Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm pneumapsychosomatic. Are you?

I start my interferon treatment in about four hours. Need I say this is not a high point of my life? Yet here I am blogging about it, so I do concede its power over my imagination. How strange it seems to be made weaker in order to become stronger. And yet doesn’t that say something about how God calls us to live in this world? Taking interferon may prove a lot easier than living out the Sermon on the Mount. They both require submission of self. So for the next four weeks I will take a vacation from worldly concerns. I look forward to spending some quality time with the One who makes us.

Several of you have inquired how you can pray for me, and for my family, in coming weeks. Thanks for asking. Here are some ideas:

Pray that God would build up my spiritual immunity. It’s hard not to feel discouraged by having advanced cancer. At times I feel weak and broken. I have been humbled in body and spirit. This is not entirely a bad thing. As I mentioned above, there’s something to be said for weakness (“Blessed are the poor in spirit”). When I hit a rough patch—spiritually, emotionally—I hope that I have the resources to get through it. For this I need your prayer. I need strength and resilience.

Pray that God would build my physical immunity. Philip Yancey has written that those who pray for the sick and suffering should first praise God for the remarkable agents of healing designed into the body, and then ask that God’s special grace give the suffering person the ability to use those resources to their fullest advantage. I believe your prayers can offer real, tangible help in setting into motion the intrinsic powers of healing in my body.

This is not the same as asking God for a miracle. Especially when we're dealing with something as mysterious as the human immune system, there’s plenty of room for God to give the leukocytes in my body the power they need to kill any cancer cells that may be floating around. This form of healing is not inferior to a direct intervention by God that reverses physical laws. Dr. Paul Brand coined the term pneumapsychosomatic to describe the combined role of spirit, soul and body in maintaining health. This concept leaves room for the positive effect of modern medicine without precluding the power of mind and the Holy Spirit in the healing of the sick. Please pray that my powers of body, soul and spirit would all be marshaled in this fight. My immune system is capable of defeating melanoma.

I believe that to pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. Our prayers can make an objective difference in the world. We don’t live in a closed universe. Wrestling with God sounds like anthropomorphism, but it’s not. It’s Biblical. Please climb into this ring and wrestle him with me.

Finally, please pray for encouragement, peace and fortitude for Ellen, and for Nick and Allie. They are more precious to me than life itself. They are on the front line in dealing with my impatience and my needy self. This is not just about me. My family has a moral claim on my life. Their needs are real.

My next post will be from Planet Interferon. It’s an unexplored world, full of strange and mysterious things. Thanks for tagging along on the journey.


Anonymous said...

I guess Iam pneumapsychomatic.
I appreaciate your honesty and transparency.

Thank you for helping me to know how to pray for you and family.

When I read the word Leucocyte took me back to the Alchemy class
in High school.

Thank you for inviting us into your journey.


Anonymous said...

Peter: I hope that a deists prayers work as powerfully as any others.