Follow the letters and thoughts flowing from the heart of Marcelo as a response to a Divine and Sovereign Presence who comforts, encourages and continually motivates his smile, even amidst the troubles he is facing.
Pray for Marcelo and his wife Ruth; in this blog you will also discover how you can help.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

When God turns tragedy into triumph

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My last post may have caused in your hearts a certain gloom over this terrible disease.  As for me, I was perplexed as to what the specialists in bone marrow transplants had to say about the destructive capacity of a level 4 AML (acute myeloid leukemia). The social services staff of the the hospital even suggested that we rent one of the apartments near the hospital, because even if I was discharged I'd have to live very close to the hospital because of the possible occurrence of major risks during any phase of the transplant. This combined with other information produced a feeling of bewilderment, as I told you in another post, and led me to yearn to depart and be with the Lord. 

While returning from the Transplant Center for Lutheran Hospital, I was still and quiet, just prayed in my heart this way: "Dear Lord, I accept fully Your purpose for my life, just teach me to glorify the Lord in the midst of pain and suffering.  I confess to Thee, O God, the intimate desire of my heart is to live a little longer to serve You in all faithfulness and admire the radiance of your glory emanating from this earthen vessel to the glory of the Lord Jesus." 

Returning to Lutheran Hospital, I continued pouring my heart before the Father, moaning in fact in my heart, longing to be clothed with my heavenly glory. This lasted several hours in deep communion in prayer. At one point I noticed something happening in my heart. I share this with you carefully, as I do not want to think that I feel like someone who deserves special attention of God.  I am an unworthy sinner, that by the grace of God I have enjoyed this wonderful privilege to be chosen by the same grace to know you better in the midst of pain. My heart was touched by a soft voice that asked: "Why do not you ask for a miracle?" This was pounding in my heart for a while so I called my dear Ruth and told her what I was feeling. 

Beloved, let me tell you something: Since I was sick I never asked directly to God in prayer for a miraculous intervention, even when I was still in Brazil at that early treatment (remember?) when I prayed to meet the His purpose in me and glorify His name Magnificent through my life or my death. But now, I felt a very strong impulse in my heart pushing me to cry out directly for a miraculous manifestation of His power in this situation. And for the first time, my friends I believe I'm telling the truth, I asked God for a miracle! Then I called Ruth and we prayed together in tears in response to that feeling that was beating in my heart, for a miracle of God that night (this was on November 17th on Tuesday afternoon). 

Shortly thereafter, a missionary there in the Amazon called me on Skype to see how the consultation went and one thing it was repeated twice: "Marcelo we are asking God to work a miracle in your life".  My heart jumped, while hot tears rolled down my face and made me intensify my prayers before the Father of Mercies. 

On Thursday the 19th, they did a myelogram at the request of the transplant team to see if the last chemotherapy had reduced the leukemia.  The results of the tests came out that same night. Dr. Caskey had brought the result to open the door to my room and had a broad smile, and the first thing she said was: "I have good news! The Myelogram found no cell leukemia in his bones!" Ruth and I collapsed in tears of joy and gratitude to the Lord. But the waited for us to recover it to say that this is only a preliminary result, we would have to await the final outcome from more accurate tests on the material harvested from bone marrow to confirm or not this information. This analysis is done outside of Colorado and takes two days to arrive. 

I took the opportunity to give a testimony of our faith in God Almighty and shared about our relationship with Him, a living God who is absolutely sovereign, but also intervenes in the lives of those who trust in Him. I told her that the night before I had prayed that the test results reveal the power of God over that disease. The doctor  listened carefully said: "I hope God continues to answer your prayers, keep praying, pray for me ...." My sister-in-law Reuma who was translating added that God can use her life and the other doctors to perform His will and show His power. 

Today afternoon (Saturday) Dr. Caskey came to see me again, bringing results from the more accurate tests made another state (do not know why but they rushed the result), and she confirmed that the examination It shows that my bone marrow is clean from leukemia. That is, they found no trace of atypical cells or leukemia. The spine totally clean! A miracle!

My heart was pounding.  My soul seemed to walk in the clouds.  I wanted to scream with joy in praise to the great and powerful King.   I held back for a few moments to hear the thoughts of the doctor.  She also keep saying that I'm almost out of blood cells that enable an accurate test, and that we must be calm, wait and continue with the plans because the disease can be hidden and manifest itself in another relapse. This does not overshadow my joy and I thought prudent to wait and continue with the tests and evaluations. 

I'll go through a period of recovery from bone marrow that will take 6 weeks, because right now the leukocytes remain at zero and the other rates remain low, and need some assistance with transfusions. In the meantime, I'll probably be discharged, but I have to come to the hospital every day for tests and monitoring. 

Dear brothers, there is so much joy and gratitude to the Lord pouring out of my heart. I know you and many others also share this joy with me. We have a Wonderful God that can turn tragedy into triumph! I feel like never before the mighty hand of God guiding our lives. I wish so much I could be there with you to be able to share all that I feel when I see myself totally surrounded by this ineffable and sweet grace of our dear Lord Jesus. There is someone so unworthy as I am, and there is someone whose mercy the Lord has revealed so as abundant. 

My answer to all this goodness of God to me is a gift of life for the beauty of Christ to be seen in me every day of our lives! 

Full comfort and joy that comes from the Lord, 

Marcelo and Ruth.

1 comment:

  1. Marcelo & Ruth, Please forgive me in advance the content of this correspondence, for I am not gifted, as you are; I have read your blogs, in expressing myself in the written form. I feel however that The Lord of Hosts has put upon my heart share my thoughts with you, as it relates to our brief association.

    Some time ago, I felt a leading from the Lord to volunteer at the Cancer Center at Lutheran Hospital, so that I might be able to serve in some small way, those that are going through the pain, uncertainty and reality of being afflicted with cancer and the indescribable side effects that come with the treatment, and or assisting the angels (nurses) that give their heart and souls on a daily basis caring for those who are sick. My hope was that through my own life experience with cancer and a leading from the Holy Spirit that I might be a blessing to someone along the way. I have been a volunteer for only a short time now, and perhaps someone has felt a measure of encouragement, because God allowed me to be there. It is not for me to say. I do know however, as is many times the case, the way I envision circumstances and the way God does, end up being different. As it turns out, I am the one who has been richly blessed. Through our short visits together, I feel humbly fortunate to have seen the work of Christ manifest itself before my very eyes. In other words I see Jesus in both of you and I am thankful to the heavens that God brought us together even for a short time.

    Ruth, despite this difficult trial, it is quite evident you have much joy in your heart, and it warms those around you like the afternoon sun. Marcelo, your eyes reflect God’s mercy, your smile is an invitation of friendship, and your spirit as gentle as a soft breeze. I felt the breath of the Holy Spirit in your room, and I am certain it remains wherever you are. I express my sympathy and compassion that you are going through this illness, but take heart that you have one another, and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as your support group.

    Be encouraged that God has chosen you to be a disciple of Christ and His love for you is unwavering. That modern medicine is achieving great strides in the quest to cure cancer, and there are people in the body, around the world that are praying for you to be healed. My prayer for you Marcelo, is that you will be completely healed and your body made whole again. For both of you I pray that your faith in God will be strengthened during this season, and your walk with Christ will continue to grow. Thank you Ruth for inviting me come to visit with Marcelo, I will always be grateful. Please let me know when I may visit again.

    Your Brother in Christ


    Psalm 25

    To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
    2 in you I trust, O my God.
    Do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
    3 No one whose hope is in you
    will ever be put to shame,
    but they will be put to shame
    who are treacherous without excuse.
    4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
    teach me your paths;
    5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
    6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.