Saturday, November 7, 2009

Joy Challenge - Day 38 - Hope

Only a few more days left of my Joy Challenge - just a few more posts to write. I knew from the beginning I would have to write this one, but I have put it off. It is one that puts it all to the test. Is it really true that this great God we are privileged to call Father can bring us joy even in times of deepest pain?

Over the last several months I have watched my once strong, vital father diminish before my eyes. This octogenarian, whom everyone took to be twenty years younger, has suddenly aged. He walks stooped over his walker, the flesh hangs from his body. He is skin and bones.

The hardest thing to see is his once ebullient spirit sunken under the weight of suffering. I sat at my Mom and Dad's small kitchen table yesterday and listened with breaking heart to their conversation. Dad was talking about the very real difficulty of dialysis. How that now he has begun to have a terrible pain in his back which only adds to the hardship of having to sit in one position for three and a half hours. It has been one thing after another until the weight of it has just crushed his spirit. He sat stooped over, head bent, eyes filling with tears and said, "This is no life. This is no life. I'm ready to go home."

My Mom began softly weeping. She is trying so desperately to get him well again. She cannot bear the thought of his home-going. After nearly sixty-four years, she doesn't want him to leave her. "I love you very much," Dad said, "but I am ready to go home."

So, Father, where is the joy. If I believe all I've written, then it is there somewhere. With aching heart I see it, hidden beneath all the sorrow and suffering. It comes wrapped in hope. Hope in the One who has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will comfort us and give us grace for every trial, and a future that is so perfect we simply cannot take it in. It is tied with the ribbon of faith - a belief in the One who made those promises. The One who loved us so much He sent His own beloved Son to die for us - so that in Him and through Him all of those things and so much more would be possible.

Yes, the joy is there because joy doesn't come from our circumstances, it comes from Jesus.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you...
In this you greatly rejoice even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials."
I Peter 1:3-6


Photo: Dad, Mom and me


  1. Linda, I am so sorry to hear of your dad's pain and seemingly depleting health. I will lift him in prayer today and you as well!

  2. I sure understand the difficulty of writing this one. I want you to know I apprecate you wrote it. I will lift you and your parents up in prayer tonight.

  3. So hard to see our parents become so frail and 'human' before our very eyes. The ones we depended on for happiness and love and safety. The ones we cried to when we needed comfort. It is such a gift to know that he loves God and knows where he is going. I was not sure of that with mine.... only the ache that was left behind when they were gone. At the same time 'Joy' because of our time together and what they had meant to me. Sorry you are hurting right now, and your parents too.

  4. Linda, my eyes fill with tears as I read this...
    My father is also in his 80's ... My mother passed on over 30 yrs. ago... I know how you feel...
    Faith, love and inner joy is what is truly alive and well within your father... within us all... Our souls are formless and timeless.

    I will keep you and your parents in my prayers, Linda...
    prayers for comfort, strength and time together ~

  5. Thank you for sharing this, Linda. It must be so very difficult to watch your father's physical pain and suffering...and your Mother's soul ache. How good to have hope though...hope that is SURE! I too will be praying for all of you as you go through this. ((Hugs))

  6. Oh, Linda...I read this last night, and I prayed but had no words. You have shared this journey over the past few months, and it's been hard. But I am so thankful that you have felt every step of it. You've had joy, sorrow, pain, peace. How good our Father is to not let you shut down to these matter how hard. For in those times, He becomes what He should be...everything we need, and we rest as we were created to the shadow of His wings.

    Praying for you all.

  7. Linda,
    I see the joy in that picture.

    I've not been in your shoes so this is difficult for me to speak to. Watching one you love suffer must be the deepest kind of pain. I am so sorry. I wish I could be there to give you a hug. I pray your father's suffering would be eased. I pray for comfort and peace.

    And so much more. I pray so much more for you and your parents through all this.

  8. Wow, Linda. This is heavy duty. You are so right: Joy comes from Jesus. But finding that joy in the midst of suffering is often so hard. I know. I pray for you as you go through the waters and for your dear mom and dad. How very painful after so many years of marriage. Praying for your much strength, dear Sister. That is all I can do, but that is a lot.

  9. Oh, my dear friend - what a sad time for you and your family. I have watched my dad age so much from the fast moving guy he used to be. But so far he's not in pain, and I know it will be very hard when that time comes. I feel for your mom so much - they are partners in life and will be so lonely without each other. I have no advice whatsoever - but I know God will be with you every step, as with him and your mom!

  10. This touched me so. I can't imagine how painful this is for you.