Esther and I went to our favorite beach (Corona Del Mar) for our day off yesterday, and then on the way home stopped by to see my grandmother since she lives so close by. We spent most of the time talking about her and Grandad’s ministry together, and his parting from this world to be with Jesus. It was a sweet time that I will cherish. One of the most memorable things that she shared with us was about Grandad’s struggle with pulmonary fibrosis, and she gave me permission to mention it on this blog because I thought it would bless others. Pulmonary fibrosis causes painful bouts where you feel like you are drowning because you cannot get enough oxygen. During these terrible times, which could last up to 15 minutes, Grandma shared that Grandad was in the habit of saying – to himself and to her – “this is God’s gift to me.”
I am so blessed by this. Not just because its a wonderful testimony of a godly man suffering well, though its certainly that. But what those words make me think of – “this is God’s gift to me” – is how much Grandad must have trusted God’s goodness and love for him in Christ. He must have had the doctrine of justification written deep down on the core of his heart. He must have known at the deepest level of his being that God was his loving Father. Only that kind of intimacy could cause such trust.
I want that kind of intimacy with God. To know His love in the gospel so deeply that even in moments of desperation and pain, where you feel like you are drowning, you are able to bless God and not waver in knowing the depths of his love for you. I know that experiencing His love doesn’t take away the pain, but it does mute what in my opinion is the worst thing about pain, the feeling of judgment and sting that attends it. If in the moments of deepest pain I know that God truly regards me as a tender Father regards his lost-long son or daughter, there is a brightness and hope that carries me along in the midst of that pain. I can’t help feeling that that hope is so real, so joyful, so resurrection-quality, that it almost numbs the pain.