This email came into the ministry today. If you are a Christian and you're suffering, be encouraged that God will carry you...
Dear Ray and Staff:
My wonderful husband, Mark, died 4 years ago this coming April 13 from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Our twin girls were 5 when their daddy died. He suffered immeasurably, especially in the last 14 months of his life. Mark came to Christ 9 years before he died, and he used every day to further the process of sanctification. Not because Mark was so good, but because God is so good, and Mark sensed his time was short.
We took a Precept Bible Study on James just before our twins were born, and you can easily guess that the topic of those "various trials" we are promised was an ongoing conversation in our lives. Throughout the entire process of Mark's diagnosis in 2003, until his death in 2007, we laughed about how we were counting it all joy now. Not!
But there was joy in hearing and watching Mark witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the chaplain staff at UCSF Medical Center here in San Francisco. He recognized that many of those people are not Believers, and he invited them all in for praise and worship in his room. There was also joy when Mark witnessed to his primary oncologist at UCSF.
There was also joy when my cousin who lives in Idaho, inspired by the Holy Spirit, called his parents and brother who live up by Sacramento and asked them all to come down immediately to pray for Mark. They did. The response of Christians gave us great joy!
There is also great joy for me and the girls knowing very clearly where Mark is today. A few Sundays ago we were driving to church at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and I asked the girls if they missed their daddy. One said "Yes!" The other said, "No, I don't miss him because I know we are going to see him again someday!" Yayyyy! It reminds me of the old hymn, "When We All Get To Heaven!"
Even though the process was horrible, and unbelievably hard, I can tell you today that without a doubt God is good even though the circumstances were and are not! It is always a great day to praise God in this house, and we do regularly because it reminds us that we believe and worship an awesome God who through his grace and love willingly sacrificed for us on the cross, who then rose again having conquered death for us that we may live eternally in heaven with Him.
My husband's death changed me. I know what it means to walk in the "valley of the shadow of death." I also know that He "restoreth my soul."