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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Rest (06/14/04)

TITLE: Beside the Still Waters
By Sylvia Spielman


In the fall of 2000, over a period of three months, my husband developed extreme abdominal pain. Many tests were performed trying to determine what was wrong. Finally, his doctor was able to feel his liver was swollen and a surgical biopsy would have to be performed. The consensus was pancreatic cancer.

When my husband came out of surgery he slept for many hours. The hospital room became a center of hustle and bustle as family members and friends came by to offer their prayer and support. My husband did not yet know of the cancer and that it had already spread throughout his liver. I was in a fog. It was such a surreal experience – as if I was watching myself go through the motions. As the reality of his diagnosis set in I found myself dreading an insurmountable battle ahead of us.

Pat woke the first time and turned his head in my direction. The Holy Spirit had swept through the room and all the visitors suddenly had to leave – some back to work, some to run errands. I look back now and appreciate so much God working it out so Pat and I could be alone at that crucial moment.

He opened his eyes and said, “Hey, Face” (his nickname for me). I touched his forehead and said “Hey, Love.” There was a pause as he struggled to gain awareness. Finally, he looked me in the eye and asked, “Well, what have we got?” I whispered, “We have quite a battle ahead of us.” Again, there was a pause. I saw a tear in the corner of his eye. “The battle’s not ours,” he said, and drifted back into a deep sleep.

That night after all the visitors had gone, I found myself on the hospital floor, face down before my Heavenly Father . . . begging for my husband’s life. I don’t know how long I was there, but I stayed until I felt God’s peace.

Sometime later, I arose feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit. I kept hearing that sweet Inner Voice calling me to read the 23rd Psalm. I found my Bible and went into the bathroom. I read and reread, asking God to reveal his message to me. Finally, through the whispers of my husband’s breathing I heard, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters . . . He restoreth my soul.”

The sweetest spirit of calm and peace swept throughout my being. I was assured that indeed this was not our battle, but God was in control – not the doctors, not the medicine and not me. The next fifty-five days were very difficult. There was little sleep and many days in the hospital. However, that sweet peace never left us. We were resting in Jesus.

On January 29, 2001, Pat went home to be with the Lord. He never complained. When others would come to visit, he would insist on praying for them. I had the opportunity to share Christ with a few who were also watching their loved ones struggle with cancer. God gave us the strength to lie in the pasture and beside the still waters, even when such a great cloud hovered over us.

Months after my husband’s home going, I thought of this – “He prepareth a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Cancer is a formidable enemy, yet God prepared a table of grace, peace and courage. I’m so glad I rested in His arms and that my husband rests now with Him for eternity.

Member Comments
Member Date
Leticia Caroccio06/28/04
Touching and powerful testimony. I liked the view of the Lord doing battle for us as we seek rest in Him. Very well written. You are in my prayers.
Lynda Lee Schab 06/28/04
Very powerful! I felt your pain and also your peace as you made the decision to rest in the Lord. Well written - this one really touched my heart. Blessings, Lynda
Carolyn Hughes06/28/04
Very nice
Dan Blankenship 06/28/04
This was a moving article. I lost my father to colon and lung cancer in 1994. I was moved by your message. Thanks for sharing the power of God's word and love with us.

Dan Blankenship

dub W06/29/04
Powerful and moving. Thanks.
Karen O'Leary06/29/04
Profound and deeply reflective experience. I bet you and your husband touched the lives of others in a dramatic way during this time. Thank you for sharing this!!
L.M. Lee06/29/04
I am afraid to say anything for fear of breaking the sacred holiness of this piece.
Deborah Porter 06/29/04
Sylvia, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Not only was the message a blessing, but just having this opportunity to get to know, even this slightly, your dear husband, was a blessing as well. Pat sounds as though he was a very special man of God. With love, Deb
Beverly Goff06/30/04
I was right there with you. In 1995 my husband had surgery - colon cancer. I know exactly what you were saying as you waited for him to wake up, you brought me right back to that moment in my own life. Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully.
Mary Elder-Criss07/02/04

Your piece was beautifully written, and very eloquent. Thank you so much for sharing His peace with us in the midst of such a trial. You should really try to publish this for those who are experiencing or who have experienced such a battle. Thank you for sharing your lovely husband Pat with us. I wish you continued peace in Him. With love, Mary
Donna Hogue07/05/04
This article is too beautiful for words. Jesus Christ is the Only True Rest through life's greatest struggles. Thank you for writing.