Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24
Two years after our marriage was restored, my wife Therese started to experience shortness of breath. This was highly unusual. She was an aerobics instructor and very fit. Doctors determined that scar tissue from cancer radiation therapy 25 years earlier was causing her heart and lungs to malfunction. On May 8, 2000, Therese went into the hospital for surgery to remove the scar tissue. What was supposed to be a four-day hospital stay turned into four months.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
I spent every day with Therese in the hospital; I met her every need. One day, after wiping her bottom and dressing her bedsores, Therese looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “This is what love is!” Although my wife came home physically two years earlier, she now came home emotionally and spiritually. Our marriage was truly healed!
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
My wife’s condition was not improving. The doctors called for a family meeting. I knew that this was serious. I was late getting to the meeting because of heavy traffic. As I sat in traffic, I prayed that God would give me a sign. At that moment, a large tractor-trailer truck, with no markings, passed by on the left. On the rear doors of the trailer was this Scripture passage:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I was confident that this message was for the healing of Therese. A few days later, on September 10, 2000 Therese died. God had healed Therese but not in the way that I expected. He did have a plan and future for me; I had to trust that He would bless me through my obedience to Him throughout my marriage to Therese.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14
I am thankful that God placed a burden on my heart to pray for my wife and to stand for my marriage. During those two years of a restored relationship, we experienced the marriage of our only daughter and the birth of our first grandchild. God prepared me in the desert for the passing of my wife. He was gracious to me and gave me strength to endure both divorce and death. Divorce was by far the harder of the two.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame… Psalm 25:3
Did my life turn out the way I wanted? Did I expect my marriage to be restored only to have my wife die only two years later? Did I lose hope and faith because of an unhappy ending to our story? The answer to all these questions is a resounding “No!” Often, we have such a narrow view of our situation. In the midst of our struggles, we view life down in the weeds. God, on the other hand sees the big picture from a heavenly perspective. He sees your life in its entirety. We have such a myopic view of things that it is impossible to comprehend God working in the struggles of the moment. God is with you, right now, at this very moment. He is on the case, working on your behalf, bringing good out of your situation. Trust Him in this.
And surely I am with you always… Matthew 28:20
I do not know why God chose to take my wife home when He did. I thought my life was over. But God, in His infinite mercy, did have a plan for my life, a future filled with hope (Jer 29:11). God brought another godly woman into my life, Rose. Together, we are working to build strong and healthy marriages so couples avoid the desert experience of separation and divorce. God has chosen to use for good that which Satan meant for harm (see Rom 8:28).
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
The one thing that I learned from this experience is that I had to entrust everything to God. I have to believe that He has a wonderful plan for my life in spite of hardship and pain. It has been said that God writes straight with crooked lines. I would have never predicted the path that God has chosen for me. I can rest in the knowledge that He loves me more than I can imagine. God loves you the same, my dear Brother. He has a wonderful plan for your life. Trust everything to Him. Do not lose patience or hope. Your story is still being written. Have great expectations for all that God is doing and is yet to do. He is mighty to save. He graciously saved my marriage, raising it from the dead. It is my prayer that He will do the same for you.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
God bless you, my Brother. Keep up the good fight of faith.