Over the course of this journey with my wife, I have experienced a mentality that is sometimes exhausting. Almost simultaneously, my heart and mind lead me in two opposing directions. First, I want more than anything to keep the faith, to watch for Gail’s healing with no doubt. Of course, this has been my desire since the moment of realization that this revelation was not a dream. This is always challenging. Secondly, I find myself often planning ahead as to what I will do when the house is empty, the nights are long, and life has left me standing in the rain alone. What needs to be done to prepare? How will I go on? What will occupy my time when the demands of my ministry are completed each day? This list of questions is very long.
Gail and I have discussed these opposing forces many times. Either viewpoint can cause me to feel guilty and discouraged. Surely my faith is weak. If I just believed more ardently, Gail would have been healed months ago. If I just trusted God more faithfully, I would not worry about the future, something over which I have no control. But here I am, tied up in knots, facing two powerful dilemmas.
At first, my prayers for healing were long and emotional. Even some of those who came to heal Gail, became emotional, almost to a frenzy. No healing. Either their faith and zeal were not enough, or our faith was not enough. All of their emotion honestly left us more-empty than when they arrived to save the day. My own emotional tears often left me with the same feeling. I found myself asking, “Why do I have to beg a Father who loves me, to do something so obvious for one of His children?” I now find my prayers for Gail are usually shorter. “Lord, You know what we want. You know what we think would bring You the most glory and would advance Kingdom causes more effectively. Please heal my wife.” So far, the result has been the same. No healing. This is very frustrating.
But, I take some solace in a certain revelation that God has allowed me to see about myself. I’m still going to Him with this request and other associated requests. I still go to His Word daily, and I still hear His voice through the Scriptures. Though He seems deathly silent at times, I still hear His quiet, serene and powerful voice. I sense Him explaining to me that it takes deeper faith to stay with Him after all these months of negative answers, than it does to experience instant healing. To-date, I still don’t like the answer, but, “No,” has not driven me from Him - but rather to Him. God’s “no,” is sometimes a deeper, “yes.” Nevertheless, I want my wife to be healed and I’ll not stop asking Him for that end.
I am, by nature, a visionary person. I have been told this since I was a young man. Sometimes this gift is wonderful. I know there is always something wonderful over the next hill and just beyond the visible horizon, usually because I have a picture of it in my mind. I believe this is why I am nearing retirement age, with no intention of retiring anytime soon. I see too much that needs to be done, and I see that I have a role in its accomplishment.
Other times, being a visionary is a curse. I can’t help but think of the future, a fate possibly without Gail. I sit in my chair in the silence of late-night staring into a lonely future. I come downstairs in the morning to a quiet house; something I usually enjoy, but it dawns upon me that the quiet will persist long after I would will it away. I want to hear the floor creak under the slight weight of my wife getting out of bed in the morning. What will I do when there is no creak? As I chat with her in a restaurant, I turn my head for a moment, and when I turn it back towards her, she is not there. Why would I even go to a restaurant without Gail? The list goes on and on and on. I cannot, not think about this possibly eventuality. It sucks.
But, once again, God has reminded me of something deeply gratifying. No matter what happens in the future, I will still go to Him and He will still be there. I will go to Him because His “no” meant ultimate victory over cancer, and His Work marches on in miraculous ways because of this hideous monster. Nothing can defeat God. Nothing can stop His purpose. The gates of hell are no match for His mighty sword. Somehow, someway, God and I will go on. He has reminded me that my faith will grow stronger, not weaker through this experience; no matter what the outcome.
Growing deeper sometimes sucks! As much as we all would like to think differently, our faith grows best in the desert where only God can water the soil. No amount of human effort avails to anything and we must finally decide where we will go to obtain life. I would still rather take the “longer” road to deeper faith; faith that includes many more years with my wife.
So, there... I said it Lord, once again. Please heal my wife. She has much yet to offer this world and there is no question she would gladly do so in Your name. Let Hezekiah’s prayer also be answered in her behalf.
P.S. As always, I asked Gail to read and edit this post. We always read one another’s posts before we publicize them. On this particular morning, this message struck a sad chord in her and she became a bit emotional. She said, “This is true, and it needs to be said, but it makes me sad.” I replied, “Why,” to which she said, “I’m the one who dies in the story.” It cut me deeply that I wrote something that would add to her pain. Still, she added, “This needs to be sent.” We argued a bit and she persists.
We are trying to be open and honest in this blog. Open and honest sometimes means pain because the truth is painful. So, as she wishes, I am revealing some difficult thoughts. She reminds me that this is also my pain. We’re in this struggle together, so we’ve got that going for us! :)