Not Afraid of Bad News

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Among the many deep mysteries God has revealed in his word is the mystery of marriage and how the marriage covenant models the covenant between Christ and his church.

In Ephesians 5, Paul writes, “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

Michelle and I recently celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. We actually started our “courtship” in middle school, some ten years before marriage. Over the years, we have made mistakes, learned lessons, and grown in our understanding of the divine mystery of marriage. I have also come to see God’s goodness in his concern that Adam not be alone. And I have, by God’s grace, begun to appreciate the opportunity that my marriage gives me to model the sacrificial and selfless love of Christ for his church. I confess I haven’t taken full advantage of that opportunity but it is my growing desire.

A couple of weeks ago, Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. Since current studies indicate that 4 in 10 Americans will have some type of cancer during their lifetime, we know we are facing a battle that has become all too common in our family and in nearly every household across the country. But common doesn’t mean easy, especially when it’s cancer.

As we reluctantly begin this journey, God has set two things in front of me. First, God led me to Psalm 112 where the Psalmist says the man who fears the Lord “is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid” (vv7-8). We fear the Lord and refuse to be afraid of cancer. Second, my job as a husband has not changed. Obeying Ephesians 5, I am to hold fast to my wife, nourishing and cherishing her, loving her as I love myself, for the two are one flesh.

Something more has also become clear. God has given us a support group spanning the state and nation. The prayers and encouragement of our Southern Baptist family in Kentucky and beyond humble us. We are no more deserving of those prayers than anyone else but, should the Lord bring Michelle to mind, know I am grateful for every petition before his throne.

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  1. Roxanne Nanney
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Lifting you both up in prayer. Thank you for your faithfulness to His Word. This scripture came to mind as I thought of you both. It is my prayer for you during this time:

    1Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)
    May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

    Roxanne Nanney

  2. Steve Hall
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Paul – We are praying for you and Michelle. We added you to our prayer list Sunday and you will remain there as long as needed. Please let me know what I/we can do in the Men’s Chorale to help as well.

    Blessings, Steve Hall

  3. Vicky
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Just want you and Michelle to know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray God continues to wrap you in His loving arms so that you feel secure in Him. God bless!

  4. Curtis Brock
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Bro. Paul-Just saw the news about Michelle. I will add her and you to our prayer list @ Mt. Freeman Baptist Church, Junction City, Ky.

  5. mark payton
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Paul know that I am praying for your family through this.

  6. Rita Richardson
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Bro. Paul:
    So enjoyed seeing you a few weeks ago but so sorry to hear about Michelle. Just wanted you to know that we have Michelle and your entire family on our prayer list. Charlie and I are praying for your family and asking God to bring you through this trial. Rita Richardson

  7. Posted August 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Bro. Paul, you and Michelle are in our prayers!

  8. Sue Calvert
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Brother Paul
    I wanted you and Michelle to know you all are in my prayers. I am a 12 year survivor and know what she is going through. I am available at anytime to talk if she would want to. I love you both and know that God has a plan.

  9. Chuck Lawless
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Pam and I are praying, friends.

  10. Shelly Johns
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I continue to pray for Michelle, the children and you. Be encouraged.

  11. Debbie Cook
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Please know that the Cook family joins many others who are lifting you and yours up to the great Physician. Especially praying for peace for both of you and your kids.
    Serving a Mighty God

  12. Posted August 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    We are praying for strength and healing!

  13. Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Bro. Paul,

    Your friends and family here at Pleasant Grove add our prayers and join our hearts with you and all your other prayer partners.


  14. Bill Patterson
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ll regularly lift you and Michelle in prayer, Paul

  15. Joey Rippy
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Paul, know that the Rippy family is lifting your family up in prayer during this most challenging time.
    God is so good!

  16. vicki hall
    Posted August 10, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Paul ..I just learned about Michelle today. I know the Lord will bless you all with the courage to fight and win!!! Please give Michelle a hug for me and let her know that our family is praying for her. If there is anything that I can do to help please let me know. I am off work every day arround 3:00. I could help out with the kidos any time after 3:00… LOve always, Chris and Vicki

  17. Amy
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Your family has been in my thoughts and my prayers… I am so grateful for the impact you have both had on my life and I pray for a miracle, and am in awe of Michelle’s strength, and yours, as Nate shared your story publicly last week saying that Michelle is only concerned that God be glorified through this. I pray for Daniel and Anna and Chai to all be blessed through this as you all grow in your faith! Your family is so important to me and I pray that she will be healed miraculously as only He can do… I love you both, in Christ, and am so thankful that God placed you both in my life, in His timing and hope I can return the prayers you all prayed for me in my time of need!!! We miss your families presence at FBC and I can so vividly see Michelle’s smile…she’s a beautiful Godly woman that I will always admire!! May God bless you all through this and we will be praying you all through this!!!

  18. Stacy Crawford
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I have been praying for Michelle’s healing since I heard the news of her diagnosis. Please tell her I love her and will continue to lift you all up in prayer. Michelle’s humor, her strength, and her devotion to God and to her family have all been points of encouragement to me and so many others who have crossed her path. She is precious to so many! I am so thankful that she has such a wonderful, supportive family and I know you are all taking extra good care of her. Thank you for keeping us posted.