Our Unexpected Journey

This week Floyd has been sleepy on and off but calm and restful.  He has also had some wonderful visits from friends from our Kabul and Amsterdam days.  That was very special for him I’m sure.  He has been raising his hand in worship with some of the carers.  Also, when the carer asked him to do some exercises - he took the nebulizer off, laid it on the bed, and systematically started raising his arm, leg, and head over and over.  It was quite amazing.  I'm encouraged by his understanding and clear responses.

I have been working to get lots of details in place before I start my chemo treatment soon.  I have felt such a sweet presence of the Lord guiding me, helping me.  I've asked Him to be my husband through all this in Floyd's absence.  I know He will faithfully do that.

In the midst of all that has happened this year, I think the Lord has wanted to teach me a new level of trust in Him - and to teach me how to persevere in difficult circumstances.

I've always been a "steady" type person.  In a crisis situation, I'm usually pretty cool, calm, and collected.  I can handle pressure, know what to do, keep things together, and navigate through the emergency.

But I have to say that what we have gone through this past year has taken me WAY beyond what I can do as a "steady" person.  I feel like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool, and I don't know how to swim!

I've always had a good walk with the Lord - I would even say a strong walk with Him.  But this past year has pressed me deeper and deeper and deeper into Him.  It's been the only way I could survive.

It's not been an option to "quit" as Floyd has needed me - needed me to supervise and over-see his care.  I made a vow before the Lord almost 50 years ago to stand by him in times like this - "for better or worse, in sickness and in health."  I've HAD to learn how to persevere in new ways.

The only way to do that has been to trust God for the strength, wisdom, and grace to persevere.  He has been very, very faithful!

I wonder if these lessons are not just for me, but maybe for all of us.  I know He wants us to go deeper in Him.  And He wants us to be able to persevere when things are rough.

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better."  Ephesians 1:17

"I pray that your love may grow stronger and stronger, along with how much you know, and that you may grow in your ability to comprehend things."  Philippians 1:9,10

"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings."  Philippians 3:10

We can pray that God will grant that we, His people, will know Him more deeply!  That He will teach us His ways.  Psalm 103:7  

I've also been reflecting on the power of hope, and what a gift it is from the Lord.  Something that John Eldredge wrote has been helpful.

"Hope is one of the Three Great Treasures of the human heart: "Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love."  1 Corinthians 13:13  A life without faith has no meaning; a life without love simply isn't worth living; but a life without hope is a dark cavern from which you never escape. These things aren't simply "virtues."  Faith, hope, and love are mighty forces.  And hope is the cornerstone; the fate of the other two depends upon hope's resilience.

"We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God's people - the faith and love that spring from hope."  Colossians 1:3-5

Isn't that surprising - both our faith and our love "spring from" or "result from" our hope.  But of course.  Hopelessness makes it impossible to care.  Without hope, faith is just a doctrine gathering dust on our shelves. The highest things that make a heart worth having and a life worth living - they rise or fall upon the condition of our hope.  Which makes hope the mightiest force of all (love is the noblest; hope is the linchpin)."

I loved this perspective.  Through the ups and downs, twists and turns of our unexpected journey this past year - I have battled diligently to keep hope alive in my heart.  I have felt it was "vital" for me to do so.  On the most difficult days, I often prayed for God to strengthen my hope!  I'm grateful to say that my heart is still full of hope. My prayers are bathed in it - even on the hardest of days.

"Having hope will give you courage.  You will be protected and will rest in safety."  Job 11:18

"The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love."  Psalm 147:11

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isaiah 40:31

"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."  Psalm 119:114

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him."  Romans 15:13

"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope."  Psalm 130:5

I could go on and on and on.  The verses are endless.  His hope is strong and sure.......and my hope is in Him.