From Michelle. 7 July, 2010 9 a.m.
Dear friends and family,
It seems like days since I last wrote, although it has been a mere thirty-six hours. I am happy to report that Steve and I did indeed have a wonderful time worshiping together and remembering God’s goodness this last Sunday night.
It is strange to say this in this current context, but when I come into God’s presence, I feel emanating from Him a quiet but somehow effusive joy.
I keep thinking of Job. It says in James 5:10-11, “As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remain steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
While the story of Job’s suffering will forever be a mystery, two things remain with me:
1. that God blessed Job with double what he had before, and
2. that in answer to the question of suffering, God reminds Job of his character and greatness.
Somehow, I sense even now, God’s richest plans and blessings for our future. I also notice that when I am conscious of God’s good character, I am deeply fortified and filled with hope. That blessing will come in whatever surprising form, and probably not how I would wish it, but in my best moments, I believe I will find it. I cannot speak for Steve in this process, but my hope and my sense of his character makes me believe he will find it too.
None of this underestimates the very real current suffering.
Steve cannot roll over on his own, let alone do a host of other things for himself. He struggles to sit up even for an hour in a wheelchair, his face white and covered in sweat with the pain and effort. He is deeply restless, unable to move his legs. He strains to imperceptibly move his little toe. He feels shattered to think of the effect of his condition on those he loves. He is processing a whole world of loss.
But at the same time, he loves, he blesses, he endures.
As the bible says, suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. Steve has both endurance and character, and I am watching his hope being born, at least in the last two days. Yesterday he spoke with a pastor in California who suffered a similar accident. The conversation filled Steve with hope, and that hope colored much of the rest of the day.
To speak so boldly about a suffering that is not my own is presumptuous. I mostly process my own small portion this way. But I also know my husband, and I know the God in whom he trusts. So the phrase I cling to today is the following:
“And God blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning.” Job 42:12
Love and blessings to you all,
PS: I stopped by the house yesterday for a rare peaceful interlude. I cannot tell you how enveloped I felt in the very real care, the hands and feet of love, that so thoughtfully prepared our home for us. Each time I stop by, I see another thoughtful detail. I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude!