When I am in the midst of a storm and panicking, I often imagine God trying desperately to get me to see the bigger picture—that my suffering is part of a much greater plan, a plan I could never imagine for myself. When I face a trial, however, the only thing I can see is the trial, and God often becomes a distant memory…
In the middle of August, my husband began complaining of a sore throat and ended up suffering from a three-day cold. The cold went away, and about three days later, he began complaining of a sore throat again. My wifely intuition told me that was a bit weird, so I pushed him further, and he assured me he was fine. Within a week, he was back in bed, and unable to go to work.
My husband was sick, on and off, for the next two months. His fatigue was so extreme, there were moments that I fought the urge to scoop him up and rush him to the ER, panicked he may fall asleep and not wake up again. Since my husband is the sole wage earner in our home, I was not only wracked with worry for my husband, but also for our future, as I often imagined the worst-case scenario—my husband would become debilitated from the fatigue and would never return to work.
I wish I could say that through this time, I was the epitome of strength and faith—that I never once cried out to God is panic, doubt, and fear. I cannot say that. As my husband and I fought countless doctors for a diagnosis, and my husband’s boss became increasingly less understanding, I often could do nothing but beg the Lord to pull us out of this situation.
He didn’t—not at first.
Financially crippled, I will never forget the nights I lied awake, staring at the ceiling, wondering why God asked me to be a stay-at-home mom, only to send me back to work 18 months later. There were moments I was confident in our decision and confident the Lord would find a way for us. There were other moments I was certain He had left us, and we were alone.
Doctors were not able to tell us what was wrong with my husband, and we were certainly stumped—that is until he quit his job. Having filled out roughly 25 applications in the two months my husband was struggling, one job came through, and he has been there ever since. His health issues have never returned once he walked away from his job, where the stress was literally killing him.
I have no doubt there are people reading this that are in a struggle of their own. It is my prayer that this will offer some hope and comfort to them as they wait for their prayers to be answered. Even though my husband’s illness was the most terrifying experience I have ever endured, it was also the best thing that ever happened to our family. Here’s why:
Change. A job that seemed like an answer to prayer, quickly morphed into a series of broken promises, and the cause of constant arguments in our marriage. I had begged my husband for months and months to walk away from it, but the only way he was finally willing to walk out the door, was when it made him sick.
Marriage. Going through an incredibly difficult experience with my spouse brought us closer together than I could have ever imagined. Our marriage has improved in inexplicable ways since my husband got sick. We talk more; we laugh more; we trust more; most of all, we serve the Lord together.
Faith. My husband and I grew up in the church and definitely trusted the Lord with our lives; however, since facing a seemingly hopeless situation, our faith has reached new heights, especially my husband’s. He has begun to serve our church with an unmatched passion, we constantly converse about God and His abundant grace, and he has stepped up to become the kind of spiritual leader of our family that I always wanted him to be.
Dependence. When my husband switched jobs, we had to adjust to a rather dramatic pay cut. Struggling financially has been more of a blessing to us than anything else. It has allowed us to depend on the Father in ways we never would have imagined when we were financially comfortable. It has given God the opportunity to show us His vast provisions, and, despite my hope that someday we will be able to give back to the Lord financially, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Time. My husband is no longer consumed by the responsibilities of running a hardware store. His focus has switched from his job to his family, and the time we are able to spend with him now has been a great blessing to us. He is home at a consistent time every evening, and he is carefree enough to enjoy the evenings with his sons. I would give up all the money in the world for this to continue.
Confidence. Since God brought us through such a difficult situation, my husband and I now have gained the confidence to go after what we really want in life. We have explored many options, and we know, even if we take a step that involves risk, we can be assured that the Lord walks with us, and will provide for us along the way.
I never imagined I would look back on this time and consider it a blessing, but there is no other word for it. I know I will never take my husband’s health for granted again. Our life has changed immensely since my husband became ill, and even though life is still uncertain, especially financially, I have seen firsthand the love God has for his struggling children, and the way He uses a trial for His glory.
The only option a Christian has when all seems lost is to turn to the Father and trust Him all the way through it. There is always a way through it.