The first 100 days post-transplant are extremely tough. All things considered, Jenny is holding up remarkably well as today closed out her 52nd day. The rash, caused by GVHD (graft v. host disease), is somewhat advanced affecting over 50% of her skin area. The docs don't want to increase her steroid dosage, which is used to keep the rash under control, so they've moved to the next step. She's starting phototherapy (a procedure that is similar to a tanning bed session) three times a week for five weeks. She will have to wear special glasses when she's outside the house for the next five weeks to protect her eyes from UV rays which can put her at risk for cataracts. Thankfully, she is able to eat more now. Though Jen is still in the throws of her 100 days, we are continuing to offer prayers of thanksgiving. Thankful the Lord has brought her this far, and He will not leave or forsake her now. Please join us in praying that the phototherapy sessions will resolve the GVHD, that she will tolerate them well, and that she will be encouraged daily during this battle with her cancer's aftermath.
I've been reading through the book of Joshua, and it struck me this evening how incredibly poignant Joshua's story is right now in our lives and especially Jennifer's. After Moses' death, it is left to Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land- Cannan. Trouble is, it's occupied. For the Israelites to gain control over the land they must fight for it. The first five chapters set the stage for what's about to go down.... Joshua and the people are in a state of preparation as they focus in on taking the key city of Jericho. God reminds them of His great power by leading them across the Jordan River, during flood stage, on dry ground. Their ancestors saw Him do it with the Red Sea. Now it's their turn. They gather rocks from the river's bed as proof of His might and as proof of His deserving their utmost repect and honor.
Once they've crossed the river, the Israelites set up shop just outside of Jericho and wait for instructions as a blanket of tension envelopes their camp. Then, Joshua has a divine encounter with none other than the commander of the Lord's army. Joshua asks for a command but first he gets overwhelming affirmation: The Lord said to Joshua, "Look, I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its fighting men...." The Lord goes on to describe to Joshua, in detail, exactly how he wants him to take the city. Not with swords, shields, horses, and carriages but with horns and trumpets and shouts. Joshua relays the command to the priests (his army) and the 'battle' ensues.
God gave the Israelites victory that day. Literally, handed their enemies into their hands. Unbelievable, right? Oh, but believe we do. For it is this faith, this belief in these unbelievable stories of the 'little guy' coming out on top because they've got the one true God fighting not with them but FOR them that keeps us hanging on. It gives us hope. Perhaps the most unbelievable of all these stories of this great God doing mighty things for this helpless people is the one involving the selfless sacrifice of His perfect Son. The sacrifice that ended, once and for all, the battle that wages in all of us- the battle against sin. Like He did for Joshua, God gives us a sneak peek into how it all is going to turn out: He tells us, "Look. I've taken care of all of it. I have won. Sin and Satan and the power they hold will not prevail. Trust. Believe. Have faith. My Son paid the price. He went to war in your place, and He came away victorious. You will struggle through many battles in this life, in this world. But join with ME, for I have WON THE WAR, and we will be VICTORIOUS."
The Vandy Verse:
...Be strong and brave! Joshua 1:6
Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don't be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go. Joshua 1:9
...Just be strong and brave! Joshua 1:18