Pressing on toward the goal is beyond difficult when your whole world has been turned upside down. Even in the worst of tragedies, there was a semblance of normality when hope remained for completing the course. There was hope when there remained true companions on the course participating in the struggle of pressing on toward the goal. However, when the hope diminished by an unrecoverable loss, then the goal faded in the distance. When the goal fades along with the hope of reaching it, then new struggles emerge cutting deep within the heart. How does one recover the hope of their calling? How can a new goal be established that resurrects a world that has been completely turned upside down? There are solid answers to both these questions that have penetrated deep within my heart by the Holy Spirit, our true Comforter in times of pain and great loss. The loss was the unrecoverable loss of my sweet wife, Robin, who struggled for fifteen years with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a horrific disease that takes a person slowly, one piece at a time, over the course of many years. Through each step, the caregiver is also sorely affected pressing us to me more for their continued happiness and self-worth.
My goal from the beginning was total physical and mental healing for my sweet wife. My goal from the beginning was to recover our glorious relationship of running the race together set before us; striving together to press on to win our heavenly prize of our upward calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). What a joy it was running the race together with our eternal goal always in mind. The goal of her recovery and the goal of fulfilling our calling in Christ Jesus somehow became immeasurably connected. With the loss of one, the other became disturbingly affected. How does one regain their initial calling and re-enter the race after losing one’s other half joined together by God? Although in time Alzheimer’s disease took away her speech and recognition of those who loved her, the hope of her recovery remained. The hope was constantly reignited by small improvements in the face of all medical odds. For thirteen long years, both hopes ran concurrently along the same path earnestly praying for total recovery of my wife while helping others to stand firm by being transformed in Christ Jesus. Now, there is an unexplained emptiness while I vigorously attempt to resurrect my original calling in Christ Jesus and restore the amazing joy that goes well beyond empty platitudes.
The deep love for God has not changed. The spiritually constructed theology and God’s powerful words from the Bible remain deeply embedded in my heart. Perhaps the goalpost will become more visible as my mourning gradually passes with every day. Indeed it will be a joy to get back on the track so I can continue running the race that has been set before me. I am confident that I have many friends and family who are praying for me and eagerly await my next article from the Lord to help them stand firm and face the uncertain days ahead. As I survey the days ahead, I realize the importance of quickly overcoming the pain of a personal loss and pressing on toward the goal. I pray intently that my pain and God’s enduring love will help me to be a better servant and counselor for those who are currently struggling and who will struggle with future losses. Although I remain a firm believer in all of God’s precious Spiritual gifts, including the gift of healing, I sincerely accept God’s providential will, which may not always align with our desires. I will never feel that my estimated four thousand plus prayers were a waste of time because each time I witnessed a miraculous improvement that was truly witnessed by the nursing staff and others. Knowing that my dear departed wife is now safely in heaven means I must run the course alone, but not truly alone, because the Spirit of God is being magnified in my life once again. All glory to God.
We all know the world is in a mess, on the verge of another world war, or Armageddon, and the rising of the dreaded Antichrist or the man of lawlessness to control all of humanity. So, I must press on toward the goal, to both warn and encourage God’s beloved children to stand firm. Although this is very strenuous to write this very personal article, I believe the fruit lies in connecting me with others who have, and who will face great losses in the near future. We will not take our losses lightly, but we will not allow them to hold us back on what must be accomplished in the coming days. Each of us will seek our own path forward but I am convinced that all the ultimate goals should be the same. We must all continue our march forward allowing God to prepare us for eternity. I believe that most of God’s elect children understand what must be put off in the way of sin that will have no place in heaven. The more difficult part is understanding what is needed for our eternity in Heaven. We can define it as our new life in Christ that we will strive for every day of our lives on the planet.
May God use the Balm of Gilead to bring healing to all of His beloved children when they struggle with the pain of loss. Lord, Jesus Christ draw them ever closer to you so that they can follow you in your footsteps. You have given us a wonderful example of forgiveness when you openly and unreservedly forgave your tormentors from the Cross. Your followers forgave their persecutors, allowing the bright light of their love to shine brightly, while some even gave their personal testimony from the stake. As we face the days ahead let us not follow humanity in the constant back-biting, false testimonies, and hateful rhetoric. Lead us to always speak the truth in love, ready to turn the other cheek, and go the extra mile (Matthew 5:38-41). Let us truly love our enemies, doing to others what we wish that they would do unto us (Matthew 7:12). Let us strive every day of our lives to love others as you have graciously loved us. Let us purposely and unreservedly allow your magnificent love to flow through us to others. What an amazing experience! We can now see the goal rising up before us with such a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on to run the race set before us with patience (Hebrews 12:1), “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). We will press on to the goal, our upward calling in Christ Jesus, even if the whole world falls apart.
Finally, the Bible says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). When we become heavenly minded, then walking in the world will have a profound effect upon humanity showing them the light of God’s glory and the power of His enduring love. Amen
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