Darlene Osborne, Publisher
Your Place for Christian Articles
By L. Joy Douglas
During Thanksgiving last year, the family spoke of hopes and anticipation for 2017. Above all, the general feeling was, “It has to be better than 2016!” We were excited about new projects and possibilities. It was going to be a great year!
Since that day, my husband had a major stroke, our oldest dog had to be put down due to cancer, and we had two friends pass away unexpectedly. It has not been my idea of a good beginning to the year.
I felt as though I was surrounded by death. Sitting by my husband’s hospital bed as he was in a coma, I was so helpless; so lost. Even once he began to slowly wake up, each moment was a struggle. I fought to hold myself together while explaining to him that his right side was paralyzed and breaking the news of our beloved pets passing.
I watched as he dealt with grief and frustration, unable to communicate or put a voice to his thoughts, feelings and fears. How would we get through this? Where could I find the strength to cope? When would he recover…if he recovered?
After weeks in the hospital, he was transferred to a stroke rehab center. What should have felt like a step in the right direction just seemed like another link in a chain of hopelessness. I began internalizing all emotion in order to be strong for him. My diet consisted of coffee and protein bars, and I was getting only a few restless hours of sleep per night.
I was overwhelmed and exhausted, desperately searching for a way to “fix” everything. I couldn’t help but wonder why God had allowed this to happen and what could possibly be the reason for our struggle.
Then, one morning as I drove to the rehab center, the song “King of the World” by Natalie Grant was playing on the radio. For the first time, I really listened to the lyrics.
“When did I forget that You’ve always been the King of the world?”
“Who am I to take the lead?”
“I run ahead and think I’m strong enough.”
I was amazed as the words sank in. She was singing about me! That is exactly what I had been doing for weeks. Convincing myself that if I spent every waking minute with my husband, I could make it better; that maybe I could control the outcome.
For me, up to that point God had just been the One I was begging from. Another line from the song says, “I try to put You in the box that I’ve designed.” Yes, I believed that He could heal, but I wasn’t considering that there was a bigger plan and perhaps instant, miraculous healing wasn’t a part of it.
In my own desperation, I was limiting God; subconsciously acting like I could somehow control or resolve the situation. Then I realized, it’s not the first time I’ve done this. In fact, it’s kind of a pattern for me. I’ve even written about it before! So, why haven’t I learned this lesson yet?
Our God is the King of the world; of the entire universe. Only He is in control and only He understands the whys and hows of His plan for us. When we try to take the reins of things we truly have to control over, our insignificant interference only brings sadness to the heart of the Creator.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
The following passages also show us clearly that God knows what He is doing and promises to work things out in His understanding and His timing.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. So is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8&11)
So to answer my own question of how I would find the strength to cope, I need only look again to Scripture. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1&2)
© L. Joy Douglas