Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FAITH (strong, confident belief in God) (02/26/15)
TITLE: At the Midnight Hour
By Joyce Sykes
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“Susie, come quick!”
“What’s wrong?” Gripped with fear, I listened to my brother-in-law screaming on the phone
“Sam fell from the third story. He’s in bad shape. Hurry…” he was still speaking as I dropped the phone and began running for the door.
“Please, Lord, don’t let him die. He doesn’t know You. I don’t love him anymore but I don’t want him to go to hell. Jesus, help us!” My prayer, replayed unceasingly as if on a recorder.
Racing out the door, ‘Sam, what have you done.’ Miraculously, I made it to the hospital in one piece; only to find out he was airlifted to a larger facility.
Grabbing my arm, Bobby tries to tell me what happened, but I all hear is ‘his neck’s broken’ repeating endlessly.
As always, I woke at this point crying. The memory of those first few hours always brought tears. Lying on the bed, the memories came flooding back. Months spent in rehab, learning medical procedures and terms. Hours spent watching my husband learning to feed himself and wash his face and hands. This was the worse time of our life. Once home, we repeated the medical procedures numerous times a day. I struggled to get him dressed and into his electric wheelchair, only to reverse the cycle in a couple of hours at naptime. I cringed as I accepted the verbal and emotional abuse as part of my existence. The worse were family visits, with them sneaking joints into his hand. The abuse would worsen in the days to come. He couldn’t physically hit me, but the bruises never healed before he replaced them with new ones after ramming the chair into me during fits of rage.
Concerned friends asked, “Why do you stay? Is it really worth it?” They knew Sam prior to his accident, knew of his cruelty and countless affairs. They never understood my determination to stand beside my ‘man’.
“I have to because the Lord has ministered to my heart to do this. I have to stay. I feel like this is his only hope of coming to the Lord. I know it doesn’t make any sense in the natural but I know what the Lord has shown me. I am standing in that promise. The Lord will keep His word. Sam will be His.” The weeks became months even as the years became blurs. One year, three, five, eight, thirteen... it seemed unending.
Some days my faith was solid. I knew that I knew that I knew the Lord would bring Sam to salvation. Other times, I stood crying at the pain I endured at the hands of this unloving man. Extremely hard days, I retreated to the shower silently screaming, “WHEN? When, Lord? I can’t take this anymore! God, I am so tired! You spoke so clearly. Yet, it‘s been years and I am still waiting. Lord God, help me, I can’t do this anymore.” Crying it all out, once more I would rise to my feet proclaim loudly. “You said it. I believe it! I am standing in my faith, Father. Help me; strengthen me, help me to love Sam as You love him.”
Fourteen years into this ordeal, I watched Sam slowly roll his chair to the altar surrendering his life. He yielded to the One who had strengthened me all these years. He would still rage at me from time to time, but the intensity lessened as he sensed his time here was almost over. He sensed it long before me, and began showing a tenderness I never saw in him before. He was different; the old Sam I married was gone. The old Sam was never like this new man, Sam was now a new creature in Christ.
Four years after his stroll down that aisle, he slipped away into the arms of his Savior. I can still imagine his joy as he once more become whole, dancing and rejoicing in the Presence of the Lord. As I look back, I am so thankful the Lord gave me the strength to endure. Yes, it was worth it all, as this one lost soul found his place in the Lord. Slowly, I drift off once more to a peaceful sleep, knowing He is faithful and I can trust Him.
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