Glioblastoma…it’s a word that up until recently I was completely unfamiliar with.  Had somebody asked me what a glioblastoma was, my best guess would have been that it sounds like a weapon straight out of a Star Wars movie.  But on July 23 I found out what it is.  It’s the most common type of brain tumor that actually originates in the brain.  It’s nasty.  It’s mean.  And while there aren’t many things that I can say I hate in this world, I can truthfully say that about a glioblastoma.  I hate glioblastomas. There, I said it. I hate them because for reasons unknown to any of us, one of those tumors decided to take up residence in my daughter Kim’s brain.  Thankfully the doctor was able to remove 95-97% of it, but this tumor doesn’t give up easily so we’ve got a real battle on our hands.

And for that battle we have one very special weapon.  It’s called “the sword of the Spirit” which, as many of you know, is a term that the Bible uses to describe itself.  The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  And oh how we have leaned on that Word as we search it regularly for golden nuggets of truth breathed into the hearts of the prophets, apostles, and evangelists whom God specifically chose to get His message down on paper so that we who are centuries removed from it can still tap into it for strength, comfort, peace, and hope.

In the light of that last statement, I’ve got a question for you.  It has to do with one of my biggest pet peeves.  It’s typically heard coming from the lips of a staunch unbeliever; a person who is so hardened in his heart that he has no room, no place, and no desire for the God Who made him.  As he puffs out his chest a bit with a rather snide, arrogant grin on his face, he voices his opinion that usually sounds something like this:  “Christianity is a crutch for the weak, for those who just can’t make it on their own.”

The reason that gets under my skin so much is because it is so true.  And anyone who claims that they don’t need a crutch of some sort when times get tough has either never faced a major challenge or they are flat-out lying.

As for me, I’m not embarrassed or ashamed one bit to say that yes, I have needed and still do need a crutch.  Let me explain.

  • I needed a crutch the night of July 9 when I got a phone call from my son-in-law Micah while I was in Springfield attending our District Convention. When he asked me how the convention was going, I thought that was kind of odd.  But when he said, “You’re going to have to come home,” my heart began to pound because I knew that Kim had been to the ER twice that day due to an ongoing severe headache.  And sure enough, the CT scan they did that evening revealed the unthinkable: a 2-inch tumor in the right front quadrant of her brain and her immediate need to be transported by ambulance to St. Louis University Hospital.
  • I needed a crutch when I had to make the phone call to Marilyn, knowing that it would be absolutely devastating and I would not be there to hold her and comfort her.
  • I needed a crutch those long difficult days that we spent at St. Louis University Hospital where the one I’ve always called “my little girl” was given large doses of steroids to shrink the tumor as much as possible before surgery, steroids that made her exceedingly uncomfortable.
  • I needed a crutch the day of her surgery as about 20 of us family members and Kim’s friends anxiously waited for the doctor to come in and tell us how the surgery went.
  • I needed a crutch as we waited another whole week for the results of the pathology report, fervently praying every day that the news would be good.
  • I needed a crutch the morning that we were to go to St. Louis and find out what kind of tumor the surgeon had removed from Kim’s brain. I did a little research that morning on the many different types of brain tumors that are out there.  I knew the name of the one that I wanted to hear, the one that would pose the least problems.  And I knew the one I didn’t want to hear.  I didn’t want to hear the doctor say glioblastoma.
  • I needed a crutch while we waited for Dr. Mercier to come and give us the news.
  • I needed a crutch when Kim and Micah met with him privately once he arrived. Those were five of the toughest minutes I have ever been through.
  • I needed a crutch when the door opened and we who were waiting were invited in. After showing us the post-operative MRI that revealed he had gotten 95-97% of the tumor, Dr. Mercier then used the word that I did not want to hear. He said it was a glioblastoma.
  • And I’ve needed a crutch ever since then as we have tried to process all of this.

   And guess what?  God has provided that crutch.  In fact, He’s provided numerous crutches, including the following:

  • Kim and Micah’s seemingly endless circle of friends who started a meal train the whole time Kim was in the hospital which saw a meal brought to us every day between 5:00 and 5:30. That meal train has continued now that they’re home.
  • A church family that held a prayer vigil for Kim the night before her surgery and that has continued to show its support for all of us in a multitude of ways.
  • A Bible that includes hundreds of verses and promises that come straight from the heart of a loving, understanding God and that are just full of so much comfort, hope, and strength.
  • Most importantly, God has provided Himself as THE crutch to lean on, to cry out to, to hold onto, to trust in…a God who has already taken care of our biggest problem in life, namely, the problem of our sin. And He did it in the most amazing of ways, by giving up His one and only Son on an ugly, blood-stained cross where that Son took your sins and my sins upon His shoulders and suffered the hellish punishment that we deserved, all so that we could be forgiven, cleansed, redeemed, and saved…and ultimately spend eternity with Him where we will never need a crutch again.

So if Christianity is a crutch for the weak, then call me weak.  If it’s a crutch for the weary and burdened, then call me weary and burdened.  If it’s a crutch for those who can’t make it on their own, then call me one who can’t make it on his own.  Just don’t take my crutch away because I don’t know how I would ever get through this without it!

Leaning on His everlasting arms,