As some of you figured out, I have been in New Zealand for the past three weeks visiting family. My father had been diagnosed with liver cancer late last year and was told at the time that the cancer was incurable and inoperable, so was placed on palliative care with a fairly bleak and brief prognosis. There was more tumor in his liver than healthy cells. By God’s grace, he was admitted into a trial treatment involving a new way of delivering radiation to the liver, though was told that there was a good chance that nothing would happen, and that the best he could hope for was a 45 percent chance that there would be at most a 50 percent reduction in the size of the liver.
Last Friday, I was with him when his oncologist reported the results from an MRI that had been scheduled to check on the progress of the treatment. The report was a shock–in the doctors’ words, a “complete response.” No cancer anywhere. It’s a reminder of the mystery and marvel of God’s grace.
Another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to attend and preach at Nelson Baptist Church, New Zealand’s oldest Baptist church, last Sunday. It’s a church that both my grandfather and father pastored, though at different times. It’s also a special church for me because my parents met and married there, I was dedicated there, my grandmother attended there and still has friends there who remember me as a young child, and my brother has also preached there.
For those of you who are interested, I slotted into the pastor’s series on Romans and preached from Romans 3:21 to 4:25.