The Long Journey

"Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat."  Then he looked and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water.  So he ate and drank, and lay down again.   And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, "arise and eat because the journey is too great for you" I Kings 15:5-7

I have had lots of different thoughts as to what to write my blog about this week as it has been an interesting one of downs and ups.    I remain positive about my journey but I think it is good to share the frustration and disappointment as well.   I began the week watching our church service from home... again.  Wanting so much to be with my congregation but really not sure what my body was doing and what I could handle.  Turned out I was right to do so because after my chemo treatment on Monday I fell into chills and a fever of 102.   My oncologist wanted me to get checked out to the hospital, so down I went not expecting a 4 hour wait followed by another 4 hours of examination.  Resulting diagnosis was that I had a mild case of pneumonia, with an antibiotic required for 10 days.   The affect from that is that my port (which was scheduled to be placed on Tuesday) was delayed for 10 days and so is my next chemo treatment.  So one fever, caused an 8 hour stint in the emergency room and a 1 1/2 week delay to my treatment.    Monday was a bad day.    I think it finally sank in that day that this is not going to be short journey and knowing what to expect is very much day by day.   Matthew 6:34 says "do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble". I have found this to be very true this week.   I felt a little lost on Monday and discouraged realizing that what I thought was another 8 weeks of treatment had just turned into another 9 and if I were to get a temperature again it could be delayed further!   The verse quoted at the top of this blog came to mind when the Angel visited Elijah and fed him, telling him that "the journey was too great" for him.     I felt that on Monday.   As I said on a previous blog I am a scheduler and a planner, so living day by day is very hard for me although according to Jesus that is the best way to live!   This is a long journey and I am just now learning to surrender to the day by day and still trust God that He will sustain me.  The thing that many don't realize is that this journey didn't start a couple of weeks ago.  It started back in early January when I began to have stomach trouble and start losing weight (down about 45 pounds to this point).  The journey has already been long and it will be longer still.  However, I know this journey is going to change me forever and I want it to be for the good, so if I must learn to "be still and know that He is God" Ps. 46:10 then with God's strength I will do so.

I have also been reminded this week that this did not catch God by surprise.    When I said yes to His call to pastor Calvary Church I felt Him clearly say to commit to at least 10 years.  Well... this past weekend we celebrated my 10 year anniversary.  I am not moving on from the church but for the time being I am absent and others are doing the ministry, that was completely unexpected.    Also, at the beginning of this year I shared a vision for our church called "resurrecting Resurrection Day" praying among other things that we would have a great Easter Sunday (which we did).  I said then that I couldn't see beyond Easter Sunday for God's direction for the church.   I had no idea that Easter Sunday was the last Sunday I would be present for a few weeks while someone else did the pulpit ministry!   God knew what was coming.   I didn't and don't.    The journey is too great for me, but I knowing that He knows what is coming gives me hope that He has the sustenance I need.

My week did get better after Monday.   Tuesday I felt stronger, my temperature returned to normal and stayed there, and the next day stronger still.   I am finally back eating solid food.   Tuesday I got about 1,200 calories, Wednesday 1,600, and as of the time of this writing I am on track to hit close to 2,000 calories in a day!   That is a HUGE deal and more steps closer to eating Pal's cheeseburgers and Pizza Hut Pizza!   God knew, like the angel with Elijah that I needed "food for the journey" and He has provided it.  For which I am SO grateful.   However, I know that this long journey is going to be marked by good days and bad days and it's impossible to predict ahead of time which day will be which.  So.... I am learning to trust in Him to strengthen me through the tough, disappointing days and celebrate the good days.  Take a day at a time knowing that the journey is long but His strength is sufficient.   I pray in your good and bad days that the Holy Spirit will teach you to do the same and find His "food" to give you what you need to continue on.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. It means so much!  It's my one way to update you as well as share something from God's Word every week.   Please feel free to share this with anyone with the hope that it will bless and encourage them.   God bless.


Tammy - April 22nd, 2021 at 6:31pm

Wow! You are such a source of encouragement to put the trivial problems into their place. I have been learning so my from you and our church family about what trusting God through life’s very hardtimes looks like. I must say, I have some growing to do in this area . I hope that what I’m learning sticks because to be honest, I don’t want to have to learn it the hard way. Terry and I love

You and your family so much and are honored that you share this journey with us. God Bless

You Pastor Matthew . Thank you for being real ! ❤️

Matthew Chapman - April 22nd, 2021 at 8:51pm

Thank you Tammy!!! I’m so grateful for the love & support you & Terry have been for so many years (well over 10). We love you do much!!

Cecil. Coalson - April 22nd, 2021 at 6:53pm

You are in my prayers MATT

Matthew Chapman - April 22nd, 2021 at 8:52pm

Thank you Cecil! Thanks for taking the time to read. God bless.

Gary Ritchie - April 22nd, 2021 at 8:06pm


You are such a trooper. Soooooo many are praying on your behalf. Our family and church are just a phone call away to help in any way. Your blog is such a beautiful testimony of your faith and God's faithfulness. Hang in there! We love you.

Matthew Chapman - April 22nd, 2021 at 8:54pm

Thank you Gary. That means SO much. You have been such a blessing & inspiration to me over the years as well. Honored to be on this journey together with you for many years. Love you my friend.

Sonya Eller - April 23rd, 2021 at 3:02am

Pastor Matthew, I am so encouraged every time you update your blog. We are His masterpiece and that in itself is a delicate one. Everything is in perfect design by His timing and we are shown grace in all of the little fine trails we are side tracked by in this journey called life. Grace is such a precious gift and strength you have is such an encouragement to me and my family. Thank you! We love and respect you . Your ability to share with us this journey. We have you in prayer always.

Matthew Chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 7:33am

Thank you Sonya. Very grateful for your encouragement & prayers for me. Love your family!

Cynthia (Cindi) Henshaw - April 23rd, 2021 at 6:00am

❤️Thank you. I’ve been hearing that a lot by day, with God’s strength and blessings. It’s a hard thing as a human, as we were given the ability to think and plan. Focusing on the here and now DOES make us more insightful to what we’re feeling, what we need and our need to rely on Him.

Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know what you and your family were going through. Prayers heading your way from Gladstone, VA. ❤️

Matthew Chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 7:33am

Thank you Cindi. Very grateful for your prayers.

Sara Kilgore - April 23rd, 2021 at 6:54am

What a wonderful testimony. I know you are a blessing to your church as you are to us at Mark III

Praying for your continued recovery!

Matthew Chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 7:34am

Thank you Sara. That means so much!!

John Graham - April 23rd, 2021 at 7:55am

Thank you for sharing both the highs and lows, not sugar-coating over the difficulties. That's where many of us can relate ... to the set-backs. But God bless you and keep you... and sustain you on this journey.

Matthew Chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 10:22am

Thank you John!! So appreciate your encouragement & friendship. I look forward to finishing this journey & doing more together in our area for God!

Diana Price - April 23rd, 2021 at 9:08am

Matthew I’m friends with Elizabeth and have kept up with your journey through her. You have been in my prayers. Ps.46:10 sustained me when I had cancer at the age of 34. God is our sustainer! He ministers to us exactly what we need when we need it.

Matthew Chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 10:23am

Hi Diana. Thank you so much for your words and your prayers. They mean so much!!

Richard Hilton - April 23rd, 2021 at 10:32am

Pastor Matthew,

Thank you for your wonderful example of trust, faith, and consistency! We love you and appreciate you.

Richard & Theresa Hilton

Matthew chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 11:24am

Thank you Pastor Richard. So appreciate you wisdom & support for over 30 years!

David Gilliam - April 23rd, 2021 at 1:34pm

Love you my friend. Thanks for writing and your example of faith.

Matthew Chapman - April 23rd, 2021 at 2:51pm

Thank you David. Love ya... mean it!

Mom - April 23rd, 2021 at 7:42pm

Proud...that’s what I am! The Lord is sharing with you such deep and precious gems. You will look back on this time as a milestone, a marker, a blessing in your life. You were born for His program and here He is unfolding it to you in His love. You are loved so much by so many, but you are cradled in the arms of your Heavenly Father. He will cocoon you and bring you through all this. Thank you for sharing the good, bad and ugly. It is called life and we can all relate. I love you very much. Mom

Matthew Chapman - April 24th, 2021 at 2:37am

Thanks so much Mom. I know this has not been easy on you & Dad either. Love you so very much.

Elaine Smythe - April 24th, 2021 at 7:00am

You are such an encouragement to us all. I think everyone fears having to go through what you & your family are going through, but you are showing us that God, indeed, is always there & that he will never leave us. "There IS another in the fire!" Gary & I love you all & we are praying without ceasing. We love you!

Matthew Chapman - April 24th, 2021 at 7:17am

Thank you Elaine. Never in a million years did i think me & our family would be facing this (especially at my young age 😊). I KNOW God is with me & will bring me through. Resurrection is coming. Love you & Gary a whole lot!!

Lisa Finney - April 26th, 2021 at 11:03am

Matthew you have always been a shining light of hope and inspiration to my family and even through your own struggles you still are an inspiration for us all...I have pretty severe anxiety problems and reading this blog has given me a new perspective on how to, through God, just to take it one day at a time and not stress about what tomorrow MAY bring...God already knows my path and trusting my tomorrows to him is my and Cherish and your family of course remain in our constant prayers for recovery in his time...we love you and miss you...thank you for being such an inspiration...

Matthew Chapman - April 29th, 2021 at 10:07am

Thank you for your prayers & encouragement. Glad the blog is an encouragement to you! Love ya Lisa!

Keith - May 1st, 2021 at 6:51pm

You are always inspiring. Thanks for journaling for us. We pray daily for you and the family.

Matthew Chapman - May 23rd, 2021 at 8:29pm

Thank you Keith. You & Sarah are such a strength & inspiration to me. Love you so much!!