By Sarah Shuey
I am mildly OCD when it comes to my schedule, planning, and organizing my life in to nice, neat categories (key word being mild…). When Doug’s dad had a stroke a few weeks ago, we were left with uncertainty, unanswered questions, and the inability to plan for the near future. Not only was I struggling with emotions of grief and sadness over his health and suffering, I was thrust into this land of limbo and waiting, which is not something I handled very gracefully. Needless to say, we as a family, were all in this place of longing for answers. These weeks were brutal and just downright hard. There is no better way to put it. It was hard. One of the hardest things I have ever been through. One of the hardest things we have ever been through.
I struggled. I struggled living one day at a time. I had students ask me what we were doing the next day, people asking if I could come to a rehearsal, and meetings I needed to schedule. To each request I had to leave a giant question mark since I had no idea if I would be here or if I would need to be in Ohio that day. I struggled with what to pray. What do I say? What do we need? What is best for Carl? How do I help my husband through this? What is God’s plan? As I was sitting in the Columbus airport waiting for a flight home leaving Doug behind with his family, I was reminded of this song by Casting Crowns from several years ago. The chorus proclaims:
I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
Despite our grief, our questions, our uncertainties, our unknowns, here is what I came to realize: Life is hard but God is good. He is still worthy of all our praise. He still loves us and cares for us. He hears all our prayers. Even those prayers that we cannot put into words. There were so many times in the past few weeks that all I said was “God…” and just sat in silence knowing that he was holding me. Holding us and guiding us through all the trials and tears. Despite Carl’s prognosis, we rested in the comfort that soon he would be healed, restored, and perfect again. His faith was strong as evidenced by the faith of his children. He would be with Jesus and in a much better place than we could ever hope to provide for him here on this earth. A friend reminded me of that fact this past week, which brought me such comfort and strength. Through this, I learned just how many people are in our corner, how many people care, and just how powerful prayer can be even when the outcome is not quite what we originally hoped.
On the morning of March 20th, 15 days after Carl’s stroke, our prayers of healing were answered. While his family was in church for the first time since this journey started, worshiping and being encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ, Carl was received in to the open arms of Jesus. As Dr. Carriker said in his sermon that morning, God does not make all new things. He makes all things new. Carl is healed, restored, and brand new in his body, praising Jesus. And while we grieve and mourn his loss here, we know that he is in a much better place and we know, without a doubt, that God is good. He will give us His peace, love, and strength as we go through this time. Praise God we have the promise of forever!