Thirteen years ago I shared the following message at the church where I once pastored. Our palliative care doctor had just shared that she thought David had less than six months to live. Ten days later David passed away. It is hard to describe the loss and sadness that entered our lives that day. Every room echoed as if empty without his presence. I remember wandering from room to room in my own home as if lost. I had cried so much that I no longer had tears to shed.
Yet, despite the horrible loss and brokenness that invaded our lives, I remember vividly, almost physically, a sense of HOPE. His story wasn’t over. He had just changed his address from Frogs Whisker Lane to heaven. There was no doubt I would see him again. And so I shared the following thoughts with our friends at church, hoping to remind them that hope is possible even in the most difficult of situations. I hope it does the same for anyone reading today’s blog!
Nothing Will Rob Our Hope!
As most of you know we have been on a thirteen year journey with our son, David, as he has battled an intruder and foe by the name of Battens Disease. It started by robbing him of his vision when he was eight years old and has continued to rob him physically, cognitively, and emotionally. A week ago Friday Brenda and I sat in my home office with our doctor as she spoke the words, “David most likely has six months or less to live.” As you can imagine it felt as if the air had been sucked from the room.
Thankfully the hope Doug just talked about is real and has given us something to hold on to as our little world has come crashing down around us. I’m not going to lie and say it has been easy or that we haven’t been angry, or thought that God didn’t care or that he was out of control. We have struggled with all these things and still are to some degree, yet we hold on to the sure and certain hope that one day soon David is going to again see, walk, run, talk, think, and no longer be in physical or emotional pain. While we don’t want him to go, we also don’t want him to be locked here in his broken body in this broken world. We know because of our faith in Christ and his that we will be reunited. That is our hope and nothing, not even death, will take it away
The last three weeks have been very difficult. David has cried and moaned and groaned incessantly. No matter what we tried we couldn’t get him to settle down. One day last week Brenda was beside herself in emotional pain as she listened to David groan for hours. She picked up her bible and she came to 2 Corinthians 4:16. Let me read to you a couple verses.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
And what is that purpose? To be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. And so we have hope! That soon David will shed his earthly tent and be clothed with that which is eternal, perfect, and good. In fact, a couple of weeks ago David was in his bedroom crying out, “I want to go home, I want to go home.” We too want that for David as well.
One of the hardest things I have struggled with over the past several weeks is what I called the silence of God. It felt as if no matter how hard I prayed, and asked God to bring comfort, or bring peace to my family nothing happened. It was if God was simply standing by, listening, but choosing not to respond. It didn’t make sense. Yet the day the doctor said David was dying, I was ready to accept it. The silence and David’s suffering had prepared me to begin the process of letting go. While I wished God would have sent a simple email or written a message in the steam on my mirror, I am starting to see the wisdom of God in choosing to be silent.
We are scheduled to meet with Hospice on Tuesday and sign up for their services. We have no idea how long David will be with us. He has not been eating or drinking much at all so we are pretty sure it will not be long. If you want to follow our journey more closely you can go to a blog I started in August titled It is Well with My Soul. It is at www.davidpfohl.blogspot.com.
We appreciate your prayers and all the love you have showered on us. When David dies our goal is to celebrate David’s life and the hope we have that he is with Christ.