I sat looking out at the rolling sea glistening under the bright, hot Caribbean sun and tried to put together what God was slowly revealing: Unless the seed in the head of wheat falls to the ground and is buried, a new shaft of wheat cannot spring to life. It began to dawn on me that really good things always come out of the darkest places and, as Ann Voskamp wrote, “It is dark suffering’s umbilical cord that alone can untether new life.”
Because of all the terrible things taken from me all at once, I had thought my God must hate me. But, as Job said in Job 10:2, ”Should I accept good from You and not trouble?” I see so many uncanny parallels between Job’s story and my own, other than the obvious that Job was a perfectly righteous man! And as I re-read the first two chapters of Job in the Bible, a dawning revelation of how things are actually happening behind spiritual world doors becomes clear. Job had 10 children; seven sons and three daughters. I have 10 children; three sons and seven daughters. Job lost all his wealth and, though I’ve not lost any camels or sheep, I did lose my job and animals. Job lost his children and, for a time, so have I. Job lost his health, and so have I. Job’s friends found fault with his grieving. And while Job did not lose his wife as I lost my darling Scotty, I believe it might have been better for him if he had. And that’s where the comparisons diverge. Because there’s been nothing “better” for me as I struggle through widowhood.
My struggles of late have been arduous indeed! And in the darkest depths of my despair, I could only dare to hope a million times unlikely hope that God said to Satan: “Have you considered my servant, Jane?” Oh what needles of guilt prick my soul thinking about my outbursts, bereft of the faith that gave me all the good and perfect gifts of my life!
I met another Christian doctor on my educational cruise. When I began to tear up while sharing my story of grief and loss, she dragged me out of the class and spoke words of the Holy Spirit over me. She’s a little black lady, so you know the kind of powerful, LOUD prayer that was rendered! She said I needed to forgive. Because—although God loves me so and is so pleased with my life—He is NOT pleased about the root of bitterness that has sprung up in my soul out of my recent unforgiveness. Jesus suffered torture and death and was able to forgive, she reminded me. And by His might and power, I can forgive those who also did not know what they were doing. She saw two mighty angels, nine-feet tall, flanking me and, for a brief moment, I saw them, too.
“Your angels are there all the time,” she said, “because God has work for you to do and it will not be easy. Do not worry about Scott, for he is a spirit being; healthy, mighty, strong, handsome, and full of joy. He is there with Jesus in Heaven. But you must tarry here a bit longer. For God is telling you ‘I will use you to heal many and give you words to write so that others may understand’.”
Pretty good for someone I’d only met five minutes before! Something was surely happening with me and for me. As A. W. Tozer wrote, I was caught in a “crisis of faith.” And, going forward, I have a choice. Will I accept only the innumerable good gifts God has given me throughout my life? Or will I have unyielding, mighty faith capable of moving mountains that comes from knowing God’s truth? In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart! I have overcome the world!
The cruise had to bypass Costa Maya as the seas were high and rough. So we head back out to sea, steering for Cozumel. And with each passing nautical mile, I feel tiny fragments of changes happening in my heart. Yes, I will more than likely take three steps forward and two steps back, but I might actually be moving in a forward direction! God loves me and has something critical for me yet to do. I now know that for sure. And my Scotty is safely “home!”