyday (and he does) he can not overtake me. God is hiding me in this wilderness. I sort of wish He was hiding me on the mountaintop in a gorgeous cabin with a beautiful view, but He is not. He is hiding me here…in this wilderness in the side of a mountain. But, He knows what He is doing. So, we just stay here and trust Him. We are doing everything in our power to only follow Him. To hear his voice and to do only what He says to do.
When I came home and read this verse again, the thought came to me, “I wonder if David could have just turned against God and walked out of the cave on his own for Saul to find him?” That sounds kind of dumb, doesn’t it? Why would a person turn from God and do what they think is best. Why would David just walk out of the cave and allow Saul to kill him when he could wait on God and later become a great king? Well, we only think that because we can see the end of the story. We already know what happens. But, we take matters into our own hands all the time. Rather than wait and trust God, we engineer our situations to work out like we think they should.
Yesterday afternoon, Clay and I got home from an eye doctor appointment and a trip to Whole Foods (I’ll tell you about that later) and we were pretty tired. I expected to hear from the insurance company that morning, so before I laid down for a minute, I called and left a message for our case worker. I dozed off for about an hour when my phone rang. It was Marie from Blue Cross. I rubbed my eyes and walked into the closet so I wouldn’t disturb Clay. Now, before I tell you this, remember what I wrote earlier about how we went to Houston praying we could come back home for treatment, but then we accepted that we probably needed to be in Houston, God provided housing and we actually started getting excited about Houston. So, I’m thinking this call is to confirm another miracle that God has done and Marie is about to tell me it’s all approved. Here’s what she says,
“Mrs. Furlow, I didn’t want to call you until I had all this information. I’m calling now to tell you that your request for treatment at MD Anderson was approved….(PAUSE)
My heart just kind of sighed, as if to say, “Oh, I knew that’s what you were going to say because God is so amazing.” Let’s get back to Marie….
(UNPAUSE)…as an Out of Network benefit, which means your coverage would be 60/40.”
What? Wait, I can’t breath. Hold on just a minute. My brain isn’t working. Huh? We waited a whole week to basically hear you say that we are declined? Huh? My mind wanted to just completely freak out. What do I do? Who do I call? We are supposed to start treatment Monday!! We’ll never find a doctor in Baton Rouge who can see us soon enough to start treatment Monday! The devil took the lowest road possible and said very loud right in my ear, “CLAY IS GOING TO DIE!!” As soon as I heard those words, I got so mad at him. I stopped for a minute and asked the Lord to help me get my thoughts under control. To take them captive. And, He did. I still couldn’t really breath, but I just had to determine in my heart not to lose it.
Marie advised that I call the Oncologist in BR who helped us get to MDA. His office told me that they can’t see us for a month, so that was another dead end. So, I called our precious friend Dr. Gummadi. I’ll probably right an entire blog on how the Lord has used him and his wife in our situation. It is such a miracle. So, in his very calm voice and with such a Godly spirit, he calmed me down even more and told me exactly what to do. He called the Oncologist he would like us to see and spoke directly to him about our situation. Then he told me which Radiology Oncologist to call. I just called the office directly and when the nurse answered the phone, I told her 3 sentences about our situation. She said, “Hang on just a minute, ma’am. I’m going to see if I can just get Dr. Russell on the phone.” I held for a minute and when she came back she said, “Can you be here tomorrow at 1:30?” Are you kidding me? You just happen to have an open appointment at 1:30 tomorrow? Um….yes! We can be there!
God is so sweet, isn’t He? When my world felt like it wanted to crash down on me and my hope felt lost, the devil was in that closet with me just waiting to press me down onto the floor into a puddle of tears and hopelessness. Can’t you just see him standing over me laughing and rubbing his fingers together in excitement that he is about to finally get a little victory in my situation? He was whispering in my ear. Actually, he was talking loudly in my ear. And, all he got was a deep breath, a few tears and a punch in the face. Maybe he’ll stop coming so close from now on. He should probably at least stay an arms length away from me. Hahaha! Thank you, Jesus!
So, everything is moving forward. We are back to the place we wanted to be in the beginning and our hearts are at peace. I know I keep saying this, but the very first thing the Lord showed me when we were waiting for our diagnosis on that Tuesday morning in the Baton Rouge General, was Psalm 33. It is not the horse we ride into battle that will save us. So, the doctor doesn’t really matter. But, the cool news is that several people have told me that Dr. Russell is a Christian. Amen! It will be so great to work with a believer right now. I am asking you to please pray for him. Clay’s tumor is unique in the way it spreads. It almost sounds demonic, but a glioblastoma tumor grows as a mass that is visible, but while it is growing, it places little seeds of cancer out in the brain matter around it. The seeds are not connected to the tumor and they are undetectable on an MRI. So, the Radiology Oncologist has a big job to do. He has to estimate where those little seeds are located and radiate those areas, too, without causing too much collateral damage to the brain. He has a huge task ahead of him. Please be in prayer for him that God will guide his thoughts and decisions. Pray that Clay will not have any side effects of damage to his abilities during treatment.
One last thing I want to tell you. Are you wondering why God let all the stuff happen with MDA? Why would He bring us there to meet the Radiologist and give us a peace about going there and then bring us back here. Well, let me assure you…He is NOT confused and He did not change His mind. He’s known all along exactly what He’s doing. There are two reasons, that I know of, that the Lord led us down the path the way He did:
- To teach me, again, not to take matters into my own hands. I had several people ask me if I could appeal the decision from BCBS and even people offering to help with the appeal prior to our response from them. I had already determined in my heart that God would give us the correct answer the first time and I would have to accept it. I knew we wouldn’t appeal because we had prayed for His leading. But, when she told me 60/40, the first thing I asked was, “Can we appeal?” Ha! I hate myself sometimes. Anyway, that feeling passed as soon as I punched the devil in the face and remembered that God is control. So, He taught me, again, to trust Him.
- For a friend of mine named Anne. I haven’t asked her permission to write about her on the blog, so all I can say is that her name is Anne, for now. Last week, when I posted that we were probably going to MDA, this precious lady called me. She said, “You don’t even know me, but….” She and her husband live just minutes from MDA and they are leaving their beautiful home for the Summer. She offered it to me and Clay to stay there for free. The conversation quickly turned to the Lord. We talked about the Lord for 45 minutes. I explained how He has walked with us and talked to us and helped us so much during this time. I believe the Lord really ministered to Anne in that moment. Just think, I never would have had that opportunity to talk to her if this had not happened. I believe that God loves Anne enough to take me down this little detour in order to reach her. Isn’t that just cool to think about. I now have a forever friend and Anne knows a little more about her Savior.
I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Thank you for sending me stories of how our lives are touching yours. Thank you for praying continually and texting me to make sure I know it. Thank you for ministering to our needs. Thank you for visiting. Thank you for just being you. Here are a few pics from the past few days.
The eye doctor appointment was not very helpful. Clay is having trouble with blurriness and the doc said we’ll have to wait about 6 months to know if it is permanent or not. So, we’re trying readers for now, but they are not helping. Pray for clarity of vision. Thanks, everyone, for all the food. It is such a help to me right now. We love the visits from precious friends. Oh, and check out my bracelets above! Amanda Grosze made those for me. I love them. They are a constant reminder on my arm of all that God is doing through our testimony. We love y’all. Be blessed today! Stay in your wilderness where God has placed you and He will not deliver you into the hand of your enemy.
P.S. If you find errors in this blog today, please forgive me. I’m in a hurry to leave and I didn’t proof the whole thing!