A month before Bill went to heaven, he sent me an email. The top line read:
“If I go home:
Don’t think for a minute that God failed us! You know how faithful God has been.”
He continued with a list of things that I needed to take care of (his book, his funeral, etc.), but all I could see and hear were his words above. These words have replayed over and over in my mind since running across this email. God knew I needed to read these words as I navigated through the grieving process. He knew I would question His sovereignty and that I needed to remember His faithfulness throughout the past 24 years. He made provision in all areas of our life as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Bill WAS a miracle! The doctors gave him a 3-5-year death sentence, but God added 20 more years to his life!
Did God fail us? No, He didn’t fail us. Is God still faithful? Yes, He is.
Because of the loving devotion of the LORD, we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23)
The day after Bill went home, I sat in my living room alone for the first time in years, not knowing what to do with myself. The silence in our home that night was so loud as I sat there staring out the window. I couldn’t believe that Bill was gone. I asked God to talk to me. I closed my eyes and waited. I saw myself pushing Bill over the finish line in his wheelchair. I am left standing there as I watched him slowly disappear. With tears running down my face, I realized that I had been running Bill’s race beside him for 24 years. It was our race together. We were a team. A team that included Jesus as the cord that held us together to move forward for His glory. That marathon was finished.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
I’m not sure what my race without Bill beside me looks like, but I do know that I want to finish strong as Bill did. I always told Bill he reminded me of Paul. Metaphorically, Bill was imprisoned inside his body for 24 years. They both used their time in prison to encourage others. They kept the faith and didn’t give up no matter how tough life got.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Bill allowed God’s grace to carry him so he could be an example to all of us that God’s grace is sufficient. Now, I must let God’s grace hold me as I figure out the race without Bill beside me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I have cried more in the past five months than I have in my entire life. I don’t think I allowed myself to grieve during his illness like I should have, so now I mourn the loss of his absence and all the other losses that ALS took from him and our family. God is healing my heart each day as I put my trust in Him. He said he’d never leave us. He said he’d direct our path. So, I wait on Him.
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalms 27:14)
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Has God failed us? No, He hasn’t. Is God still faithful? Yes, He is.
My prayer is that Bill’s words will help someone else as much as they did me.
“Don’t think for a minute that God failed us (you)! You know how faithful God has been.”