Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Love and Grace (09/11/14)
TITLE: Loved By An Angel
By JK Stenger
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“Emma,” I spat out, “You’ve got to do something about this. You must call the police.”
She gazed at me with sad, dark eyes, and tears were rolling down her swollen face.
“Please, Jake. Let it be. That would only make matters worse.”
“But he’s out of control,” I cried. “You have to take action. Every time he drinks, he abuses you.”
When Brad drank he became violent. He would fly into a rage for no apparent reason. The next day he’d whimper: “I am sorry. I am so sorry.” But at night he would be back at the bottle.
“I pray for him every day,” Emma said.
“What good does that do?” I had asked sceptically.
But that evening, when Brad drove drunk, his life changed.
Hours later, Emma received a phone call from the police.
“Mrs. Raquel? Your husband has been in an accident.”
Brad had missed a turn and drove into a tree.
Emma called me and together we went to see him at the hospital. He was in the ICU, where he remained in a coma for a month. The doctors said he had suffered a spinal cord injury, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
As if being confined to a wheelchair wasn’t enough, he also developed Korsakoff’s syndrome*, a form of dementia, which is often caused by alcohol abuse. Its onset was probably triggered by the car crash, the doctor said.
As a result it was hard to have a normal conversation with Brad. He seemed helpless and lost, almost like a child, and nobody took him serious.
“Emma,” he would ask, “did I already brush my teeth?” Or, “Emma, is it time for my sandwiches?”
It would drive me up a wall.
But not Emma. She laid down her life for this man. She did everything for him, and of course never received a word of thanks.
“You’ve got to put him away,” people would tell her. “Put him in a nursing home. After all, it’s his own fault.”
But Emma wouldn’t consider it.
“It’s because of my faith,” she said. Her eyes would sparkle when she talked about it.
“I didn’t have much faith when I first married Brad, but recently Jesus became very real to me. He’s my joy and strength now and He told me to take care of Brad. For better or for worse, until death do us part, I believe it’s my place to care for him.”
Brad himself had never shown any interest in God, but that didn’t phase Emma. What sacrifices that woman made.
Despite the hardships, Emma started to blossom. She became a different woman. When I first met her, she resembled a frightened mouse. Now she is dependable, strong and filled with faith. Before she leaned on Brad for everything. Now she relies fully on God. Her whole countenance radiates with an almost heavenly glow.
When people meet her now, they say, “She’s got the real thing.”
I call it grace. God gave her the grace to love, for better or for worse, and because she has yielded her life to God, she is reaping the rewards.
“My life is not tough,” Emma tells me. “It can’t get any better than this.”
Last week something beautiful happened. Emma calls it a miracle.
In a rare moment of clarity, Brad seemed to realize what a mess he’d made of his life. He was crying and asked Emma to forgive him. They hugged each other and then Emma asked Brad if he would surrender his life to Christ. Together they prayed and Brad made peace with the Saviour.
It was a glorious day for Emma.
And how are things now? Brad is much the same. He sits in his wheelchair and stares into space and wants to know if he has already brushed his teeth.
And Emma keeps on loving him.
With his health problems, it seems unlikely that Brad will live to see old age. But he has hope for heaven, where he will have new chances to create the kind of life he could have had on earth—an alcohol-free life.
And all because of an angel who was full of love and grace.
*Note from the author
Korsakoff syndrome is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but certain other conditions also can cause the syndrome. It causes problems learning new information, inability to remember recent events, and long-term memory gaps. Individuals may seem able to carry on a coherent conversation, but moments later be unable to recall that the conversation took place or to whom they spoke.Those with Korsakoff syndrome may also make up information they can't remember. They are not "lying" but may actually believe their invented explanations.
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