This is part eleven of our continuing story of Alan and Lynn that began as In the Shadow of Death. Despite their best theological certainty that God would heal her, Lynn passed away from metastasized breast cancer. Alan is left to deal not only with his grief, but his view of a God he was certain would heal her.
From Alan July 25, 2019 (90 days after first email):
So, think of this: A decade or more ago, Lynn and I were driving somewhere on vacation. She popped in. a CD and I asked, “Who is this?”
She said, “Wayne Jacobsen.”
I was intrigued immediately as you were describing to the group how you lived your life led by the Spirit and therefore couldn’t commit to a speaking engagement you had been invited to a year ahead.
A few years later, you were in Raleigh at the North Ridge Country Club and Lynn, and I got to drive you to lunch. We were so thankful for 5 minutes of personal time, even though we didn’t get into anything “deeply spiritual.”
At the time, I was going through a radical change in my understanding of the Gospel. Different folks have different parts of the revelation of the Gospel that God is restoring to the church. You have a unique experience, and I have always been impressed that you stay in what God has shown you. You’re not trying to be someone else or preach their revelation.
In this respect, I had a chance to be at a gathering again in Raleigh at some folks’ house a few years ago. I sent you a Facebook message afterward that I was so impressed at how many hurting people were in that gathering.
Fast forward to April 2019, I read Ending the Daisy Petal Game < https://www.lifestream.org/ending-the-daisy-petal-game/>, and I felt like emailing you (and honestly, did not think you’d respond just because you are so busy.) You did reply and Wayne, I know beyond the shadow of all doubt that God used you and is using you to get me through this horror. (I still call it that although I’m not sure how much longer I will stay in that mindset.)
And here we are in July 2019. I selfishly hope that something like, “Hey Alan, I’ll be nearby and have a couple of days with a light schedule. Want to get together?” But, if not, then perhaps you will keep letting God use you. I cannot stress enough that He is using you.
I was re-reading some of our chats from when Lynn was still alive. Of course, the torrent of tears returned. I thought back to how amazed I was that you would take time to respond to me in an ongoing manner. I was thinking you’d get tired of me and my cynicism and either stop responding.
What I am saying is that ten or so years ago God knew all of this and prompted Lynn to play that CD and prompted us to go to North Ridge and prompted and prompted and here we are. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being available.
Isn’t it amazing how God works? He’s knitting things together from a decade ago because he knew you’d need help in this season. If that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmingly loved and that he has had his eyes on you both this whole time, I don’t know what else will. This is miraculous to me. Not the kind of flashy stuff you’d put on TV but seeing his hand in the long trajectory of our lives.
And while you were wondering if God’s love was real because of what you watched your wife endure, he was already surrounding both of you with the love you needed to get through this. Of course, it was easy to miss because it wasn’t the expression of love you wanted. So much of my life has sorted out this way, too. I’m trying to get God to do what I think is best, and he’s already doing what he knows is best. I’ve learned after disappointments too numerous to count, that there is so much joy to be had, even in this broken world, by watching what he is doing, instead of trying to manipulate him into what I think he should do.
Let’s keep that availability thing on the down low, however. Unfortunately, there’s no way I can have an exchange like this with everyone going through a brutal time. I get overwhelmed with email and connections all the time, but over the years, I’ve learned to trust Father’s ability to manage my time. I don’t protect myself with secretaries or administrative people. I try to answer every email I get as lovingly as I can, even though most are far shorter than we have exchanged. And I try to give my full attention to whoever wants to talk with me.
I’ve had a few others like this that have gone this length because I felt God was in it and often times that spills over to others as well as it will on the blog. I’ve gotten so much feedback from our exchanges. Many have said this subject matter is rarely talked about so openly, especially in the context of a real event. Mostly, Christian speakers use hypotheticals to make his point, or take a singular event and try to stretch it into a universal principle. We had no idea where this would go when it began, but that’s where life is really lived.
Blessings on you today, my Friend. May God’s love overwhelm your grief more and more every day and take you on to all the life he still has for you.
To be continued… (We’re almost done here. I think there will be one more in this series unless something changes.)