For those of you who have read my writings, you may have noticed that I often write about faith. I believe in taking big steps of faith both in how we live and in how we pray. I love that scripture often speaks of how nothing is impossible for God, literally nothing.
So when my husband Danny was admitted into the ICU on New Year’s Eve I stepped out in faith and believed God for him to be healed. I prayed continually, pleading with God for his total healing. I have to tell you, I did not lift prayers that ended with a reminder of how his will be done. I do trust in God. I always want his perfect will and that is the foundation of every prayer I pray. But my prayers were simple. I asked him to remove the virus that was making Danny so sick, and to heal his weakening body. Countless others joined with me in this journey of faith. Many wrote that they were praying for Danny and trusting God for his complete healing. I was encouraged daily as I read their proclamations of faith.
When I said my final goodbye to Danny, I continued to plead with God. As I prayed over his unconscious body, connected to more tubes than I was able to count, I told the Lord that even then he was able to bring Danny back. I reminded God that he is able to bring life even from death and I asked him to do just that.
But God did not heal my precious husband. He chose, instead to call him home.
I have to tell you that I wrestled with the issue of faith at that time. I could not understand why God had not healed him. I took all the steps I needed to take. I prayed in faith. I believed God to heal. I fasted. And still he was not healed. I remember soon after his death crying out to God to help me never to enter into bitterness or anger toward him. I’ve seen many go down that road after a crisis such as this, and I did not want to go in that direction. And I’m blessed to say I have not.
Along with being devastated about losing my best friend and lifetime companion, I have to admit I was confused.
I had so many questions racing through my mind. Why was this prayer for healing not answered? I believed God for his healing. I prayed in faith. And yet, God said no. I didn’t understand why God would call him home now.
Danny had just retired from our church in September. We had plans of visiting our sons and their families more. We were excited about branching out in the ministries God has opened for us–ministries in Houston and overseas. Important ministries. Danny was becoming more and more involved with video blogging. He loved to preach and teach, and found this a great way to fulfill that desire. There seemed so many reasons why Danny should remain here. People were calling me to tell me how excited they were for future ministries opportunities with us.
So I asked God countless times why him, why now?
With shaky knees, I stood on the scripture from the book of Isaiah that tells us that his ways are high above our ways and his thoughts are high above ours. I asked–no I cried out for him–to help me trust him in spite of my confusion.
Times like these can shipwreck our faith. Here are some things I have learned and continue to learn during this painful time.
I have no regrets.
If faced with this terrible situation again, I would pray exactly as I had during this time. I asked God to heal Danny. I stepped out and trusted him to. Considering how sick he was, some might say I was in denial to pray for a full recovery. I do not believe this to be true. I can’t tell you why God chose not to answer my prayers as I asked him to, but he is still God. His ways are perfect and his promises are true. I fully trust in his sovereignty.
I do not believe my prayers were misled or wrongly prayed. I just believe God has other plans in mind, better plans
I’ve learned how important it is to hope.
During this terrible time of seeing Danny so sick in the ICU, I continually prayed and hoped for him to recover. Was I wrong to hope for this? I’ve heard it said that if you don’t hope, you won’t be disappointed. The truth is, if you do not have hope, you live in disappointment.
Hope brings life. It restores. It brings joy and peace. Hopelessness is not a pleasant state to be in. It’s dismal and depressing and not the way I want to live out my life and I pray not the way you live out yours.
As well, without hope we cannot have faith. The book of Hebrews tells us that faith reaches past hope all the way to assurance. And without faith scripture tells us we cannot please God. Pleasing God is the cry of my heart.
So I will continue to live a life of hope.
It’s OK to ask why.
Although I do trust God, I have many unanswered questions. I will frankly never understand why God took my husband at such an early and productive age. It makes no sense to me. We seemed to have many more years ahead of us, more memories to make; more lives to impact.
I’ll probably never understand why Danny died, and I’m realizing I don’t need to. I’ve learned that peace does not come from understanding. It comes from keeping my eyes fixed firmly on God. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve literally wept before the Lord these past many weeks acknowledging my fears, loneliness and confusion. And these times do often involve asking why. But after I’ve poured out my heart to him I’ve made it a point to end with acknowledging that he is still God. In spite of how I feel, he’s still on his throne. He loves me and does have a wonderful plan for my life. I proclaim in faith that he is God. He loves me and has not abandoned me. He is faithful to his promises. I will be happy again.
I miss Danny beyond words. I’m sure I always will.
He was a wonderful husband, a faithful friend and a gift from God. He wasn’t perfect. No one is. But he was perfect for me.
In spite of the tears and countless unanswered questions, I’m choosing to live out a life of faith. I’ll continue to pray for the impossible and to trust God to do what only he can do. And I’ll continue to pray for others to be healed. He is, after all, still God.
I’m praying for him to use this painful time for good; that it will not be a waste. I’m asking him to deepen and broaden my walk of faith; that it will help me grow in how I trust the Lord, and that my prayer life will reflect that growth. I want him to use me in others’ lives, that I will use the comfort I have received and the lessons I have learned to be a blessing.
I will see Danny again. I know this to be true. He and I often talked about heaven. He used to tease that he hoped we share the same mansion. I hope so too.
Until then, I’ll live the life God has for me to live, trusting in his love and mercy.
A verse that has come into my mind over and over during this time is from Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”
This is the cry of my heart, to know Christ more.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!