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Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith

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A decision not taken lightly

I have made my decision and it wasn’t one taken lightly.

It is with much thought, prayer, research, investigation and hope that I have decided to take a trip to Europe to have some tests and start a trial treatment that isn’t available here in Australia.

It’s not a cure, but it could slow down the progress of Motor Neurone Disease (MND, also knows as ALS) in my body. While I’m doing reasonably well, and have already outlived my initial prognosis, this is the time to act.  It’s a “sooner rather than later” approach.

With ALS / MND, it’s not like you wake up one morning and suddenly you can’t do something.  Instead, little by little, you lose your strength, some people faster than others.  I’m the only one who really notices that decline day-by-day.

In the past 76 years, since the famous baseball player Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with this disease, there has only been one drug approved for ALS / MND patients: Rilutek.  Rilutek was approved in the 1990s and is said to add 2 – 3 months of life to your prognosis.  In some parts of the world this drug costs up to $4000.00 per month.  In Australia, I pay only $37.50.

While I understand that there is more awareness, finances and scientists than any other time in history dedicated to finding a cure for this disease, I also understand that any new drug could take many more years to be released to the general community.  In that sense, the money we are raising now is for the next generation of sufferers.

Some people have inferred that I should just relax and wait for God to heal me.  My thinking is that when your daughter breaks her leg or your tooth needs filling, do you just pray or do you do what you can and leave the rest to God?

I’ve seen God miraculously heal people of cancer through divine intervention and I’ve seen God heal people through medical intervention.  I’ve also seen people experience their healing through entering into eternity.

I have always seen God move in my life when I do my part and leave what I can’t do to Him. 

Faith, trust, rest and hope are not couch potatoes, they are active and courageous as they approach the battle.

So for those who are praying, thank you, your prayers are effective and mean the world to me.  Be encouraged, I am also doing what I can do to partner with your prayers.

My treatment in Europe will cost in the many thousands of dollars per year, but it has also been known to add 3 – 4 years to a patient’s life.  Next week I go to Europe, hoping for the best, mainly because I want what you would want in my shoes:

I want more time with my wife.
I want to see my grandchildren go to school.
I want to be around long enough so they have some memory of me.
I want to hug my own children for as long as I can.
I want to be around to cheer them on in their lives and adventures.
I love this life.
I want to finish the race at the finish line, not mid-field.

And so, Fridays With Phil will take a short break. If you are interested in updates while I am away and post-treatment, you can follow me on Instagram (@pcamden) or Facebook.

I covet your prayers over this time,
Phil

Mad at God

This week I was poked and prodded, all part of regular check-ups to monitor the effects of Motor Neurone Disease on my body.

Throughout it all, I felt a strong sense of God with me.

I thank God that this disease, as bad and dark as it is some days, has not shaken my faith.

The strange thing is that in our humanity, we can sometimes allow our belief in God’s goodness and love to become weakened because of someone else’s trial or dark times.

I have witnessed people get mad at God on behalf of someone else and yet the person going through the bankruptcy, broken relationship, illness, or loss is not mad at God at all.

To the contrary, the person going through it is dependent on God’s presence and comfort in the midst of what they are going through.

Can I encourage you not to carry offence towards God on behalf of someone else?

Don’t take on offence because of what others are going through. Don’t make my trial your excuse.

It takes a strong person to be able to get close to another’s weakness, close to their mortality, and stay strong in their personal faith in God.

Let me say on behalf of all those in a trial, we need our friends to be strong, not mad.

Watching your strength gives us strength. Watching you become weak over our trial only adds to our trial.

I think of John, the disciple of Jesus. In Acts 12, we read that his brother James is killed by Herod as a young man. In the very next verses, we see that Peter gets supernaturally rescued by God. John’s brother dies while Peter is saved.

We see that not only does John stay the faith through this trial, he encourages and supports the growth of the Church through writing books that expound God’s faithfulness in trials.

In 1 John 1:5, he writes “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” And in 1 John 4:16, he writes, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

This doesn’t sound like someone who, because of the trials of others, had become disillusioned, offended or bitter with God.

And so, whatever you are observing in another’s battle, please continue to have compassion, continue to care and support them. Fight for what is right and for justice but do not get offended with God because of someone else’s dark valley. God and us will be ok.

If you need God’s strength to be strong for someone else, I encourage you to get into His presence, spend time in His Word, ask Him for strength.

Keep trusting.

Phil

By the way, I’m doing a road trip in the USA with my good friend Steve over the next three weeks so for “Fridays with Phil” updates, follow my journey on Instagram (@pcamden).

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