As many of you already know, my dad had a stroke early last Friday morning.  On the exact anniversary of my brain cancer surgery at Central DuPage Hospital, I found myself back in the neuro-intensive care unit at CDH, only this time, my dad was in the bed instead of me.  Thankfully, he’s doing okay–still very groggy and tired, the worst part is that his left side isn’t moving, nor responsive to touch.  He’s out of ICU now, and being prepared for transfer to Marianjoy for rehabilitation.  Continue to pray for movement on his left side to return and his blood pressure to stabilize.

When I started this post yesterday, I intended it to be about my own recovery from brain cancer.  Oh how things can change in just 24 hours!  Nevertheless, I’m grateful for all of you who have prayed and will  continue to pray for me and my health in the future (please include my dad in your prayers now…).  I’m also aware that, by God’s grace, my cancer story hasn’t cost me my life…yet (and, hopefully, never will).

But this probably hasn’t been the case for all of us and our loved ones.  Although cancer didn’t take my sister Beth in 2002, someone recently entered the curious question “What happened to Beth Kamphausen” in a search engine online and got linked to my Second Campus blog in the process.

Some people have expressed sorrow and surprise over how much suffering my family has had to go through in recent years–even before my dad’s stroke yesterday, or my cancer diagnosis last year–losing my sister to filaria in Borneo in 2002, my other sister Linda’s lifelong battle with epilepsy, my mom’s breast cancer and my dad’s ongoing heart problems, now complicated by the stroke.  As I remember all of this sorrow, along with Beth and her remarkable life (she’s been gone 9 years already!), I’m sad that sickness, death and suffering are so prevalent in the world today.  But in our pain, my prayer is that we don’t grow bitter and distance ourselves from God as if He doesn’t care or isn’t with us in the middle of it.  As C.S. Lewis once wrote in The Problem of Pain

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I’ve heard His shouts in my pain this past year–even today as I watched my dad go through such disorienting physical problems–and am more confident than ever He’s in control and is my Good Shepherd, leading me and my family through the valley of the shadow of death to the quiet waters on the other side, restoring our souls along the way–like the whispers I’m hearing from Him this week with the good news of my cancer-free report on Wednesday. But I’ll be the first to admit that’s it’s been harder to hear his whispers since Dad’s stroke last week.

In the midst of your particular pain, sorrow or sickness, I hope you all can hear Him through both His whispers and shouts the same way I have this past year.