Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hope (05/04/06)
TITLE: I don't want to go!
By Val Clark
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What now? I didn’t want to go home to a cold, empty house. A house where I would be faced with the reality of yet another move. This time we would move, not into an adjacent suburb, but across the country. It wasn’t a case of saying farewell to my house - my single, young adult sons did not want to come. How could I leave the sons I loved, who I believed needed me so much? For what? To join my husband, to whom I had made a teenager’s promise, so that we could continue in our miserable failure of a marriage.
Pam’s words echoed insistently. ‘We’re having a healing service this week; a visiting speaker. You should come.’
Panic squeezed at my chest. I didn’t really want to be with people. It didn’t help, trying to explain…. I glanced at my watch. The airport was on the other side of the city from Pam’s church, but traffic would be light.
OK Lord, I’ll go. Maybe this time you’ll heal me.
Heal me from the crushing depression that I tried so hard to hide behind a cheerful smile. And why not hide it? Who wanted to see my long face or hear my tale of woe?
I eased my brother-in law’s pick-up into the too-narrow church parking spaces. The winter wind whipped at my clothes. Breathing shallowly to minimize the growing pain in my chest, I pulled my jacked tightly around me.
At the end of the service, along with hundreds of other people, I stood in the queue for prayer. As the preacher pressed his hands on my forehead I fell into the arms of a person behind me and was laid gently on the ground. He prayed and moved on. I lay there praying, Please, Lord, make me better.
Eventually I stood up and left the church.
Home was only ten minutes drive away.
In those ten minutes a bitter irrational despair descended. It was worse than anything I had ever experienced. The invisible hand that squeezed at my heart clenched its inexorable grip tighter and tighter.
So, Lord, you don’t want to heal me.
My foot pressed down on the gas pedal.
They’re all better off without me. They don’t need me. There is no hope for me. If you don’t heal me, I will never be whole.
At the bottom of the hill was a car park, beyond the car park a cliff, beyond the cliff the sea. At this speed the pick-up was sturdy enough to break through the flimsy guard rail.
I can’t stand the pain, the confusion, not being in control. I won’t live like that anymore. There’s only one way out of this trap.
Just before the turn off to my home I stopped being in control of the car, it slowed, swung into my road and up my driveway.
The Lord has never chosen an easy path for me, for any of us for that matter. ‘Take up your cross and follow me,’ Jesus said. I left my sons, my friends, my church, my house, my garden, nearly all my worldly possession, my job and my university course. For what? For the unwanted challenge of a new life in a frontier city on the other side of my country!
I did not want to go but I had made a promise, an ‘As long as you both shall live promise.’ I followed my husband with one proviso; that we take positive steps to make our marriage work. I kept him to that promise. God has been faithful and is growing us back together as a couple.
He also gathered our sons into His family. Within eighteen months my unemployed kids sold most of their meager possessions and purchased bus fares to this far away city. Here they determined to put their Lord first. Here they found work and, more importantly, godly wives.
I rejoice that the Lord lead me to the right therapist. I have been free of the medication that helped me manage the depression for over three years.
Eight years later and this strange city has become my home.
When I run out of hope, there is One who will not let me go. One who has plans for me that are good and beyond my wildest imaginings.
That gives me hope.
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