I’ve always considered myself to have been truly blessed with unusually good health.  With the exception of that one year in fifth grade when I had measles, mumps and chicken-pox all in one year, I just haven’t had much illness.  At 52 years of age, I take no regular medicines, have had no major health issues, and few illnesses.  I have never been admitted overnight to a hospital.  I’ve had no surgeries requiring general anesthesia.  Never had an IV, nor a scan more sophisticated than a basic X-ray.

Last week all that changed.

Last week, I learned I have throat cancer.

Last week I went from being the guy holding a loved-one’s hand while dealing with medical issues to being the guy with medical issues.  I quickly became a pro at accepting an IV and lying still for CT Scans and PET Scans.  I am not yet recovered from one surgery and am preparing for another surgery tomorrow morning.

My head is still spinning.  I give full credit to my medical team for moving quickly to assess and address the situation.  Emotionally, I’m not sure I’ve caught up yet.  I’ve always been the guy blessed with unusually good health.  How do I accept, across one week, that I’m now a cancer patient?

And yet…in some ways, I feel I’ve prepared my entire life for just this sort of event.  I’ve lived my entire adult life very aware of my own mortality, careful to live with no regrets, never taking anything for granted.  Always quick to say “I love you” or “I’m sorry” because we never know whether we’ll have another chance…generally choosing walking over driving just because I can, because my legs work well and we never know how long that will be true.  Taking the time to enjoy each sunrise, each sunset, each rainbow, each moonrise, because it is in these moments we glimpse His glory.

More than that, my life has, of necessity, been lived learning to trust God…to trust that He knows what I do not…that He loves me immensely…that He has my best interest at heart even more than I do.

I can still point to so many areas of rich blessing.  I am blessed to have a good prognosis with an excellent chance of returning to a healthy active lifestyle after completion of surgery and treatments.  I am blessed to have such a wonderfully supportive loving family to encourage and pray for me.  I am blessed to have a good job and good health insurance with no immediate financial concerns.  I am blessed to have a peaceful home surrounded by pastures with cows and horses to enjoy as I recuperate.

And yet…I become increasingly aware that these are all rich manifestations of my deepest blessing.

The true blessing of the believer is God’s presence. Click To Tweet

His loving companionship is the blessing that will never be removed…that accompanies me every step of the way…from life to life through all eternity.

Because I am His, I am blessed beyond measure.

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:

For thou art with me;

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil;

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  (Psalm 23)


Have a very Merry Christmas, enjoying the blessing of Christ’s presence!


[Linked to Messy Marriage, Wild Flowers, Wellspring, Redeemed Life, Tell His Story ]


33 thoughts on “Blessed!

  1. This is a chilling moment for you, I know, but I can speak as another guy with cancers to bear witness to the blessings that emerge from this experience.
    I hope all the people who love you and pray for you will step forward, just as they have for me.
    There’s more to us than flesh; we are creatures of faith and devotion. This becomes clear, as it never has before.
    Joseph, my love and prayers are with you.
    Cousin Larry

  2. I’m so sorry to hear of this diagnosis, Joe. A cancer diagnosis is something that throws you off your feet, for sure! But I’m so glad that it sounds as if you have a good prognosis. And as one who has had that ugly “C” word given to me, I am here to say it is quite beatable. I pray that God does that miracle in your life, my friend. I pray that the process and recovery is easier than expected and is always infused with God’s comforting presence and love. I do hope that you are able to enjoy the holidays and bask in the good God has brought out of your life in so many ways–knowing He will continue to do so. Your life has truly been redeemed in more ways than you or I know. You are in my prayers, my friend! And Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Beth recently posted…Comment on Merry Christmas, my friends! by MaryMy Profile

    • Thank you, Beth! Yes, it’s only been about a year since we were praying for you with a similar diagnosis. I am so thankful for God’s healing power in your life!

      I appreciate you, my friend! Have a blessed advent season!
      joe recently posted…Blessed!My Profile

  3. Joe, I am praying for you and your family through this trial. May wisdom be given to the doctor’s that are caring for you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s for many to come!

  4. Joe,
    We are ‘blessed’ by your transparency. Amidst the busyness of medical procedures you have paused to share your Hope in Christ.
    This resonates personally for me. I was misdiagnosed for two years and then finally by God’s grace a specialist was available that confirmed damage and that I now have to be monitored for throat cancer. So far, I’m fine but I live knowing that it could change and I am trying to ‘move on’ in life amidst emotional tension.
    Yes, we have many blessings and Joe, you have blessed us with your blog and many encouraging ‘comments’ on other blogs. Many are praying for you.
    May you and your loved ones continue to look up to Him this Christmas and into the New Year.
    Look forward to receiving updates – as time permits. 🙂

    • Thank you, HIH, for the encouraging note and prayers! I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having to deal with the unease of check ups for potential cancer…and so glad you caught it in time to be vigilant.

      In the end, our only true assurance is found resting in Christ.

      Have a very blessed Christmas!
      joe recently posted…Blessed!My Profile

  5. Blessings to you, Joseph! Although we haven’t met, you have been very kind and supportive to me. Prayers for your healing every time I think of you. Anticipating meeting you in person one day soon. Wishing you and your family the warmest of Christmases!

  6. Dear Joe thankyou for sharing your journey I am blessed by your Christmas message and will be focusing on Christ’s presence to get me through this season with family not being together. I feel so sad that you have Cancer and all that you are going through- will be lifting you up to our Father in prayer. with love and thoughts from Australia:)

    • Thank you, so much, Andrew! You are truly a blessing to me.

      I pray you have a very blessed Holiday Season, enjoying the presence of Christ reflected in the love of family and friends.
      joe recently posted…Blessed!My Profile

  7. Joe, my heart sunk when I read the unexpected line about throat cancer. I am sad you are going through what must be a dizzying range of emotions.
    But I’m also grateful for your continued reminders to trust the Lord… In good times and bad. He remains the same, even when our circumstances don’t.
    Wishing you and your family a special time of closeness during this holiday season.
    I’ll look forward to hearing your progress as you recover.

    • Thank you, Denise!

      Yes, I really have enjoyed my family this holiday season. So much joy just in the simple pleasure of having them near.

      Have a very blessed Christmas season, my friend!
      joe recently posted…Blessed!My Profile

  8. Joe, Wow. I’m so sorry for the diagnosis. I am so thankful for the faith you are showing as you begin this unexpected journey. I’ll be praying for you in the days and weeks to come.

    I still remember meeting you at ACFW and praying for you (you may not have known it 🙂 ) as you waited for your first appointment with an agent or editor. Your upbeat outlook and personality are a blessing to many.

    May God be your strength, and may His presence be so intimate during this season.

  9. Joe,

    A dear friend of mine had throat cancer and her journey and winning over the cancer changed her life. She’s a singer and the diagnosis rocked her world. Now she sings for God with a wonderful worship team.

    My prayer for you is you will go closer to God through your journey.

  10. I’m visiting from Andrew’s blog. Such a beautiful truth:
    “His loving companionship is the blessing that will never be removed…that accompanies me every step of the way…from life to life through all eternity.

    Because I am His, I am blessed beyond measure.”

    Only God knows exactly what the future holds with this diagnosis, but what we know and you share so powerfully here is that He will never ever leave or forsake you.

    Father God continue to fill Joe and his family with your hope, joy and peace, as He walks in trust.

    From Philippians 4
    I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

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