Life has presented some extreme challenges for me over recent time. As the stages of my life have rapidly taken one turn after the next, I had to stop today, and think about why. For about a year that quiet voice inside of me that the mature Christian comes to know as the Holy Spirit – the Lord’s connection to each of us, if we will only listen – has been telling me to study a book of the Bible I had read, but had not studied – Job. My Momma always told me, “Even a worm learns;” and so do I.
We all hear about “the patience of Job” or “why bad things happen to good people,” but that isn’t the core meaning of Job at all. It is this: Even when we are behaving like good Christians, penitent and asking for forgiveness for our transgressions, we can rock along for many, many years without our faith being refined. In the beginning of the book, Job was a good and faithful man; at the end of the book, even his faith was much further refined. Even after every disaster and loss of wealth and children, and his own health, Job’s faith was refined, and proven true.
After enjoying the mutual love with my children until their mid-30’s, I lost both of them to the world for different reasons. I became inconvenient in their lives, and they ejected me. This seems to be a reoccurring theme of many baby boomers and their children. The only way to keep them in our world is to abandon our core values, and some of us refuse to do that. The alternative is to love them from afar, and leave them in the Lord’s hands.
The next trauma has proven to be the one that has turned my world totally upside down. We found out a short time ago that my husband has Metastatic Prostate Cancer. I pray for the Lord to help the chemo, hormone treatment, and bone healing treatment heal my husband. My husband is even more amazing than his usual right now. You cannot imagine how whole and present he is in the middle of stage 4 cancer. If my love could heal, he would be the healthiest man on the planet.
It would seem that the trauma train has entered the station to stay! A very recent MRI done by my spine doctor, has rewarded me with a golden ticket back to my neurosurgeon. Time will tell if there is something proactive to do to quell my recently elevated pain (in spite of a ten plus year successful pain program), and other serious medical predicaments caused by a compromised nerve bundle. I walk with the Lord hour by hour, moment by moment, and I know His will be done. I must rest on that.
Just like Job, I pray for my faith to be refined and proven true through these tribulations life has handed me. Being human, I have many flaws. They say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” In looking over the 62 years I have been on this planet I know that my intentions were always good, even though they didn’t always bear fruit, and would sometimes bear the opposite of what I thought was happening at the time. Being human, I have cried my heart out over more recent events. I don’t know that tears do much good, except to clear the cobwebs out of my heart, mind, and soul. No matter the empty place my children and their families have left in my heart, I have come to realize that I have about 35 years of wonderful memories with each. I can rest on the love and influence I have had on each of them. Nothing can take all of those millions of good memories from me. It may be that the road they must travel just cannot include me right now.
Cancer. That has become such a devastating word in our language. After several months now, it would seem that nothing has changed, except for the loss of some of my husband’s hair. His hair is beautiful, and he has kept it blocked at the collar to please me. The loss of hair doesn’t seem to bother him for he loves a military cut anyway. There is a blessing in every little thing if we look for it. I have come past the devastation of the word, and have come to believe that he is beating the odds already, and will be with me for many more years.
As far as my recent medical developments, it just doesn’t seem to pack the punch it would have many years ago. I will do whatever is prudent to maintain the quality of life John and I have so far enjoyed. The bottom line is that whether John and I are here, or with the Lord is insignificant. Neither of us intends to leave the other one here by themselves if there is any way we can prevent that outcome. It would be ever so joyous if John and I traveled from this existence into the next within close proximity of the other. But, we do not pretend to know if that will be sooner or much later, and we are determined to get past all of this with faith and the grace of our Lord.
I imagine being 86 years old and seeing John across the dinner table with me. This is the stuff of faith in miracles. Neither of us forget for a minute that we found each other because we both prayed the same prayer to The Lord at the same time; and the Lord loves us so much He gave one to the other in answer to those prayers. John and I have so many good days in balance to about 3 or 4 bad ones over almost 20 years. The marital infidelities and traumas I experienced before John seem to have happened in a different lifetime, to a different woman. God looked down on me and smiled because even after being to hell and back several times, my faith in the institution of Christian marriage was not shaken. I have so many blessings, I cannot seem to count them all in a few minutes. Faith when all is fabulous really is easy; faith in the middle of a many faceted crap-storm is what we all pray we are capable of. We are absolutely being refined, and when all is said and done, I hope to be defined by my strength in my faith being refined and proven true.