Reading a blog from a friend, Kathy, she explained how she is longing for a warm slice of homemade bread slathered with butter. For you and me, we can have that anytime…well…if we like to bake, that is. But for Kathy, that is no longer an option. She recently had a feeding tube inserted because, with ALS, swallowing has become too difficult. Her attitude of acceptance was revealed in her request to God that He be her “bread of life,” the one she hungers for, that is her Savior. Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Her prayer is for stamina, patience, wisdom and perseverance as she goes forward. She understands perseverance through a trial.
Another dear friend is presently in a far away hospital recovering from a second aortic valve replacement. She is precariously on the edge with multiple health issues aside from the most prominent one. Her family has gathered around her. She is loved. Her daughter has reported that as she awaited her surgery she came to know almost every nurse in her unit and could run for mayor of the 6th floor. Besides witnessing to the lady next door, she told multiple people that she knew where she was going if she did not survive the surgery. Using her own struggle as an opportunity, she shared her faith with others. Resting in the knowledge that God is in control, she is trusting His plan for her life. She is persevering through her trial.
Yet another friend, Cinda, recently lost her mother to Louie Body dementia, a disease similar to Alzheimer’s, except worse. It not only attacks the mind but also paralyzes the body. On her worst days, her mom endured horrible hallucinations. I recently listened as Cinda spoke of what she and her family have endured as caretakers of her beloved mother. She told how she went from anger towards God to a place of rest and trust in Him as she clung to Him as her only hope in the midst of this trial. Her faith was strengthened as she worshipped her only Source of peace, Jesus. She persevered through her trial.
I have to pause and reflect as I watch good friends go through difficult times. It is clear they are pressing into God in the midst of their trials. God…their “very present help in time of need”. I am remembering when many of Jesus’ disciples walked away from Him when things became hard but when Jesus asked the twelve if they were also leaving, Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
My three friends are amazing examples of the power of God’s grace in the tough times. Surely, they understood John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It takes perseverance.