At the age of 29 my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
In the course of two years he was hospitalized 18 times.
He endured 14 brutal cycles of chemotherapy.
He spent more than 400 nights separated from his two children.
He experienced intense pain within his body.
He heard the words relapse four times.
He was told that he had weeks to live on more than one occasion.
At 30 years old he lost the ability to move his legs and his arms.
He developed a wound in the hospital that ultimately grew and infected his bone.
And on February 14th, 2017, at 31, he passed away.
And some may ask "Where was God when my spouse was dying?"
Where was God when the doctors told us that my husband had a tumor encasing all of the major organs in his chest?
Where was God when the doctors told us that my husband's kidney function was only at 20%?
Where was God when the chemotherapy caused severe damage in my husband's spine resulting in his paralysis?
Where was God when I found myself sitting across from the one I loved so much as he lay hooked up to a breathing machine?
Some ask this question in sincerity, others ask it in anger and still some ask this question as their proof that God doesn't exist.
I am a thirty-something year old widow. I only had 7.5 years of marriage. I have two young children who miss their dad. I am heartbroken. I am hurting. I miss my husband's voice. I miss his touch. I miss seeing his face every night as I fall asleep. I miss talking to him on a daily basis. I miss hearing him say "Good morning, Beautiful," as we wake up each morning. I miss seeing him interact with his children. I miss everything about him.
But I can confidently say, that God was there when my husband was dying.
Some don't understand how a loving God could allow a 31 year old to die. They don't understand how a loving God could allow someone to endure the pain of cancer only to let them die. They don't understand how a loving God could allow a wife to bury her husband and children to grow up with out a father.
There are some things in life we will never understand. But that doesn't mean that God isn't loving. It doesn't mean that God isn't in control. It doesn't mean that God doesn't exist.
When we look at individuals in the Bible we see individuals who experienced pain. David endured the wilderness. Joseph was imprisoned. Esther was married to a ruthless king. The prophets were hated. The disciples were persecuted. Moses was talked about.
But there was a purpose in their pain.
We don't like to hear about the pain. We live in society that equates the blessings of God to financial prosperity. Our society tells us that being used by God means one will have a platform, position and prestige. Preachers discuss the favor of God and associate favor with only great things happening in one's life. But David, Joseph, Esther, the prophets and the disciples were all favored by God. And they endured very painful circumstances.
Jesus Himself endured pain in order to have the purpose fulfilled. He endured the cross so we could have life.
Heaven is real! So my husband did not lose his battle with cancer, he won. He may have endured two painful years of cancer treatment but he is experiencing an eternal reward in heaven right now. And I believe there was a purpose in his pain. My husband's life was a testimony of what living for God in any circumstance looks like.
It is very easy to deliver an applause garnering message from the platform, but to live a life of praise even when your world is falling apart is powerful.
A week after being diagnosed with cancer as we sat in the car on the way to an oncologist appointment, my husband said "God no matter what you are still good." And he lived those words for the next two years. He had toxic chemotherapy dripping into his body at times for 24 hours straight but he praised God. He experienced constant hiccups from the steroids that lasted weeks at a time and caused severe nausea but he praised God. He was weakened by the chemotherapy but he praised God. He spent two weeks of every month in the hospital for a year but he praised God. In the middle of the night, even though he was exhausted from all his body was enduring he would get up and pray, read his Bible and sing praises to God. The doctor's told him multiple times that there was nothing else they could do, but he never cursed God. And when he lost the ability to move his legs and his arms, he would still pray and sing worship songs. In the middle of the night I could hear him as he lay in the hospital bed talking to God. He was tired. He endured a lot. He wasn't experiencing fame. He wasn't experiencing the financial blessings that prosperity preachers discuss. He didn't have recognition. He was enduring the most difficult time of his life. But he never stopped praising God.
Romans 8:28 says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
All things did work together for good for my husband. My husband is enjoying heaven right now. He is in the presence of God. And God is using my husband's testimony to reach so many. God never left my husband's side. During the two years he battled cancer, God was right there. As my husband took his last breath, God was there. God was and still is loving. He was and still is good.
There is a purpose in EVERYTHING even in pain.