Your promise preserves my life. Psalm 119:50b NIV
This morning, for the first time in 19 years, I had to leave my nonverbal, wheelchair bound, incontinent, completely dependent, mentally and physically disabled son with people I don’t know. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Believing that God directed me to minister this Sunday in North Dakota, we are flying out tomorrow. With no other options for care providers and after much prayer, we decided to utilize one of the state’s respite care homes. The facility is a one-and-a-half hour drive from our home and we have already made two previous trips to tour it and meet with all the staff. I feel a peace that he will be safe and well cared for. But my heart grieves that we have to leave him with complete strangers and nothing familiar to calm him and make him feel secure.
I’ve reached another squall in my faith when it comes to this journey of being a parent of disabled children. After years of embracing and accepting what God has allowed, I find myself asking Him again, “Why?” My thoughts crash down like 30 foot waves on this fragile vessel of my heart. They run through all the things my son would be doing at this time if things had been different. Instead of being left completely dependent and at the mercy of those caring for him, my “other” son would have been finishing his first year of college. Perhaps he would be staying behind at the university he attends to work a summer job to help pay tuition. Or maybe he would be in some foreign country doing a summer mission trip helping those less fortunate than he. When I let my thoughts go this way, I become submersed beneath the raging water, drowning in despair and I can’t come up for air. I must grasp for something to bring me back up to the surface.
I reach for my life preserver which after similar storms, I have learned to keep nearby. I remind myself of the promises that I have committed to my memory. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4,5. The promises go on and on and I begin to emerge from the rip currents of my storm.
I have talked with other “storm survivors” who have shared the tales of their journeys. Storms of illness, wayward children, divorce, infidelity, burnout, Church conflict, bankruptcy, loss and grief. They recount their stories and tell of the life preservers that rescued them from their perils.
- “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;” Psalm 34:19.
- “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6.
- “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23.
- “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
- “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me” Psalm 27:10.
- “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
- ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13.
- “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.
- “Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:2.
May God’s Word preserve you in your times of storm. LH