November 6, 2008
I need to send a huge “Thank You” to you, my dear friends, loved ones, blog readers, and acquaintances for your encouragement, love, prayers, and specific assistance in numerous ways in recent years. On November 17 I will celebrate five years since my heart transplant, and I believe I am alive today because of the will of God and the working of your prayers and kindnesses in cooperation with the plan of God.
Most of you know that the road has been quite rough for me since the transplant—physically and psychologically. I have been perplexed with knowing how to answer the question: “Are you glad you had the transplant?” I can answer that I am glad, but that I struggle a lot with the daily side effects of medications and life with chronic rejection (transplant vasculopathy).
One-and-a-half years ago I was told I probably had no more than six months to live, so I enrolled in hospice. After eight months my medical team removed me from hospice because I continued to live. I am greatly encouraged by this and by the scriptures. I just finished spending about a year in the Psalms. I know God has his hand on me and that, as I continue to walk with him daily, I will be on this earth no more and no less than the time he has for me (Psalms 57:2; 139:16; Acts 13:36).
My desire is to live all my remaining days for the glory of God. My physical strength is, unfortunately, decreasing, but my hunger for God is strong. I am mostly homebound. The days are long…and difficult. The main way I now connect with most people is through my blog: http://bobrakestraw.blogspot.com. I miss teaching at Bethel Seminary. I will value your continued prayers; I am weak and breathing is getting more difficult.
As I learn of your needs I want to pray for you. Thank you again for your kindnesses—in thoughts, words and actions. I look forward to spending eternity with you through the mercies of God.
Here is a marvelous benediction for each of you.
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NRSV)