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LIFE LESSONS

IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS

Doug Harrell

A lot is going through my mind as I sit down to write this column this morning.  Yesterday, one year ago I was told that I had leukemia, and a week later was told that I had 2-4 months to live without treatment and 10-14 months to live with treatment.  That news turns your world upside down to say the least, we all know deep down that our time here is limited, but when you hear those words directed in your direction, it makes you stop and think.  Well, a year has passed, and I am still here writing life lessons for another month and am doing well considering.  I am still having to do a chemo regiment that goes for three weeks each month, but the leukemia appears to be in remission, thank you Lord.

This past year has been one of the greatest learning years of my life, fancy that, you never know what priorities will change when you face the end of the road here on this earth.  It has been a year of blessings that are hard to believe, new friends made, lives that have touched me and others I have had the opportunity to touch.  Prayers that have been offered up for me and prayers that I have been able to pray for others around me.  The opportunity to be a witness that would never have presented itself without the illness, and the treatment regimen of the leukemia.  As the scripture says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”  At first it was hard to read this scripture and believe, but now I do!  Not many weeks ago I was praying and actually gave thanks to the Lord for the leukemia, moments after I said that I thought, Doug you have gone totally crazy, you absolutely hate this disease!  You see, the week before I received the news that I had leukemia, I had attended a funeral for one of my daughter’s mother in-law who had died with leukemia and a year and a half earlier I had done the funeral for one of my dearest friends here on this earth, and who was also my business partner that had died with this dreadful disease.  But today, as I look back over the past year, I would not change a thing!  I know it sounds crazy, but the blessings outweigh the hurts, the relationship with my Lord today makes it all worthwhile.  The song, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” has been a theme song this year and when I hear it my eyes tend to leak, still today.  Being willing to accept God’s will, knowing that it might not be healing of this earthly body, was a challenge, and I have been blessed that God has seen fit to keep me here a while longer, it appears.  The key has been to be able to say, either way, I am okay, and truly mean it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am human and want to live as long as I possible can and have a decent life style, I truly enjoy most of my journey day by day, but do realize that there is a graduation day coming.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”  This has been a stronghold this past year, learning to lean on him and depend on him more than ever before in my life.  I think many of us, myself included, at times think we can handle it, we can deal with it within our own strength, that my friends comes to an end at some point when we realize that we have no control over life’s true meaning and direction.  Now don’t get me wrong here, God does not want us going around complaining and moaning all day long, we need to keep focused on the future with an attitude of gratitude, giving thanks and not fussing about the irritants that come our way.  We need to pray for healing, believing that God has the ability to accomplish anything in His will.  Jeramiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is anything too hard for me.”  Make goals for your life, be willing to move forward in faith, and always be at peace in accepting his good and perfect will for your life, and your days will be blessed in ways you can only imagine.