He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

I want to do a quick update on this week for Tom. 

The day before surgery visiting Lake Michigan
Our 3 year old granddaughter has a cd that we listen to in the van and she has all the songs memorized.  She loves to sing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.  This includes the lines-He’s got you and me brother in His hands.  That has been made very clear to us the past few weeks.

We arrived at Blodgett Hospital at 5:30 AM on Tuesday, May 9.  There were a couple of hours of preparation.  As surgery time approached our children and I gathered around Tom to pray.  Dr. Umali, the anesthesiologist, joined us in prayer by removing his surgery headcover and bowing his head.  That meant so much to me.  It showed me that the doctor recognized that we are all in God’s hands and we depend on His protection for every day of our lives. 

The story of how Dr. Umali got assigned to Tom’s case is another example of God’s hand is at work in ways we can’t anticipate.  The week before surgery, Tom had to have a stress test to okay him for surgery.  While he was in the test, Eric and I stopped for lunch at Roses. (If at this point, you are asking why I was out to lunch and not with Tom, talk to me about it.  I’ve heard about that from several of you about that. 😊) We were eating our lunch and a group of women were seated in the booth next to ours.  Dianne Ullery who is married to Tom’s cousin Dan, was in the group.  As we chatted I told her about Tom’s upcoming surgery.  Dianne is a nurse who teaches at Calvin but also works at Blodgett.  She immediately said she was going to look to see who was assigned to be the anesthesiologist for Tom’s surgery.  A couple of days later, she let me know that she had arranged for Dr. Eric Umali to be on Tom’s case.  Her choice was wonderful. His expertise and gentle caring manner were a comfort to us and I’m sure part of the reason Tom did not experience an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. 

His surgery began on time and ended three hours later just as expected.  The surgeon met with us while Tom was in recovery.  My first question was going to be, “Were there any surprises?”  She came in the room and said, “The surgery went well and there were no surprises.”  Wonderful words to hear.

After 1.5 hours in the recovery room, Tom was transferred to his room.  His day was uneventful from a medical standpoint.  Jennifer Weiland, a friend who has been through many surgeries with her son, posted on our Facebook, “Sending prayers for a nice boring night.”  That is what you want in situations like this.  And his day was boring from a medical standpoint.  By evening he could walk on his own and enjoying the food service available at Blodgett.

Faith Bible Church sent beautiful flowers

Tom’s pain was under control all day and we spent the reminder of the day resting and visiting with family and our dear friend Kathi.  Kathi writes a beautiful blog called Summer Setting.  She wrote about our week on two posts this week.  Do You Know His Name?  tells about how Kathi discovered that Tom’s legal first name is Chester.  Thomas is his middle name and he has always gone by Tom. She talks about our faith in  What Happens After We Die? .  You can click on any of the links to go to the blog.  It is beautifully written and the photography is always outstanding. 

The azalea tree that Kathi carried from hospital to hospital before finding us

Tom was discharged on Wednesday morning and we arrived home mid-afternoon.  Since then he has been relaxing in his recliner, enjoying family meals and praising God that the first step of his treatment is behind him.

We are comforted knowing that the ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’ as we continue on this journey.  The next step is chemo which will begin when healing from the surgery is more complete.  We are anticipating that this will happen in 3-4 weeks.

As we said before, we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and good wishes from all of you.  Facebook posts and likes, text messages, cards, calls and visits mean so much to us and have been such an encouragement to Tom.  

Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude.  We continue to rely on God for strength knowing that He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

Tom's sisters brought the bright flowers


  1. Thank you for sharing, Brenda. I am continually comforted and amazed at the way our Heavenly Father takes care of even the smallest details. Life interrupted.....but never a surprise to our Father.

  2. Love this post! I was going to call you this morning to see how you're all doing, but now I know you're okay and won't "bother" you! I'm sure one of the hard things is answering everybody's questions. This blog is the perfect way to keep all of us in the loop! I'm so glad for Savvy's songs; this will doubtless grow her little heart in faith. God is so good! Is she able to resist jumping on Grandpa's lap? I'm praying that she's secure in his love and understanding of his needs! XOXOXO

  3. Brenda, add my thanks to everyone else's for this blog! It's wonderful to be able to drop by and see how things are going. Your family is in our prayers- I love seeing how you rest in Him.

  4. Wonderful news, Brenda. I am reminded of a song by Laura Hackett, "You Satisfy My Soul". The line, "You take the darkest night, and You turn it to shining light, just when I thought the night had won". Praying as you and Tom walk in God's light day by day. Hugs. Mir

  5. I don't like that this happened to Tom and your family, but I liked what I read here. I'm thankful for your journey being unenventful - or maybe just plain boring. Boring is good. We have been praying for you more than daily. We know that God might have the whole world in his hands, but it's a great comfort to know that he specifically has Tom in his hands. As I read your story I couldn't help hearing the words of Psalm 91:4 in my head.
    He will cover you with his feathers.
        He will shelter you with his wings.
         His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
    Prayers, love, and hugs to you all.

  6. Tom & Brenda, please know that your new neighbors on Elmwood will be praying for Tom as he travels through this new journey. God is in control and in times such as this I think of a favorite verse of mine. For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11. God is with you both and is working through you. Your love for God will shine through and as others see your love this will be Toms mission field. God has Tom in the palm of his hand and will be carrying him through this journey.


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