This is a continuing email exchange between Wayne and a man who is struggling with healing, faith, love, trust, and mortality as his wife appears to be dying from metastasized breast cancer in the face of a promise they both held in their hearts for her healing.
From Alan on May 3, 2019 (seven days after first email)
Lynn is treading water, and I am treading with her. I continue to pray and believe for a miraculous intervention and healing in this realm but have also started praying, “May your will be done, Father.”
It occurred to me that most of my life I have equated asking the Father for “His will to be done” with something negative. Almost as if that is a prayer option guaranteed to disappoint.
He has done amazing things already – Lynn has lived four years and four months longer than the original prognosis of two to three months rendered in January 2015. She has lived three months longer than hospice thought when they were called in early February. They said two to three days.
What Alan wants is a Lynn completely well on this earth, totally cancer-free and full of renewed health and vitality. What God wants may be the same, or it may be different and may include her being cancer-free and full of renewed health and vitality in the eternal realm.
I see a need in my life to trust Him entirely and be comfortable with praying, “Your will be done” in all situations. I think you would call it learning to “live loved.” It’s funny, I preach His love as limitless, unending and without condition, yet I am finding that I have much to learn myself about believing the very thing I share with others.
So we wait. I feel terrible for Lynn to be confined to an uncomfortable hospice bed, totally reliant on me for juice or water, unable to go outside and enjoy the warm weather she loves so much. She isn’t complaining. She’s never complained. She’s the same strong, peaceful woman I have been privileged to know and love all these years.
I am getting impatient I guess – what a selfish way to think. I pray, “God, please either heal her or take her to be with you.” I wonder if that prayer stems more from my discomfort than hers.
Nevertheless, we wait upon the Lord. Thankful that He has brought folks like yourself along for the journey. I am not overstating when I say that your emails have helped sustain me. Thank you for caring and allowing God to use you in our lives.
I hate your pain but love your note and your heart in the midst of this. In the face of great need, the lie that haunts us is that there must be one more thing we can do that will turn the tide as if all we’ve done to date while well-intentioned just wasn’t enough to move the Creator. He’s waiting for someone to do just the right thing, or say the right words. It’s just not true. Who knows how God works, how he determines the days of our lives, how he intervenes or doesn’t? We don’t.
But I trust this. If there’s more he needs or wants you to say or do here, he will make it known to you. He has had plenty of time to heal Lynn, so we might consider at this point that healing may not happen. Love her and say your good-byes as best you can in trust that all of this is in his hands. And God making it clear won’t come through the anguished advice of well-intentioned though misguided friends.
If this is her homecoming, he is still preparing things in her, even though you can’t see them from the outside. He’s making ready her part of his bride and will liberate her into the next life at the right time. It may not look that way to you or me, but he knows what he is doing. I love how you’re loving her and how you are learning to live loved even in the most difficult and painful of circumstances. It will bear fruit in your heart until the end of your days.
From Alan on May 6, 2019 (ten days after first email):
Have I said “thank you” yet? You are doing the absolute work of God Himself in my life. In the darkest of hours, your words are His light cutting through to my heart. I am dumbfounded at the power and anointing that jumps off of the screen as I read over and over what God has given you for me.
I was imagining sitting with you at a coffee bar and getting gut-level honest. The words from Heaven that you sent to me about loving Lynn well had two effects:
First, they encouraged me beyond my ability to articulate. As I mentioned at that time, they came from the Holy Spirit directly.
Second, they cut like a hot knife into the recesses of the past, exposing the truth that many times I have not “loved Lynn well.” I’ve had wandering eyes, incredibly ungodly thoughts and imaginations, and a list of regrets that would fill pages.
I have begged God while sitting at her bedside, hot tears streaming down my face for “another chance, Father!” I want a do-over, an opportunity to love her every day with the knowledge of the pain that I have now. I want another chance to ‘love her as Christ loves the church, giving himself for her.” Thank you for sharing with me that God sees me doing that now.
I feel so special in all of this, as if you are penning a personal book little by little to me. I am confident that you have touched millions of folks and changed their lives.
Please know that your words are like a spiritual solution in an IV bottle that God is sending into my veins. I literally feel His presence when we communicate, and that is comfort for which I am desperately grateful.
Alan, your gratefulness is well noted, and appreciated. But this exchange is about you and God’s grace and love in the midst of such horrible experience…
And I would say this, “loving a woman well” is not a standard of perfection by which we judge the past; it is the trajectory of our growth. You’ve grown into this ability to love Lynn the way God wants Lynn loved in her passing if this is her time. Of course, none of us know that, so it makes it difficult to say the good-byes with people we love. Entrust whatever healing might come into the hands of your gracious Father and spend this time as if it is her passing. It may not be, and if it’s not you’ll have no regrets. If it is, you’ll be grateful for the closure you’ve had in the midst of it.
All is in Father’s hands. This moment is all we have, not what could or might be. We just have the moment and his grace inhabits it with us. We are not alone in any of it, and we are not abandoned to our own wisdom or resources.
“Father, hold Alan and Lynn in the palm of your hands today. Cover them with life and light and grace and comfort. As you are seemingly drawing Lynn into your eternity, may she be totally lost in you and your love. The same for Alan, Father. Overwhelm him with your love, quiet his anxious thoughts and let yours spell the day in his heart and mind. Jesus, may your grace be clear as you stand alongside Alan, feeling everything that he feels and knowing how best to soothe his soul and bear his pain. Spirit of the Most High, do your work for “those who mourn” until grief of this difficult passing be swallowed up in all the joys their relationship contained, and all it will contain for ages to come.”
To be continued…
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