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Nine years ago a thirty-second phone call changed my life. I was hosting the annual Christmas luncheon for our staff when I slipped out to get the results from a recent blood test. The voice on the other end of the line announced, "Your PSA is 3.5." The blood drained from my head as a bowling ball dropped into my stomach. Usually any number below 4.0 is considered normal. But I had undergone a prostatectomy six weeks earlier. My PSA should have been zero. No one had anticipated this. Everybody, and I mean everybody, had told me I would be fine. After all, the cancer had been caught early and my numbers were relatively low. But a retest a few days later confirmed our fears. I had metastatic prostate cancer for which there is no cure. My wife, my family and I were devastated.
As I sought to absorb this disquieting news, I was troubled by how fearful and anxious I felt. When I reached into my spiritual satchel for consolation, all I found were pennies, lint and a bus token. As a pastor, I thought I would be able to face such a trial with peace and confidence in God. In their absence, I realized that my spirituality was a mile wide and an inch deep. Although I had observed daily devotions for decades, my prayer life, scripture study and overall discipleship were anemic at best.