Monday, March 24, 2008

By His Wounds...

Okay, I just could not let this day pass without sharing with you how awesome this Resurrection Sunday has been. Here I am, about to return to UVA for another round of treatment for what otherwise should be labeled terminal cancer, and I am feeling GREAT! The original left parotid mass is now barely palpable. I have no pain, no nausea, no shortness of breath – only hope and joy in knowing that the risen Christ has blessed me with another day to celebrate Him and the life He gives.

I was able to attend both Good Friday and Easter services at our church, then enjoy a wonderful brunch with all fifteen (and a half) of our immediate family in our home, with laughter, chaos and hugs all around. I’m still pinching myself (when I can find enough flesh to pinch!)

But, while I did not share this with family, all day long I have been haunted by a particular aspect of the Easter story – that passage in 1Peter 2:24 that says “for by His wounds you were healed.” Predicted hundreds of years earlier, Isaiah (53:5) also wrote “He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

Linda and I exercised the discipline of viewing Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ on Saturday night. For me the hardest segment to watch was the scourging of Jesus with the cat-of-nine-tails. Was it really that brutal? How did He endure such punishment? Why did He have to go through all of that suffering? If He had to die for my sins, why not a firing squad (okay with spears or arrows), or a hanging, or even water-boarding?? Why the p-r-o-l-o-n-g-e-d agony? And how is my healing linked to such incomprehensible torment?

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but maybe there is a hint of why in the classic passage on love in 1Cor 13:7: “[Love] bears/suffers all things… endures/perseveres all things.” Jesus’ death would have been just as efficacious to win my redemption and freedom from sin had it been by strangulation or a quick knife to the throat, but He and the Father deliberately chose a course of prolonged suffering and agony in order to demonstrate to me (and you) that He truly loves us with an inexplicable, unconditional, enduring and transforming love. Love that eclipses my paltry sufferings, yet fully capable of identifying with them. A love that prompted Him to crawl onto the cross and submit to the torment so there would be no doubt we are beloved.

There is no magic in His wounds that leads to my healing. It is His irrefutable (and irresistible) love that opens the door for me to be made whole. The resurrected Christ, having defeated death itself, invites me to respond to His love with faith that surrenders all to Him. In so doing, I am healed. I am healed!



  1. Thanks Dan for sharing your Easter thoughts--they really spoke to me this morning. What I remember from "The Passion" was how clearly it portrayed that Jesus "set his face toward the cross", knowing what was ahead, and yes, as you mentioned, how He crawled onto the cross! And so today, you set your face toward UVA and your second treatment, knowing the trial that lies ahead. And this just struck me--Jesus did all this with NO earthly support! We, and many, many others, are praying for you!

    We are also so thankful the Lord blessed you with wonderful family time on this special Easter. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
    I John 3:1 (NIV)
    Beth Sutton

  2. Dear Dr. Dan,
    I was left speechless after reading your last blog. But that was OK because I was rejoicing with you and your family and giving thanks to an awesome and merciful God.

    Sail on Dr Dan - Sail on !!!!!

    the Collins'

  3. Awesome our God is! It was such a blessing knowing that your Reserection Sunday was Family filled and PAIN FREE!!!!!. My wife Angie, my oldest Angiela, and my youngest Allison went to church with me yesterday and we had a wonderful day together, my wife even met Pastor Kenny too. Yes i was excited! After the service we went and had a wonderful time at Plaza Azteca, the Norfolk Zoo, riding the ferry to Portsmouth and caping it off with diner at Amore's. I am so grateful for all your blessings Dan. Say Hi to Linda for me and I will continue to pray for all of you.

    John Quain & Family

  4. An absolutely awesome answer to so many prayers; that you would not only be free of pain, nausea, shortmess of breath, able to be with your whole family, but, well enough to attend Good Friday and Easter services! Exceedingly abundantly.... We are not surprised at what God can do, but amazed also at His perfect timing! What a way to accentuate the very meaning of Easter Sunday, because He lives, we live! We are rejoicing with you at the same time we will lift you in prayer for the next round of treatments.

  5. Dan,

    Praying for your daily as you receive treatments.

    It was great to see you worshiping on Sunday! You and your family are an inspiration.

    Anita :)

  6. Dan,
    How wonderful to hear of the good news.... the strength of prayer is the best. You are in my thoughts with continous prayers and that goes for you, too, Linda.
    hugs and love,

  7. I was saddened to hear of your health challenge recently, but inspired by your testimony of tremendous faith on this blog.I met you several years ago when I applied for a position in your office. I am the certified holistic RN, who does Healing Touch. I would be delighted to provide Healing Touch to you at no charge as part of your healing journey. I believe that we have the ability, as a channel of the Holy Spirit, to help heal ourselves and others. Our nurse ministry at St. Nicholas makes HT home visits, so if you wish to receive this service, please call me at: 450-7394 I will continue to keep you in my prayers. Elizabeth Kosnik

  8. Dr. Dan,
    This is my first time to respond to your blog. I have been praying for you since hearing the news. I have been reading your comments and the comments of others. I am so grateful that God has surrounded you with so many prayer warriors. He is so good. As I am writing this, I am reminded of the scripture from Ephesians where Paul is encouraging the believers. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." (6:10) Paul goes on to talk about the importance of the armor. How wonderful that it is God's power that makes us strong. I pray that you have an undeniable sense of His presence and comfort with you. He is holding you close with His mighty hands. Thank you for the compassion and wisdom you have given me and my family. You are truly a blessing and I look forward to hearing more praises. I consider it an honor to be part of your army. Press on, Dr. Dan, press on.
    Blessings and peace,
    Joan Stephens

  9. Dear Doctor Dan: To my knowledge we have never met in person, but your witness continues to touch our family. One of our sons-in-law has been diagnosed with multiple myloma for nearly four years. He has been on a journey that has so far included stem cell transplantation, radiation and chemo treatments. For two years he has been in remission. Our daughter and her husband have discovered so many cancer patients with deep, caring and courageous stories, to include yours. She started sharing your blog with me some months ago. And was particularly inspired with your Easter story. We had ten of our family members together over Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday at our family place at Nags Head and your words about the joy and confusion describe our experience. The point of this note is to say your thoughts are a blessing to folks you don't know. Your faith in our Risen Lord is great comfort. Thank you for blessing us. Our family remembers you in prayer.

  10. Dearest Dan,
    I ask that the Lords will be done. Your blog is a wonderful blessing for all who read it. I could feel the love of God through your words. Thank you for being such a loyal and faithful servant. Gods love is what will sustain you and your family. Linda I am here any time you want to talk. My prayer group will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. Love from your cousin, Becky