“and if not, He is still good” Daniel 3:18
How we desperately wanted earthly healing.
Time and time again, we thought it was in our grasp. We were hopeful that God had chosen to heal Tim here.
Turns out, that wasn’t His plan at all. Nothing would kill the cancerous tumor eating through my husband’s head and neck. Not the maximum amount of radiation a human throat can handle. Not the brutal 23 hour surgery on my 41st birthday. A surgery so intense and complicated, it required meticulous transplantation of a large portion of his forearm into his throat. Then, they grafted new skin to his arm from the top of his thigh. We resided in that hospital for an entire month of touch-and-go surgical recovery, returning numerous times to the operating room for emergency intervention.
But still the aggressive cancer remained, quickly overtaking the transplanted tissue.
From the point of diagnosis to the time we had exhausted all medical avenues for healing, nearly an entire year had passed. We spent another eight months enduring nasty chemotherapy in an effort to extend his young life. We were determined to gain more time for him with our children. This chemo was so toxic that it was only administered as in-patient and ended up requiring a ten day hospital stay out of each twenty-one days. It was advised against as too risky by many doctors, but we had a champion in Tim’s oncologist of twenty-five years and he was willing to try. I vividly remember standing beside the doctor in my husband’s hospital room as the first drops dripped into his veins. We were both holding our breath. There was a very real probability that the drug concoction itself would end Tim’s life. But he was losing the battle anyway, so why not try?
Eventually, the chemo destroyed our quality of life, we were spending more time in the hospital than at home and his time at home was spent weak and bed-ridden. Chemotherapy was halted and hospice was advised.
Five months later my husband died at the age of forty five; leaving myself and our two children to complete this journey as a family of three. Our son was fourteen and our daughter thirteen when their Daddy met Jesus face to face.
I am not one to sugar coat this life; never have been. I won’t deny the pain or the agony of watching a strong man wither away as cancer claims its seeming victory. It was horrific. However, I am also not one to overlook the blessings from our God; never have been. I equally cannot deny the beauty of watching a godly man lean hard into Jesus as he awaits deaths arrival. God carried us through one step at a time. He washed us in His indescribable peace. He blessed us with His strength.
You see, we KNEW God would heal Tim. We had absolutely NO doubt. What we didn’t know was if God would choose earthly healing for him or would choose to heal him in His presence. We hoped for healing on this earth. We dreamed of a continued life as a family of four here. We prayed. We trusted.
The Kutless song “Even If” was our anthem.
“Even If the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God
You are good
Forever Faithful One
Even If the healing doesn’t come.”
God did not give us the earthly healing we craved. Life did fall apart. For the three of us remaining this side of heaven, dreams have been left undone. It may look ugly and messy from the outside, and it sure feels that way at times on the inside; but God has not left us.
God DID answer our prayers for Tim’s healing. Tim is healed completely. God is God. He is good. He is faithful. I have no doubt He will continue to show our family of three His goodness as we venture forward. That doesn’t mean this life will be all roses and butterflies; His goodness isn’t always focused on the here and now, it has a lens on the eternal.
You see, we can’t always understand His purposes and won’t necessarily fully comprehend His ways, but we can rest in the knowledge of His goodness.
I still dream of beauty in this life. The dreams are altering without my husband by my side, but I am still dreaming. I will forever carry the scars of our loss, but I am gingerly learning how to move forward; carried by Tim’s love and God’s faithfulness.
Lori Reynolds Streller is a mother of two who finds herself smack dab in the middle of widowhood. She is choosing a life of gratitude by intentionally living this new life well. She answers to Mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Her sanity is fueled by daily time with Jesus and a lot of coffee. Boot camp workouts and running are her stress relievers. As a writer/speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries, Lori uses her sense of humor and her reliance on God’s faithfulness to minister to others. She boldly claims the goodness of her Lord in the midst of chaotic suffering.
If you are interested in having Lori speak at your church or function, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other articles written by this author: http://anewseason.net/author/loris/
For more on this topic see:
Unimaginable Blessings by Sheryl Pepple
Perspective Cures Envy by Erika Graham
God is Good – Even When It Seems Bad – Part Three by a collection of authors