At last the day of surgery is here. Tomorrow I shall be in hospital at 5:00 am (or thereabouts!) for an operation lasting 4-5 hours. The last few days have passed ploddingly with business as usual in seminary work and teaching, yet set against this weird backdrop of cold-blooded surgery. I well remember a past operation when I was in so much pain I was pleading for the scalpel and would have given permission for amputation if that helped! Going into theater was a non-negotiable. Please. Please. But this time the lack of pain and the long wait gives an aura of unreality. Do I really have cancer that needs such drama? Well, apparently so!
Along the way I am sorry to report that I have not been given profound spiritual insights. I know some people do have them. But, for us, there has been a degree of numbness. Yet, part of this numbness actually testifies to workaday peace and faith that has encouraged us to place the future in God's safe hands. Remarkably, we have experienced prayer at work every hour. Formally, we have both been prayed for with laying on of hands and richly affirming prayers of faith in different contexts. Informally, a circle of people around the world has wrapped around us with messages of love and prayer. What a difference such praying has made. I once preached a sermon called: "What happens when we don't pray?" We are so grateful that we shall not find out! And how much we have valued your care. It has startled us what people are prepared to do, like our neighbors here on Fowler Circle who have formed a couple of teams to cook us meals on my return from hospital. This is a special time of receiving love and care. Within it all I know that God is holding us in hope and healing power. Oh yes!
There has been some fun too. I agreed to join a research program into which I (plus around 300 others) have been entered which requires extra pathological tests, bone density scan and very (very) lengthy questionnaires about my fitness and food consumption. I have just spent 1 and a half hours on the densest food questionnaire imaginable. It's all in aid of research to establish whether there is any link between prostate cancer, diet and obesity. Unfortunately my love of ice cream is now on record. Hopefully, such personal details may benefit someone!
Anyway, I shall look forward to updating you on the other side of surgery. Thank you for your continuing prayers.