I want to continue the message of the last Langstaff Letter.
I previously shared about ‘the most devastating storm of my life, that began two years ago when our son-in-law David Plaisted unexpectedly died. Not long after that, I took sick, ending up in hospital fours times and eventually receiving a pacemaker. Then my daughter Joy had a herniated disk that required surgery, and my wife Dorothy experienced skin cancer and PMR, completely incapacitating her. And all this time, we were walking through grief. Consequently, it has been the most devastating time of our lives.
In part one, I mentioned four lessons that I learned –
- I learned about grief, what it was really like.
- I learned that God is with you in the storm
- I was reminded to get a Godly perspective on life
- I was reminded that all things work together for good
Here are four more lessons that I learned.
5. I Saw the Need to Persevere in Faith
At the beginning of it all, the Lord gave Dorothy, my wife, many words to help us through. One of those words was, ‘For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.’ In other words, endurance and perseverance were needed to see it through. Faith requires perseverance. So persevere in faith!
Years ago, when I was pastoring a church in Eden Prairie, MN, I remember a visiting speaker telling the story of the time in his life when he had one trouble after another until he was tempted to give up. Just then, the Lord spoke to him, saying, ‘Don’t give up before the devil has to.’ In other words, keep pressing on.
6. I Learned again the Need to Have the Support of other People.
Galatians 6:2 tells us to ‘Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.’ In other words, in times of deep trouble, you will not make it on your own. In my case, it involved four areas of support –
- Natural Family – We hung in there together.
- Friends – So many helped. For example, when I was sick with the effects of an e-coli infection to my urinary tract and had to wear a catheter for six weeks, a friend, who was a trained, certified nurse assistant, came over many times to tend to my needs.
- Church Family – The people of our church were magnificent, praying for us and helping us with practical needs, including meals, transport, etc.
- Omega Team – The ministerial network that I led at that time was there in so many ways to help and support us. As I often say, we need to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
7. I saw the Power of Prayer.
Like Paul of old, the call went out, ‘Brethren pray for us.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:25) I am not sure we could have handled all that took place without the prayers of so many people. Leaders came together for a special prayer gathering in our home, and we so appreciated all the people who prayed for us during this very difficult time in our lives. One of the answers to prayer that I received was that, even though I was in hospital four times, I did not suffer any real pain through it all, even when they pierced my lung, (which I understand is normally very painful) when I was receiving a pacemaker.
8. The Promise of Heaven
Maybe it is because I am getting older. Maybe because I had heart problems and according to the cardiologist I could have died, but I have been led in recent times to study the subject of ‘heaven.’ part of this involved reading books like ‘Heaven’ by Randy Alcorn, which covers just about every question you can have about heaven. Part of it was reading a wonderful book, entitled ‘Heaven is for Real,’ the true story of a young boy and his experience in heaven. Heaven is our hope, and we have the assurance that ‘because he lives we shall live also.’ (See Romans 6:8-10)
By the way, the assurance of heaven is one of the reasons why I always say ‘the best is yet to be.’ Heaven awaits us. PTL!
ONE LAST THOUGHT
When I received the message in Australia, while I was at my brother’s home, that David had died, I paced up and down the hallway. I couldn’t initially believe it. Then I found myself saying, ‘Lord, I don’t understand, but I will trust you anyway.’ I still don’t fully understand, but I press on, and I will trust God anyway!
These last two Langstaff Letters are dedicated to the memory of our son-in-law David Plaisted who died on March 16, 2011. David often finished his prayer with these words, ‘We thank God for all good things and we trust Him with the rest.’