Running the Race

Our scholar, David Symon, shares how he carried on with his research through chemotherapy..

“PhD is a journey,” our group was told during our induction at OCMS. I knew my PhD research would take years of perseverance considering that I was doing it part time alongside my ministry obligations and raising four small children. What I was not prepared for was what took place in 2020. I had not been feeling well for some time. Once day, my doctor called me into his consulting room and said: ‘Listen, you have nearly zero white blood cells,’ and sent me promptly to the hospital for more check-ups. There they figured I had acute leukaemia and immediately started chemotherapy.

It was hard, but after the initial shock, my wife and I had peace. The good thing was it was the most treatable type of leukaemia. Many people prayed for us all over the world; the OCMS community prayed for me. From the beginning I felt God’s presence and enormous support from people. One night, my roommate and I were watching a movie about Formula 1. The stands were full of spectators, and I realized: “This is it, I have full stands of people watching me as in Hebrews 12: the cloud of witnesses and I run the race together .”

When I was better, they brought my laptop to the hospital, and I started to analyse the interviews I performed the previous two years. My roommate was a sales manager and had a laptop too, so we both had our “home office” and worked even as chemotherapy went into our veins.

I was reminded that I am not the lord of my life. Romans 14:7-8 says that whether we live or die, we do it for the Lord for we are His. So, if anything bad is happening to me, it does not mean I should turn my back on God. On the contrary, I need to be with Him even more. There is not much privacy in the hospital, but I had my earphones and was able to listen to worship music and pray. God touched me, and those were precious moments.

Currently, I am doing well. I’ve recently sent in the full text of my thesis on identity of Czech missionaries in former Yugoslavia countries. I’m near the end of my studies at OCMS! I would like to encourage my fellow travellers at OCMS that no matter what major or minor obstacles appear on your PhD journey, stick to God and press on.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Recent posts

Recently Completed PhD Theses

Jeffrey Thomas ‘Religious Spatiality and the Public Sphere: The Spatial Theory of Michel de Certeau and Religious Space’ Jeffrey argues that the spatial theory of

Read More »