This British word basically means to be shocked or astounded. Simon on America’s Got Talent has used the term occasionally and his face reflects the definition. I just read Roger and Marcia Lamb’s new book, “This Doesn’t Feel Like Love Either.” After reading it, the only word I could think of to describe my own feelings was gobsmacked. They wrote an earlier book without “Either” in the title after their then six-year-old son Michael had leukemia with a 15% chance of recovery and Marcia had double cancer with a 5% chance of long-term survival.
Since that time, death has struck their family in ways that have been utterly overwhelming. Roger and Marcia have lost four parents, two siblings and two of their three grown children, plus a number of other close family members. Michael wrote a chapter in the book in which he describes going from being a middle child to an only child. But this book is about far more than dealing with death, although it certainly does that. Here is what hit me and blessed me.
One, the amount of pain this family has survived with God’s help and through it all, have remained faithful to him and very active in his kingdom. They take away all of our excuses by their example. We all have pain and suffering. I’ve been dealing with cancer and many of you have been dealing with much more than that, at much younger ages. We all need to read their heartbreaking but courageous story to gain courage and faith to face our trials.
Two, the degree of vulnerability with which they both wrote was startling. God bless them for that. Nothing is more helpful to others than gut-wrenching realness. It surely left them feeling naked after exposing the inner recesses of their hearts, but it hits home and helps others in direct proportion to the amount of such exposure. I believe this book will likely save souls and probably physical lives. People are hurting and hurting badly all over this sin-ravaged world, and it probably is only going to get worse. Their book needs to be read widely. I pray that God will make that happen.
Three, the number of real-life illustrations of relational challenges in multi-generational relationships is so needed by all of us humans. They wrote about relationships with parents; siblings and friends; children; and grandchildren. From purely a relationship perspective, the book is extremely helpful. That part alone would make the book valuable, aside from the losses and how to handle them God’s way with God’s help.
Four, the abundance of practical advice given from the multitude of their experiences, plus the abundance of direction from many spot-on Bible passages, combines to provide abundant help for us as readers. My eyes filled with tears many times as I read, occasionally interrupted by out-loud laughter, but I was closer to God and stronger in faith when I finished. I want to “waste not my suffering.”
Read the book. You will be thankful you did. I promise. Post this for your FB friends. As I finished sending my written response to Roger and Marcia, my closing words were these: “Gobsmacked. Truly. Thank you. I love you.”
This article was written in early August during the Vision Conference in Orlando. I didn’t attend the conference in person but did watch many of the livestream classes online. I was all set to watch Roger and Marcia teach their class but discovered that they had COVID and were unable to teach the class. As disappointing as that was, I decided to read their book and did that for the rest of the day until I finished it. Afterwards, as I communicated back and forth with Roger, I wrote the article and posted it on Facebook, along with a link to their book.
For some reason this morning, God put in on my heart to check and see if I had also posted the short article on my Bible teaching website. I had not. But what prompted me to not only post it today but add this update were two realizations. One, although I have 5,000 FB friends, I have many friends who are not on Facebook and yet read articles on my website. Two, much has happened in the Lamb family since August, to put it mildly.
Cancer Strikes Again
Michael, the only surviving child of Roger and Marcia, was diagnosed with cancer in September of this year (2022). He had survived leukemia when he was six years old, although the recovery rate for his type of leukemia was only 15% at that time. In recent years, it was discovered that he had some heart damage from that early treatment, but was currently doing well, by God’s grace. But then the cancer struck, a rare type requiring a challenging treatment regimen. He was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL). This is a non-Hodgkin’s type of lymphoma, but within this type there are 70 different kinds. MCL is rare and only occurs in about 5% of the cases. Wow! There is a term used to describe suffering that the Lamb family illustrates all too well—disproportionate suffering. How could one family go through all they have gone through and yet the suffering intensifies? Only God knows, but thankfully, God cares like no one else possibly could.
Michael has decided to keep us updated about his treatment through Caringbridge (caringbridge.org). In his most recent post of 12/6/22, has shared this encouraging paragraph.
Let’s get right to it… Today is the first day of my third treatment cycle for Mantle Cell Lymphoma. I started the day with the usual lab work and then met with my oncologist who we were eager to see so that she could update us with the results from the PET Scan from Friday. My doctor walked in the room and said, “The scan looks amazing” and that it shows a “complete response” to the treatment. She said that it is “as good as it gets!” and showed us a side-by-side comparison of the September pre-treatment scan next to this latest one. While the September image shows many, many areas lit up with the appearance of (stage 4) cancer and several enlarged organs, the latest one shows none of that – everything looks normal. She also said that the blood work shows “No evidence of lymphoma!” Praise God! We are thrilled to see how my body has been responding to the treatment. We know that there is a long way to go, but this is a huge step.
Please add Michael and his family to your prayer list if he and they are not already on it. Also, keep up with Michael’s progress through Caringbridge.com. It is a wonderful site through which I have followed the condition and treatment of a number of people in the past. My goal is to be as currently informed as possible regarding the condition of those for whom I pray daily (at least almost every day). Please join me in doing this for Michael and our dear Lamb family. Their faith in adversity has provided conviction and an upward call for thousands of us through the years. They deserve our prayers on an urgent and continuing basis. Let’s offer them together as God’s spiritual family!
You can find their book here: This Doesn’t Feel Like Love Either