Many thoughts have been ruminating in my mind regarding how we have endured this trial. I read a sermon this morning that fueled those thoughts anew.
I do not follow many blogs or check out many websites on a regular basis. But one that I do is the Desiring God website. John Piper was our pastor from September, 1988 until June, 1992. Mike was an apprentice at the church during that time and one of the benefits was that I got to go to the apprentice wives’ gatherings led by Noel Piper and another pastor’s wife. Mike also discipled Benjamin Piper, so we got to know the family quite well. From the time that Mike became a pastor himself, I have always looked back to Pastor John when I need extra pastoral encouragement.
That is why I check out the Desiring God website. Today there was a sermon from 1980 entitled Christ and Cancer, which I assumed would have something to say about what we are going through. It did. It reaffirmed much of what I know to be true and encouraged me to stay the course.
Let me just go through some of my thoughts on how we have endured this trial. One of the main things is that God has been faithful in the past so I know He will be faithful now. I look back at all of the trials Mike and I have had in our 22 years of marriage, and all the experiences in my own 43 years, and I see that God was preparing us for this mother of all trials. Here are some of the things God has done.
My brother has had seizures since he was a baby. This affected me greatly as a teenager, but eventually led me to see that I do not know very much and pushed me to Christ. It also allowed me to watch my family. My parents stayed married through it all, when many they knew did not. This is a great example of how God was faithful to me before I even knew Him.
We have many memories of God’s financial provision during our graduate school years. Car repairs were paid for, dental bills taken care of, always enough money to pay for our needs.
We have had many smaller health issues, and one seemingly larger one, over the years, usually involving me. Following the birth of Gabbie, I had shortness of breath and low heart rate for some reason that was never discovered. I don’t like the unknown, and I now see that this helped to somewhat prepare me to face Mike’s unknown issues with the AVM.
We lost an unborn child that was due exactly four years ago. At the time I had been through no harder trial. God sustained us, and then blessed us with Jared.
On February 26th, Mike had the open heart surgery. The next week I said that I had made it through the worst day of my life and I am glad that is over! I know there are more difficult days ahead, hopefully a long way ahead, but I made it through that one, with many evidences of God being merciful to me on that day.
God has ministered to us through His word, in prayer, in music, and by the encouragement of others. The hope of heaven is more glorious than ever, since Mike was so near to it. I have spent much more time thinking about eternity, which is a good thing. I have had to only hope in God as all earthly supports couldn’t take away the problem and the pain.
This quote from Pastor John’s sermon really struck a chord with me. I am thankful for the purification and strengthening of my faith by this trial!
“Satan may be sly but on some things he is stupid, because he fails to see that all his attempts to despoil the godly are simply turned by God’s providence into occasions for the purifying and strengthening of faith. God’s goal for his people in this age is not primarily to rid them of sickness and pain, but to purge us of all the remnants of sin and cause us in our weakness to cleave to him as our only hope.”