Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. The bulbs protruding from the ground, buds and blossoms bursting forth from bushes and trees are a vivid reminder of God’s faithfulness that he promised to Noah immediately after the flood in Genesis 6, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
Our family loves springtime for what it points to – ultimate renewal when the full beauty of the garden is restored – but also because we enjoy being stewards of the ground God has blessed us with. Spring is a time for life, a time when the gardens are tilled, seeds are sown, and plants are cared for, all with a view of the coming good food to appreciate and enjoy.
Last spring when we had just begun journeying with Markus and his fight against cancer we had moments where our passion for gardening waned. At times we even contemplated leaving the gardens fallow for a year. But Markus and Micah were quick to encourage us to press on. “It’s what gives you so much pleasure, you’ve got to do it!” they said. We’re glad we did.
Depending on where you live in Canada, springtime is here again. And for the second straight year as we witness renewal and rebirth in God’s creation, we are facing death. Markus’ scan today showed that the tumours in his lungs continue to grow and multiply. They also did an X-ray on his right shoulder (the site of the primary tumour which has been causing some pain recently) and there are some pretty serious issues with the hardware that will need to be addressed. All to say, humanly speaking the opportunities to treat his cancer with a hope of cure look like they have been exhausted.
As we seek to find meaning in all of this we reflect on the ultimate renewal we all look forward and long for. Paul says it so well when he writes to the Christians in Philippi, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” Markus’ body is breaking down and it appears that the cancer is unstoppable. What a joyous comfort to know that there will come a time when his body will be restored fully!
As the prospect of Markus’ death comes closer, we are focusing on living well, and dying well. If the past few weeks are an indication (and as you can see from the photos below) Markus won’t have any trouble living well. It’s been such a joy to see him get On the Mark Maintenance up and running and get his first few clients signed up. Markus has been motivated to start his own business for a long time and when God had other plans, he showed incredible patience as his focus for the past year had to be on fighting cancer. As we wrote about last time, Markus is very purposeful about using the time he has to serve God with his passions and skills, and when he is physically unable to do the work we will do everything we can to assist him.
Dying well is something we don’t know much about yet, although we know that the future will include more suffering. We are thankful for the resources that are available through BC Children’s Hospital and have already been introduced to Canuck Place, a hospice with experts in palliative care and all that will be required to manage Markus’ symptoms as they worsen.
Since Markus was diagnosed with cancer we have experienced love, both of God and of people around us and we know that as the days get darker we will continue to be blessed by caring family and friends. Ultimately, knowing Jesus makes all the difference, and we know that His love for us is so great that He sent His only son to suffer and die for Markus and all those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. It is because of His death and resurrection that Markus can look forward with certainty to life eternal with Jesus.
What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.
He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me hearty willing and ready from now on to live for him. (Lord’s Day 1, Heidelberg Catechism)