Always Hope | Articles | The Fellowship

Always Hope

    May 5, 2024 | by The Fellowship

    My recent journey through a significant physical and spiritual trial began unexpectedly. It happened during a much-needed vacation after months of relentless work. Little did I anticipate that this escape would lead to one of the most challenging periods of my life. 

    The first day of my vacation started innocuously, but soon I began to feel unwell. What I initially dismissed as minor discomfort quickly escalated into a full-blown health crisis. The next four days found me confined to a hospital bed, grappling with the harsh reality of a urinary tract infection -- that had progressed to a bladder infection -- and then to a kidney infection – and finally the failure of my kidneys!  These vital organs are responsible for crucial bodily functions, and their shutdown left me in a state of profound physical distress.

    Being far from home, I found myself in unfamiliar surroundings — a local city hospital bustling with a diverse array of patients. Among the faces I encountered were the homeless, victims of violence, and individuals grappling with the harsh realities of life on the streets. Despite the stark differences between us, I could not help but feel a sense of kinship. I was with the poor, the marginalized, the distressed -- and I had the chance to work and pray for the common good of these people. We were all united by our shared struggle for survival.

    Amidst this chaos, I clung to two pillars of strength: my unwavering faith in the Lord and the steadfast love of my wife. And there was something else: the constant, ever-present prayers and love of my brothers and sisters in Christ at The Fellowship. I was overwhelmed to the point of tears for how many people were crying out to the Lord for me to get better! These constants became my lifeline, offering a sense of peace and stability amid the turmoil. With every passing moment I drew closer to God, finding solace in the knowledge that He was by my side, guiding me through the darkest of times.

    As I lay in that hospital bed, grappling with excruciating pain and uncertainty, I made a conscious decision to surrender control over the things I could not change. I embraced the truths of God’s Word in faith -- understanding that trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of life’s journey. Instead of succumbing to despair, I chose to trust in God’s plan, no matter how difficult to understand.

    In the midst of physical agony, I embarked on a spiritual journey— a retreat of sorts where I could commune with God in the quiet recesses of my soul. It was during these moments of introspection that I came to realize the interconnectedness of my physical and spiritual being. While I had always been attuned to listening to God’s voice, I had neglected to heed the whispers of my own body — a mistake that cost me dearly!

    A surgical procedure was scheduled, and the Lord poured out grace. Miraculously, it completely resolved all the issues that had put me in the hospital!  I am recovering from that operation with no lasting side effects or long-term negative implications.

    Throughout this ordeal, my wife remained a beacon of light, offering me unwavering love and support when I needed it most. Her presence brought me comfort and reassurance, reminding me that I was not alone in my struggle. Together we weathered the storm, leaning on each other for strength and resilience.

    Through this trial, I learned invaluable lessons about the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. I discovered that true strength lies not in the ability to control external circumstances, but in the resilience of knowing that God is in control. Despite the pain and suffering endured, I emerged from this experience with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of my faith.

    Looking back on those dark days, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the lessons learned and the growth achieved. While the road was fraught with challenges, it ultimately led me to a place of greater clarity and conviction.

    Upon returning home, we were greeted with the overwhelming love and support of friends, family and church members who continue to pour out blessings on us through meal trains and other acts of love. We are so grateful for their generosity and kindness.

    At this moment, I am relieved to report that I have a clear reading and fully functioning kidneys. While I still do not feel completely well and know there is more healing to do, I am making progress and on the road to full recovery.  I am confident of the Lord’s work and what He will do and change in me, both physically and spiritually!

    No matter how dire the circumstances may seem … there is always hope to be found in the steadfast love of our Lord. As I continue on my journey, I do so with a heart filled with hope and a spirit strengthened by adversity.

    We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed,
    but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
    struck down, but not destroyed.

    2 Corinthians 4:8-9


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