As I write, my old friend Donna is undergoing serious heart surgery in a far-away hospital.
She asked me and her other friends to pray, and that’s what I’ve been doing in the short weeks since she found out the magnitude of her problem. I pray for a successful surgery, of course, and for complete healing. But mostly, I’ve been affirming Isaiah 26:3, “Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.”
Donna is one of those ordinary heroes of the faith who has faced an abundance of challenges throughout life and has come through them victorious, because her mind is stayed on God.
Not that she didn’t react as any woman would as she struggled through two difficult marriages while raising her children to be fine adults. When she finally found her soulmate, and he died of cancer after a very short marriage, she grieved as any other woman would. She suffered excruciating migraines for many years. She was seriously injured in a freak accident that caused damage to her lungs. She underwent a painful hip replacement.
But through it all, her faith in a good God has never wavered, and it hasn’t wavered now. I heard the evidence of her peace in our telephone conversations. It gives her confidence that whatever happens, she is safe in God’s hands.
Donna lives far away because she left our community to support her daughter and family. When her son-in-law was a young doctor, he contracted multiple sclerosis. It wasn’t long before he could no longer practice. That didn’t stop him and Debbie from adopting three brothers to join the three children they already had. Their mother had died in an accident and one was a newborn. All six have grown to be the kind of young people that would make any parent proud.
Debbie herself, a former athlete, has had two hip surgeries to improve a congenital problem. Her husband has been completely helpless for several years, yet she cares for him alone, as well as encouraging and mothering the children. Now she will need to care for her own mother.
I admire people who don’t get stuck in asking, “Why me, God?” They know God is not the author of sickness or pain. They live triumphantly, whatever comes, confident in a bright future for those who trust Him.
Donna, and Debbie, too, will come through this hard stretch with spirits strong. They are heroes in my book.