About twenty years ago, a boy met a girl at Bible college. They fell madly in love and married a year later. They had big hopes and dreams for the future, and told God they would go anywhere He wanted them to go.

God led them to a little country church in the heart of the Ozarks. They immersed themselves in ministry with great enthusiasm.

But then the girl got sick. Really, really sick.

Constant pain wracked her body, and her digestive organs stopped working properly. Tube feedings kept her alive, but her weight dwindled and her strength diminished.

The boy and girl prayed for God to heal her. Their families prayed. The church prayed.

But the girl didn’t get better.

The boy is my brother and pastor, Jim. His beautiful bride is my sister-in-law, Christie. Christie hasn’t been able to attend church for over three years now. She can take a few steps with support, but is mostly confined to her bed and wheelchair.

Since Christie can’t come to church, last Sunday night we took church to her. A makeshift platform was set up on a trailer in Jim & Christie’s large backyard. People brought lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.

Our new members were excited to meet the pastor’s wife they’d only heard about. Established members were anxious to hug the girl they hadn’t seen for years.

I couldn’t hold back the tears when I pushed Christie’s wheelchair outside. I couldn’t imagine how she felt seeing her church family after such a long time.

I tried to guide the wheelchair down the hill to the trailer, but ruts in the yard threatened to tip it over. Jim came over, scooped Christie up in his arms, and carried her down to the front while I followed with the chair.

After she was safely tucked into her chair again, Jim introduced her to those who had never met her. We all laughed when he asked Christie what her first impression of him was the day they met at college.

“I thought you were arrogant.” But her smile indicated very strongly she doesn’t think that any more. 🙂

We listened as Jim asked her to tell us about her favorite song. The song is “It Is Well” by Bethel Music, and shows the heartbeat of Christie’s life. Here are a few lines from the song.

Far be it from me not to believe

Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me

Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name

Through it all, my eyes are on You

It is well with my soul.

When Christie finished, Jim asked two other ladies from our church to join us. Cancer wages a war within their bodies, a war these precious ladies will lose unless God chooses to do a miracle.

We gathered to pray beside the trailer, our hands and hearts entwined. We prayed for God to strengthen and give peace to these ladies who have strong hearts but weak bodies.

We don’t know the future. We don’t know if God will take away the cancer from our precious friends.

But still we pray.

After watching Christie decline over the last decade, we don’t know if God will heal her.

But still we pray.

We don’t understand why God tells us to keep praying when the situation seems hopeless. We don’t understand why God sometimes grants healing in heaven instead of here on earth.

But still we pray.

Why? Why do we pray when all seems hopeless?

And how? How do we trust God when He doesn’t seem to answer the cries of our hearts?

How can we say, It is well with my soul?

We can pray, and we can trust, and all is well with our soul because of this:

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross guarantees eternal life for us.

Eternal life in Heaven with no pain, no disease, no tears.

One day Christie will walk—no, run—across heaven.

One day my friends will no longer feel the pain of cancer.

One day all will be made right.

My friend, today is not the end. This life is but a vapor. Soon it will be over, and we will live in eternal joy.

Forever with Jesus.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” {Revelation 21:4}

Christie with our sweet Betty, who is fighting cancer

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