I have had two specific prayers answered in glorious ways in the past two and one-half years. First was the honor I shared with Barbara in caring for my dad, who turned 100 on November 12, 2014, and went to heaven in January 2015.
The second was answered on May 28 of this year with the passing of my Barbara without suffering. She would have turned 81 on June 2. And we would have celebrated our 63rd anniversary on June 12.
A grapefruit-sized benign tumor was discovered in Barbara’s rib cage in November 2014. Surgery would have been radical and risky. And recovery would have taken a long time. We had decided together many years ago that we wanted to fulfill our purpose, and leave our longevity in the hands of our Father. No surgery. Barbara enjoyed more than two years of good health and “normal” life after that discovery.
In September of 2016, she began to realize some difficulty in breathing. Our doctor ordered oxygen 24/7. She did quite well until just a few weeks ago when shortness of breath increased. We saw the Palliative Care doctor who referred us to Hospice on May 24.
She was not able to get dressed, do her hair, etc., for the first time on May 27, and left for heaven just after midnight that night. What an awesome answer to my prayers! She did not suffer. She just went to sleep.
My brother, Doug, said of her: “Go to any dictionary and look up ‘love’ and ‘dignity,’ and you will find her picture there.”
“Thank you, Father, for letting me serve these precious people who helped you so much in making me what I am today.”
Now, for the final lap of my race: to be Jesus’ instrument for the cleansing of His bride by the washing of water with the word.
My passion is to wash away the schizophrenic demons that have produced multiple personalities in her, so that she might know and live in the reality of our oneness. Most are unaware of this condition. We are in a war with principalities and powers for the governance of the earth. Only when we realize and function in our oneness will we be prepared to fulfill our purpose.
“Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not hear, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation” (Wikipedia).
No one set of symptoms reveals the in-depth seriousness of this disease. Because of isolation, most denominations and congregations judge themselves by themselves, and earn their own approval. But, the thought of functioning together with other congregations or denominations in town is threatening, causing insecurity and fears that quickly drive them back into isolation with “their own kind,” secure in their familiar traditions and dogmas.
I hasten to say that, secure in our own familiar religious environments, many good things happen. Many wonderful people are serving God to the best of their knowledge and ability, and are totally unaware of the true condition of the church.
The word “distinctives” is closer to the root of our various positions than “denominations.” It is our distinctives that denominate us! Even those who proudly claim to be non-denominational have distinctives that denominate them.
Those who value their distinctives more than they value the brethren in other persuasions are still walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. They are carefully shunning evil and any appearance of evil, and they are embracing only good. Both are from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Good is not God!
Is Christ divided?
Paul wrote: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?
Paul couched these words in unconditional love and uncompromising commitment. This is also my heart for the precious bride of Christ.
Jesus prayed, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.’
I say, with Paul, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
The remainder of my days in this life will be given to releasing the Christ within to love the church through me with the love He poured through me to my bride, my precious Barbara.