Wednesday, May 09, 2007

On Affliction

I have now completed the second round of medical treatments for my relapsed leukemia. After finishing four courses of arsenic trioxide, I transitioned to the stem-cell harvest phase. This required six shots a day for four days of the drug Neupagen, which raises your stem-cell levels in your blood stream. The shots weren't particularly painful (my wife and nursing student daughter did the dirty work), but they resulted in bone pain. This past Monday I went to Hackensack University Medical Center to have my cells harvested. To harvest them, a catheter had to be placed in my upper chest. Imagine an IV the size of pencil. I had to sit hooked up to a machine which separates your blood into components, and saves the stem-cells. It took five hours to complete the process. I had to do the same thing again yesterday. So I've been undergoing a fair bit of affliction, pain, anxiety, etc. The good news is that they got the required amount of stem-cells in just two days, and today I had the big catheter removed.

Feeling afflicted these past few days made me turn to Graham Miller's wonderful anthology of quotes from John Calvin. Here are a few which put our afflictions into their proper context.

"The disciples of Christ must walk among thorns, and march to the cross amidst uninterrupted afflictions" (Harmony of the Gospel, I:388).

"For God does not consider, in chastening the faithful, what they deserve; but what will be useful to them in the future; and fulfills the office of a physician rather than of a judge" (Gen. I:178).

"Many crosses spring forth to us from the root of God's favour" (Gen II:266).

"When visited with affliction, it is of great importance that we should consider it as coming from God, as expressly intended for our good" (Ps. II:472).

"The best fruit of afflictions is, when we are brought to purge our minds from all arrogance, and to bend them to meekness and modesty" (Ps. III:201).

"Our afflictions prepare us for receiving the grace of God" (Is. II:333).

"The afflictions of the Church are always momentary, when we raise our eyes to its eternal happiness" (Is. IV:141).

"Afflictions are not evils, because they have glory annexed to them...We are not afflicted by chance, but through the infallible providence of God" (Gen. Epp. 43).


Blogger Rileysowner said...

The great thing about Calvin saying these things is that he did so from the standpoint of a person who was afflicted in many ways. From what I remember he would often only get a few hours of sleep a night because of his pain, but instead of complaining, he would work to glorify God.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Anman said...

All statements true, we can put through various pains for a reason, however in some cases those pains can last for an extended period of time and cause the person to eventually give up on life. Myself personally, gone and still going through so much, sometimes feel that gods doing it just so I can rely on him to keep me going.

7:44 AM  

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