David’s Email Message, December 2010:
I can’t put into words the love I have for her and I feel the deepest pain at not being able to cuddle her. These have been long, hard months but it has been a privilege to help her journey through the most painful and difficult time I have known anyone to endure. It has been a heavy burden that you would not want any 15 year- old to bear. She has done it with such grace, such love and such concern for others and she has been such a wonderful example of Christ through it all. She has said all along that she wanted God to get the glory from her life whatever that would be. She has been looking forward to Christmas and giving everyone their gifts. Bethy is such a giving person and puts a lot of time into thinking about what everyone would like. We had a very special talk last Thursday night about Heaven. She said that God did speak to her and that everything will be made right – that He was going to do something very special for her soon. She says that she is not afraid at all but is worried for her Mum, who has lost a brother to cancer and soon will lose her without a miracle. She needed assurance that we would be OK. She has totally surrendered her life to the Lord and is ready after a long battle to run into the arms of Jesus. She paid for a lovely camera for the family two weeks ago, as she wants us to remember special things in our family and not be forgotten. We assured her there is no chance of that!
While it was a shock to hear the words of death pronounced over our daughter that Christmas Eve in 2010, God had prepared Beth in several ways to receive the news that the tumor was on the move again and that she could not live in her body much longer. I write this blog in honor of her dad, my beloved David James who poured his life out for his girl in so many ways. I love him for this, more than words can say. It was very hard for David after we met with the doctors to feel that this was the end of the road. He still wanted to fight for his girl and do all that he could to save her. In the coming weeks, God did assure David and prepare him so that he could let her go. (I see now that most of this preparation came from Beth herself and her incredible attitude.)
While three years have since passed, my dear man still has a hard time looking back over this season. He still feels the pain of some of the decisions he had to make under pressure. For example, he feels that he put Beth through unnecessary pain when he wanted her to have another MRI to confirm the doctor’s prognosis. The Lord is healing up the hurts caused by the huge responsibility he bore for his darling girl. By turning daily to His Word, David is able to BE Assured by Jesus. As he chooses the ancient, godly path of life, he hears the Voice of Truth assuring his heart and does not have to succumb to voices of doubt and accusation that scream out to him in vulnerable moments.
We all need assurance, and ongoing reassurance. You know, the doctors did their very best to assure us that Christmas Eve. They assured us that they were ‘on call’ if needed and that Beth would get the best medical and palliative care possible. Yet all of this was not enough. We needed assurance of a deeper kind. We desperately needed to hear the words;
“Everything is going to be OK.”
At Christmas time, we celebrate the amazing fact that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, came to dwell with us. Immanuel – ‘God with us’ desires to draw near today and bring assurance of His love and greater plan to our broken hearts. He came to bring salvation, healing and hope into the darkest of situations, yours and mine. Perhaps you have already chosen the ancient, godly path to follow the Lord or maybe you are considering your choices. There comes a time when we meet a fork in the road and need to decide whether to believe the words of Jesus or not. There is only ONE who with all integrity says to you; “EVERYTHING is going to be OK My child!” Because of My Son, EVERYTHING is going to BE OK! The Father aches to hold you close and bless you with all the assurance you need – like we did with Beth. When David and I had nothing else to offer, because of Jesus we could whisper to our girl that one day everything would be OK – more than OK! Yes, choose the ancient path, dear friends, and draw near to the Lord in your pain today. We can BE Assured in Him and rest in that blessed assurance for eternity!
Definition: a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise.
Synonyms: word, promise, pledge, vow, oath, bond, undertaking, guarantee, commitment.
Songs to Encourage You:
God With Us by MercyMe
Emmanuel By Casting Crowns
Blessed Assurance by Fanny J. Crosby
A book to build you up:
If you need some extra assurance at the moment, there is only one true place I can lead you – to the words of Jesus Christ. Have a read of the Gospel of John this week… “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
Back to Christmas 2010:
Please allow me to share some more treasured things that happened that Christmas week, precious events that have brought assurance of the Lord’s presence with us through that time…
As the news of the doctor’s pronouncement spread, family gathered. A group of around 40 of Beth’s Christian family from several churches gathered on our lawn to sing her carols. It was beautiful and as they started to depart, Beth wanted to personally thank them all. So one by one they lined up to see Beth and say goodbye. We did not expect Beth to have the strength to do this but what a gift it was to those friends – most of whom had been praying all year and did not want to impose on us. That night, Beth also received a phone call from renowned singer, Sylvie Paladino, just before she went on stage to sing at the annual Carols By Candlelight Service in Melbourne. Sylvie dedicated her song, The Name of the Lord to Beth that night.
What special things are surrounding you at the moment, helping you BE Assured in Jesus?