In the Shadow of Death, Part 2

This post is a continuing story begun in a previous blog, about Alan’s struggle with love, trust, and healing as his wife appeared to be dying from metastasized breast cancer in the face of a promise they both hold in their hearts for her healing.

This second email came a few days after our first exchange.

From Alan on April 28, 2019 (two days after first email):

Lynn is still suspended between heaven and earth. She told me a few days ago she was ready to “leave” and I asked her why. (Just a few days prior and all along the journey she has said she is believing God will miraculously heal her). She answered my “Why?” with, “Because it’s God’s plan.”

I later took her by the hand and walked her to the door and said, “It’s okay, Lynn. You can go now. I’ll be along sometime.”

I thought she’d pass to the other side, but she is still in limbo. I think her body is not at the place of shutting down yet, even though she is ready.

So, I’m giving her water and juice as she needs, fluffing her pillows and staying with her. A lot of folks have dropped off as the journey has gotten more difficult, which is why your encouragement means more than I can articulate.

I still believe for a miracle in this realm, I feel as long as she is breathing, there is a chance. But, if she wants to go, I want her to go in peace. I will be devastated but will thank God she is with Him.

My Response:

I don’t’ know where I got this line in my head, but it has been a personal mission since I heard it—“I’ve done one thing in my life—I’ve loved a woman well.” Regardless of what else happens in and through my life, at its end, I want to be able to say I loved the woman God gave me well.  And even more importantly, I want to hear her say that I have.

You, my friend, are doing that. You’re loving a woman well, giving of yourself even in your sorrow and pain without anything in return. Bless you!  Bless you!  Bless you! So many stories don’t end as well as we are led to believe. We all want painless, easy passings into the life beyond. But death is a bear for most people. They linger far longer than we think they would, even when it seems like there’s no sense in them staying.

But dying has its work too, I think. It is shaping you and her for the transition she’s about to experience. So, just keep hanging in there, Alan. This is what love means. This is grace to the fullest when you feel it the least. May God give you all the strength and courage you need to love this woman well until there’s no more to love, on this side….

I write with tears in my eyes for you, Alan. I have a sense of how hard this must be for you. I have tasted a bit of that pain, but fortunately, not yet with my beloved.  Loving her through this process is a great work, perhaps the most significant thing you’ll ever do. May you have joy and peace that is beyond the moment and may it overwhelm your heart.

Joy beyond the tears, joy greater than the pain.

From Alan on April 30, 2019:

I am without adequate words to reply. I have no idea how you feel about the present day “gifts of the Spirit,” but let me assure you the Holy Spirit gave you the words that are like an arrow to the center of my wondering–why the lingering? Why not a healing? What is going on?

I thank you so much for being sensitive to Him, to write as He leads. You have been used by God like a huge hypodermic needle full of grace and love to encourage me… to help me go farther than I could fathom. I am blown away.

I’ve got the God-is-sovereign friends fighting the take-dominion-over-the-cancer” friends, fighting-the-have-you-tried-juicing-these-11-vegetables friends all vying for my attention. God has used you to blow all of that away and let me see that I have hope in Him – regardless of how this all ends. (I cringed writing that because I want it to end with her healed and living to 80, celebrating our kids getting married, having grandchildren and all of those things).

Trust me; there is nothing noble at this point in my asserting, “His will be done.” But, in the end, that is what I want, no matter how awful the future seems to be when I imagine it without my sweet Lynn.

Wayne, God has used you beyond my ability to say. Thank you so much! When so many things are vying for your attention, that you would let yourself be used by God to help me is an amazing blessing.

My Response:

I sensed Father’s voice in both emails I sent you.  That’s actually why I sent them. I felt they were more from God than me, but happy to be some fingers a keyboard for him, if that’s what is happening here.

Sadly, Christians are notorious for giving lousy counsel in the throes of death, more interested in making them feel better than in comforting people who are going through pain. I hope someday we learn simply to weep with those who weep…

To be continued…

Read Part 3 here. 

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2 thoughts on “In the Shadow of Death, Part 2”

  1. PAROLE DE DIEU : 2 CO 1, 3-4Béni soit Dieu, le Père de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ, le Père plein de tendresse, le Dieu de qui vient tout réconfort. Dans toutes nos détresses, il nous réconforte ; ainsi, nous pouvons réconforter tous ceux qui sont dans la détresse, grâce au réconfort que nous recevons nous-mêmes de Dieu.

    Translation: GOD’S WORD: 2 CO 1, 3-4 Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father full of tenderness, the God of whom comes all comfort. In all our distresses he comforts us; thus, we can comfort all those who are in distress, thanks to the comfort we receive ourselves from God.

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