Still learning to number my days

Today marks 10 years since I was diagnosed with Stage 4 ALK+ lung cancer. 10 years! I’d been given 10 months. And it’s been 10 years! That’s 3650 days, plus 3 for leap years. God has given me 3653 more days to number. What does it mean to number my days? The words come from Psalm 90:

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

17 May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

I’m learning not to take my life for granted. It’s not random or accidental—it’s a gift from God. He has made me for his purposes. And his purposes are far greater than any I could manufacture for myself.

I’m a very slow learner. So it’s taking some time to start each day with my heart fully satisfied with God’s unfailing love. Gratitude hasn’t been my strong suit. I fail to see what’s in front of my face. A beautiful wife, an awesome family, a fantastic church, some fabulous friends. I struggle to say thank you to doctors and nurses, and scientists and pharmaceutical companies (yep), and my cancer crew who’ve walked this challenging journey with me. But worst of all, I often forget the solid constancy of God’s unfailing love.

I’m so tempted to attach God’s love to my circumstances:
It’s sunny—he loves me. It’s raining—he doesn’t.
I’m NED—he loves me. The cancer’s back—he doesn’t.
I’m happy—he loves me. I’m depressed—he doesn’t.

God’s love is truly unfailing and deeply satisfying. He has demonstrated his love by sending his precious son. The death of Jesus is God’s promise of love, written in blood. If you grab hold of this love, then no one and nothing can take it from you. Do you know this love? Does it satisfy you every morning?

I’ve been given 10 years. 3653 precious days with my family. 3653 days to love and serve my Father in heaven. 3653 days to make a difference in this world. 3653 days to face my failures and find forgiveness from my Father in heaven. And every one of these days has been a gift from above.

I thank God for his kindness. I thank you for your prayers and support over the past 10 years. I have no expectation and certainly no claim, but I’d love 10 more years, and perhaps 10 more after that. But deeper still, I have a hope beyond this life, a hope beyond cure. And I look forward to the day when there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering, and no more death. God has promised an eternity with him for all who trust in Jesus.

If you want to know more about this hope, then send me a note.

13 thoughts on “Still learning to number my days”

  1. I feel blessed by your sharing this today. I have also been encouraged by your faithfulness and serving throught your journey. I pray that I too can learn to number my days and that I will always be assured of God’s love, no matter what comes.

  2. Dave, thanks for that great reminder. Your valuing of your days helps me to value mine too. Thanks for the example of running a good race, may you run many more years. God bless mate. Steve and Karen

  3. Thanks SO much for sharing your journey. I love every email reflection that comes out. It has particularly hit home for me as I have been given an extra 8 years, but so important to be reminded of the bigger picture.

  4. Dave, I cannot believe its been 10 years…seems like just the other day you were diagnosed. What a journey indeed and such a privilege to know you, personally.
    Thanks for this timely reminder of keeping things in perspective. I too look forward to the day when I’ve done all I can, to hear, “Well done my good and faithful one. Welcome to the place where you belong.”
    Love to you, Fiona & the family this Christmas.❤
    Kath&John Gallagher

  5. Oh Dave! Such a greatly encouraging article, full of Biblical truths that God has taught you through the wisdom of His Word and experience over the last 10 years ☺️ He certainly has had an immensely important purpose for these 10 years. Yes, I’ll be praying He gives you (and Fiona) more multiples of 10 years. May God bless and use you in this, Sally 💕🙏

  6. Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – that was the verse Ken Short spoke from at Jack Manchesters funeral back in 1973. Simon M’s little brother drowned in the family’s small pool on day before Muck-Up Day. God powerfully used Jacks death and that funeral and that sermon to Awaken me to face eternity and for the first time really check out and seek to know what was real – 4 months later He had turned me reluctantly around and saved me. Significantly thru the gal now known as Kathy Manchester and Simon M.
    Good people I know will sometimes speak of things working out well for them and then say “God is good” – I get what think they mean – but its not a good way or Jesus way to think – so if you hadn’t been healed, if she hadn’t fallen in love with you, if you hadnt got that job …. then Good would be not good?? Thanks

  7. Thank you for sharing. I feel it is also my purpose to make a difference and learn to be more grateful to God. So many times I will realize I haven’t talked with Him in days- wrapped up in my troubles instead of his grace.

  8. God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year! We might not know it, always feel it, often ignore it but God has us in the palm of His hand and He will do it!
    Yes Dave, let each of us number our days, open our eyes each morning to newness and joy whatever our circumstances, live in the certain hope that we have an eternal home and pray, pray, pray, that like yourself we will be given the courage and strength to enter each day whatever our circumstances, looking unto Jesus, the author and perfect er of our faith.
    Thank you Dave and Fiona for being sources of real encouragement.

  9. Dave – you have been blessed with another 10 years and you are a blessing.
    You have used those 10 years to help others as well as nurturing and caring for your family. Regards Michael Lucas

  10. Thank you for reminding us that the Lord is in control, no matter what our circumstances. “Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for though art with me, my Comforter and my Strength.” I remember when we first moved to Coombs I told you I was no longer able to go to church and you said you’d visit me and pray with me. I said no because I didn’t like to impose on you when I didn’t attend church. It was my loss. You and Fiona must have had some very trying and testing times, but you have been a great testimony, no matter what. Thank you. God be with you till we meet again. Rewa Bate

  11. Thank you for this reminder Dave. When troubles come it’s sometimes hard to give thanks but I’m learning to number my days and to speak to Him daily. The human condition makes it hard sometimes – busy-ness, distractions and sometimes plain neglect. It’s wonderful that you have been given so many more days and can look forward to more as you (and we all) travel toward home. God bless you.

  12. Words always fail me when I realise He has ALLWAYS ( & that’s how I spell it ) been with me .. walking in front of me leading the way , beside me hand in hand as my soul mate, behind me as He patiently waits for me to turn arround & so many times beneath me as He has carried me when I fall … I am humbly grateful that He should love me …
    that much .

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