Home > Healing Journey > Misneach (MISH-nock)

Misneach (MISH-nock)

I recently came across an Irish word that is full of beauty and meaning in my life: Misneach (MISH-nock). It speaks of courage, spirit and hopefulness in pushing forward in the midst of uncertainty. I have been thinking about this word throughout this week.

I have written of some of the health struggles that I have faced this fall. This week, I met with the neurosurgeon. Much hope and anticipation had been put into this one appointment – all the specialists I have seen were deferring to this neurosurgeon and it was the appointment that promised answers and a way forward. The number of people who assured me that I was seeing the best of the best and that God’s hand is upon me is more than I can count; as is the number of people who assured me everything would be fine.

Words fail me as I think about that appointment and what the past week has meant for me. It caught me by surprise. I was prepared for the various possibilities – or so I thought. There was quite a bit explained to me during that appointment but one thing stands out: low-grade glioma. A brain tumour. in the Glial cells (supportive tissue). In the middle of my brain.

Three months ago, as I waited 8 hours in emergency with eye pain, I never ever in my wildest dreams or fears went down this road in my mind. I wasn’t expecting a tumour. In fact, I had several professionals assure me that that wasn’t going on in the waiting period – just in case I was worried about that. I wasn’t. But it was assuring.

I once was told that when a doctor gives a diagnosis of a tumour, the patient hears “blah blah blah TUMOUR blah blah blah”. And there is a lot of truth in this. There is a lot of power in that one word. Objectively, I know this doesn’t mean cancer. All we know is there looks like something that is a tumour. We don’t know if it is malignant or benign, new or always there. For all we know, it could be something that has been there my entire life, something we happened to stumble upon thanks to an MRI and it will never require any medical intervention. Or that could be wishful thinking.

For me, the struggle is around the treatment options. Because of where it is in the brain, surgery is really not an option – there are too many risks. Radiation is a possibility but the neurosurgeon wants to wait and do another MRI in 6 months before taking this route. So we wait. I’ve gradually been sharing this with friends and family members. I have debated sharing on here but some conversations with people have made me realize that God is at work, somehow, and will use this.

In September, I admit I was quite mad at God. I had cut down all my commitments so that I could enter into seminary life to the fullest. I became the missional chair in student council and signed up for a full load. And on the first day, ended up in emergency. This was not the deal I had made with God.

But conversations lately have made me wonder if I have blamed the wrong source. What if this is not God? What if this is just more evidence that as we embark on God’s will and are involved in kingdom-work, we are faced with resistance of the evil one? What if this is not a test of my faith, but a strong attack against it. To knock me down. To discourage me. To have me quit.

I have always believed in spiritual warfare. I think there is a tendency to either blame spiritual warfare too much or too little. But, in the words of one friend, never thought something so harsh would come my way as an attack. Maybe this has nothing to do with God, but with the evil one. I don’t know if that scares me or comforts me! Scripture says that we should expect and not be surprised by resistance – and I am trying to follow the call to pioneer ministry and living life among those who do not know the love of God.

Is the tumour just one way in which the evil one attempts to knock the wind from my sails? I have to admit – if this is true, the evil one picked a good way to attack. I do feel the wind taken from me and at various points this week, I have toyed with quitting – whatever that means.

A few friends are gathering tonight to pray for me and to anoint me with oil. Join us? Join us not just in the desire for healing. But in requesting Misneach – courage and hope in pressing forward into the world of the unknown as I face something I hadn’t even imagined.

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  1. john sullivan
    November 29, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I had a funeral today in which I chose as a text these words of Job: “Human beings are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward”.

    The deceased was ninety years old. He grew up in the Netherlands in a large family during the Second World War coping with hearing and vision problems. He and his wife immigrated to Canada thinking he could find work with the De Boers but was denied because he was a Catholic. They slept on the floor in the basement of a bakery. He applied for work at De Havilland and was turned down time and time again, only to be accepted after he had repaired the personnel director’s sewing machine.

    He and his wife lost three of their five children. One seriously injured in a motor cycle accident and later shot in the stomach and killed, the other two dying prematurely of cancer. He suffered a series of physical disorders, a patient in 21 different hospitals: a ruptured appendix, infection, gall bladder problems, high blood pressure, an irregular heart beat, mini-strokes, heart and kidney failure, cancer and finally pneumonia. His wife was stricken with Alzheimer’s.

    Yet he persevered, fiercely maintaining his independence. On his ninetieth birthday he worked up a storm baking in his kitchen. He continued to mow his lawn and tend to his flower beds right up to the time of his death. Somehow he learned almost miraculously how to handle the troubles of life and to treat them in such a way that it transfigured life and gave nobility and significance which otherwise it might never have had.

    So it happens over and over again to us. Sometimes we ask to be spared. We aren’t spared but are given the strength to endure it. If we ask God for it and get it that experience will be the greatest assurance that we’ll ever have of the reality of God. And there will be other times in life when God isn’t real, and in spite of everything we do, we’ll not be able to feel that God is a present fact. Then hopefully we will remember the other words spoken by Job: “When we were in trouble, we called upon the Lord, and God heard us”!

    When looking for answers to life’s why, don’t look to Job’s comforters: suffering is too complex. God be with you is my constant prayer.

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