Right now I am in Peace Health hospital where my husband of three years, Dwayne, is taking a much needed nap after fifteen days of in-patient pokes, prods, biopsies, and procedures. Today he had a pleural effusion (where they suck fluid out of the body around the lungs) and an ultrasound examination of his heart to see if it is functioning properly. He has been diagnosed with myeloproliferative neoplasm(a slow growing bone cancer) and follicular lymphoma (a low grade cancer of the lymph nodes). In addition, because his immunity is so low, he has experienced kidney failure, cellulitis (a staph infection of the cells) in his arm and feet, infection in his mouth, and is in general, miserable. The doctors finally hit upon a combination of medicines that work for his pain.
Dwayne has lamented, “Why is God putting me through all this pain? Why can’t I just die? Why do I have to suffer like this?” “The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart: Merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from the evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isaiah 57: 1-2 NKJV)
Our prayer has been that God would completely heal Dwayne or take him to heaven quickly! An in-between prayer we have thrown out asks for two more years if he can be comfortable.
“What? You should expect a miracle and never waver or God won’t be pleased with you,” I have heard some people say.
But let’s cut to the chase. If we really believe that Jesus has prepared a place for us in heaven by taking our sin punishment upon Himself, then WHY do we try so hard not to go there? There is no more sickness, death, dying, sadness, or night there; what’s to dread?
Granted, from a selfish angle, I will miss him. Life will be financially harder without him as his income will mostly disappear. But I don’t relish the idea of Dwayne suffering with bad pain, and for him to go to heaven would be a wonderful trip for him. Besides, doesn’t the Bible tell us, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”? (Psalm 116:15 NKJV)
Only through death do we get to go to heaven, unless the rapture comes first. Sooner or later, we will all face the death of our mortal body. Jesus Himself only lived on earth for thirty-three years, but He accomplished His purpose. He saved us from eternal death if only we would believe He died for sins on our behalf.
Because He rose again on Easter Sunday, we too shall rise again when the trumpet sounds. For Christians, scary times may be coming our way soon. But think of it this way: What is the worse that could happen to us? If we are killed, we go to a better place. If we live, we have more chances to share the good news of the gospel with others so they too can live forever with Jesus lighting our new world. And that means obtaining a soul winner’s crown that we can show Jesus when we meet him personally. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19 NKJV)
This blog has a surprise ending after what has become twenty-two days in the hospital. God has orchestrated a huge turnaround in Dwayne’s health.
The main theme of my book Grace, Miracles, and Chocolate by Marriott Cole is “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) Our question has been, “How can it be good that Dwayne has to suffer so much?” In his case, his suffering drove him to the hospital, where the myriad of tests confirmed that he actually has infective endocarditis. This is a bacterial infection inside the heart. The symptoms of it are almost all the symptoms that Dwayne has! He started six weeks of intervenous antibiotics after which he should be completely cured! Without the pain he was having, doctor’s never would have realized that the previous diagnoses were mistakes, and Dwayne’s heart infection would have been lethal. God still has a plan for Dwayne’s life here on earth, but meanwhile, we are both looking forward to entering into the joy of our Lord when our ministry on earth is finished.