Thursday, March 3, 2016

No Longer I - Chapter 7, part two of two

This book, and Webber's first award-winning book, Meeting Jesus,  should be in the hands of every recruit, soldier, candidate, officer, and former officer - they and the Army will be strengthened as a result. Awarded 5 Stars
The FSAOF.

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‘Paul, I know I have a sense of humour but that isn’t funny,’ said I, trying to take in what he had just said.

‘Mate, I wouldn’t joke like that at a time like this.’

I knew that he wouldn’t, and even now am not sure quite why I said it, ‘I know, I know, sorry,’ I said.

‘Look I’ll put your wife on,’ he then said. Judy was so emotional, laughing and crying all at the same time. Laughing with relief at the news that she wasn’t having a spina bifida child; crying at the news of what Christopher had and the possible prognosis, as well as the thoughts of how we were going to cope with having twins on top of everything!

Following the phone call I returned to Christopher’s bedside. 

‘You have something many other children don’t possess.’

‘What’s that, Dad?’

‘You have Jesus in your heart, don’t you? You don’t just believe in him, you know he’s there.’

‘Yes, Dad, I do.’

We prayed together at his bedside and a kindly officer who discovered I was there took me the fifty miles home.

Back home, Judy and I are stunned. We pray and weep until we are drained of emotion. We cannot hide or bury our sorrow and Sarah weeps too. Christopher needs one of us with him as the treatment is severe, and so next day we part as I return to Liverpool. In the evening I return to tell Judy that a side room on the ward, big enough for a cot for Naomi as well as a single bed for her, has been vacated, and staff have arranged for her to move into it the following day. There is little space, little privacy, but close proximity to the little chap who needs their company. Not only will Christopher have the company of his mummy and his eight month old sister Naomi, who would live up to her name and prove to be a delight to her big brother, but Judy will be compelled to rest as the ante natal clinic ordered her to, something she would never have done at home. 

Early the following morning, all four of us travel back to spend the day with Christopher. Then, in the evening, just Sarah and I come home, leaving mummy, Christopher and Naomi behind. The house is quiet and we sit and cuddle up on the settee and weep and pray together, until she is so tired that I carry her upstairs and tuck her into bed. In the silence God speaks: 

God is love, I know, I feel,
Jesus lives and loves me still.

Today Sarah returned to school. I travelled again to Liverpool. This is the fifth day. Christopher is very down, ‘I wish they would make me sleep forever like at the vet’s, Mum.’ . . . The battle has only just begun.
In a drawer at home are three dedication certificates. We gave our little ones back to God for him to use as he saw fit. We live for God, we seek his will daily and strive to obey it and so we know that nothing can get through the defence that God affords us unless he grants consent. We are his. He has seen fit that we bear this suffering and yet we question not his love for us. In our agony we see Christ nailed to that cross at Calvary. Was God’s love for his only begotten Son in anyway lacking even though he granted man authority whereby he condemned and crucified him? No, the cross speaks of the seriousness of man’s state and the intensity of God’s love for man . . . . ‘God so loved the world.’ The cross speaks of the certainty of Christ’s trust in the love of God despite receiving affliction. Whose was the greatest agony at Calvary, the Father’s or the Son’s?
I cannot understand the ‘why’ of our state, but each morning as we weep and plead that this cup be taken from us, Judy and I are aware of a weeping God attending us. He does not give out his cups of sorrow easily to his servants, those he so dearly loves. What he wishes to achieve through our little boy or through us or through those who are witness to this sadness, must be of immense importance for him to demand such drastic measures, and in so many ways we receive confirmation amid our confusion, that this is of God.
The agony of heart in every area of our life is at breaking point, but in every area God is there. His grace has been sufficient and we trust him for tomorrow’s manna. The sunshine has gone, we are in darkness, we cannot see our way ... not one step; but he is there.
We plead our cause with such intensity, and yet pray that we will have the trust required not to withhold Christopher should God truly desire to take him. Nothing, however, stops that continual prayer to God in what is our Gethsemane, ‘Take this cup from our little boy, from his sisters, from us.’ We know he can, we know God is able.

I close the piano and put away Christopher’s books and long for the sound of his little melodies drifting through the house. I tidy his toys and see his ball in the garden and my heart breaks again and sorrows like sea billows roll as I hunger to have our happy days back. My heart aches at the thought of the suffering of my little lad, at the tears of his sister, now my companion, and the exhaustion of my dear wife and yet and yet ... ‘I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able.’

God is love, I know, I feel,
Jesus lives and loves us still.
Charles Wesley

No Longer I?

Howard Webber


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