Edit: I have since learned that Trent has his own blog, Lessons From A Cancer Diagnosis. You will find many more insightful posts like this one on his site. Please check it out, and remember to pray for Trent. This article is posted on his blog as The Gift.
Update 10/26/2013: Trent’s wife Elizabeth writes in her blog: “It appears that the end of this path may be in sight.” See her full post for details, and please be in prayer for Trent, Elizabeth, and their whole family.
Update 10/29/2013: Elizabeth writes in her latest post: “Things have not changed a lot in the past few days. … God’s grace is sustaining us through these days. He strengthens us when we have no strength of our own.”
Update 10/31/2013: Elizabeth’s latest post includes: “Today, I brought Trent to a hospice facility. … It is God’s grace and peace that carry me through each day.”
Update 11/10/2013: Continue to pray for Elizabeth, Trent, and the family. Elizabeth writes: “Through all of the changes and difficulties, we still feel blessed. God has provided for all of our needs. He encourages us and strengthens us. He guides us and provides us with good counsel.”
Update 11/14/2013: “As uncertain as each day may feel, it is comforting to know that God holds each moment in His control.” From Elizabeth’s post today.
Update 11/24/2013: With Thanksgiving holidays approaching in the United States, Elizabeth explains: “For me, the past several months have been just that — a time to focus on and be thankful for the blessings.”
Update 12/6/2013: Today’s post from Elizabeth says, “At this stage of life, there isn’t even a small degree of what can be ‘reasonably expected’.”
Final Update 12/14/2013: Today’s news brings mixed emotions. Earlier this morning, Trent’s wish to be closer to his Savior was fully realized. Please continue to pray for Elizabeth and the family.
God is good. It sure is easy to believe that when things turn out how I like. But when disappointments come, I tend to forget, focusing instead on how I can escape the pain. I can’t imagine the disappointment Trent Fruetel faced about a month ago when he learned he had stage 4 cancer in his appendix. Today’s post is Trent’s own assessment of his cancer. There’s no pity-seeking here. Instead, you’ll find one of the most honest understandings of the goodness of God that I have ever read, and I just had to share it with you. I hope it encourages you as much as it did me.
A few weeks ago, I was given a gift. The wrapping paper was plain, no bow, and not even a tag letting me know who sent the gift. It just showed up on my doorstep. I picked up the gift and brought it inside my house and set it on my table. I looked at it for a while, not knowing what to do. Do you open a gift when you don’t know who gave it to you. Was this gift even for me? After debating within myself about the pros and cons, I decided to open the gift.
I started to cautiously tear the paper, opening the wrapping slowly. Once the paper was all off the box, I started to open the box. That’s when I saw it – the note inside the box. The note read, “To my beloved Son, Trent. I am giving you this good and perfect gift from above.” It was signed by, The Father of Lights.” (James 1:17) I started to take out the tissue paper, and underneath it I saw something hideous – ugly! I took a step back from the gift, not knowing what to think. I left the gift in the box on the table and tried to forget about it.
A few days later, I received a note in the mail. “I saw that you received my gift. Did you like it?” Signed again by, “The Father of Lights.” Like it? How could I like it? It’s ugly – I hate it!
Another day passes and another note comes. “My dear child, do you like my gift? Please, read Proverbs 15:27 – the last part of the verse.” Signed by, “The Father of Lights.” I go get my Bible and open it up to the verse, “… but he that hateth gifts shall live.” I went to the box that was still sitting on the table. This time, I take the gift out of the box. Somehow, it has changed. It is not so ugly right now.
One more day goes by and another note comes. “My dear child, do you like my gift? Please, read Matthew 7:11 – again, the last part of the verse.” Signed by, “The Father of Lights.” I read out loud. “. . .how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Ask him? I didn’t ask for this gift, did I?
The next day, there was no note. I begin to worry. I was enjoying the notes from my Father. “Where are you?” I wonder. I sat down at my table, looking at my gift – has it changed again? A knock comes at my door. I go to see who it is. As I open the door, the man looks familiar, gentle, and kind. He says He came to talk to me. I invite Him in and we spend the day talking. It seems like He knows all about me. As He gets ready to leave, He stops, looks at me, and asks, “My dear child, do you like my gift?”
“Father, I don’t understand this gift. All I wanted was to be close to you, to know you better.”
“I know. That’s why I gave you this gift.” As He leaves for the night, He says, “Please, read the first part of James 4:8.” As soon as He leaves, I run to my Bible. The verse says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” I go over to my gift, pick it up, and look at it. My gift has become beautiful!
My Father now comes over daily. We talk, laugh, cry – we are becoming close. I cannot believe that the gift I received could do this – make me close to my Father. I thought this gift was horrible – ugly – at first. But, now, I see how wonderful it is. You know, now that I look at the gift, I see that it has not changed at all. It is just how I am looking at it. The only thing that has changed has been the way I look at it. I am able to use this gift to be close to my Father.
Maybe you have received a gift from your Father. Maybe your gift is ugly, maybe it’s beautiful, but, is it making you closer to Him? If you are not getting gifts from your Father, maybe you need to receive His greatest gift of all first. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Make Him your Lord, accept His gift, and be prepared to receive His blessing.
— Trent Fruetel
Thank you, Trent, for such a testimony of God’s grace. I hope I can see and share God’s love and goodness the same way you do.