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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Feeling Fearful

What is it like to have someone you love and cherish, and to commit the whole of your life, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, for sickness and in health - to fall ill to the point of inability to sit up, let alone stand up and walk, and to have a continuous searing pain along her spine?
How does it feel to have this cherished one loving you, accepting you as you are, being a thorough helpmate, and hold no reserve in exchanging affection, devotion and love - only to find out that as she lies crying and in fear in a bed at one of the nation's top hospitals, we are told by a couple of its doctors that all tests applied proved negative and any attempted treatment, some very costly to the NHS, have not brought on the expected recovery? She is then transferred back to a more local hospital, having no idea of her future outcome. This, I think, is what fear really is. It's of the unknown, the uncertain welfare of my beloved, of our future together as husband and wife and what this could involve.

Last night in bed, after her transfer back to Reading from Oxford, I was gripped by cold, naked fear. Alongside this, all the good times we had as a couple, both at home and on our travels, stirred my memory. The house is quiet, even when I'm at home, and when I turn on the telly or listen to music on the hi-fi, these are not real people, just images and past recordings. I don't have the proper feeling of company. Despite the sight of people and the sound of voices, by the end of the day I'm still at home alone.
Yet I should be used to this. I lived alone at a bachelor apartment for 23 years. Those were the days of freedom, to come in and go out whenever I wish, to buy what I desire as well as what I need, the ability to work long hours, to save up and travel the world. Also to take a day off if I wanted to (the benefit of self-employment) and if I couldn't be bothered to wash the dishes after a meal but to leave them dirty overnight, there was no one to reprimand me. Bachelor life was good in many ways.

But fourteen years of happy marriage had changed all that. Because as a bachelor, there were times I felt lonely and unloved, along with a good dollop of boredom. Love and marriage had filled in those gaps left unfulfilled as a single. Of course, as in everything else in this fallen world, nothing is perfect, and we had our share of disagreements and woes. But overall, it has always been a strong, robust marriage, each supporting the other during down times as well as celebrating noted moments together. In all of these, I made it my aim to love my wife in the same way Jesus Christ loves his church - sacrificially, with the ability to pass over any shortcomings she has. For an example, as a bachelor I loved independent travel, world backpacking and hosteling. At the same time I shunned package holidays with their luxury hotel accommodation. I also believed back then, that escorted tours were either for the elderly, or for wimps who did not have the bottle to look after themselves in a foreign country. But after marrying Alex, we went on five package holidays, including the Canary Island of Lanzarote, where I booked two escorted coach tours to explore the island.

Backpacking days: Singapore, taken May 1997.

Alex is everything to me. Her love for me and her devotion to our marriage had made a massive impact on my life. Even to the extent that independent travel is now by comparison seen as undesirable. As I sit here alone at home, with the recording of the pop band OMD playing through the high-fidelity speakers, I type this blog with a desire for a good cry. The emptiness, along with the fear of uncertainty, can be almost unbearable.

I call out to God to help us, and for Jesus Christ to save us, but even God seems far away, as if on some sabbatical holiday. When I call out, it is into empty air, with not even an echo to answer back. My feelings, my fears and anticipations are not soothed but continue on, unabated.

It is the time like this that it's so difficult to grasp the reality of Psalm 139, for example. In the opening verses, it reads:
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

Although I know that such words are true, it is times like this, I tend to wonder whether such atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchins and Sam Harris may have had a point after all - that all I'm doing whilst praying, is talking into thin air, with the complexity of the vast Universe too large and myself too small and insignificant to be heard, let alone listened to and taking heed. There are times I feel life is like that, a grasshopper walking on a comparatively huge planet orbiting the Sun, which within - compared to the size of the galaxy - even the whole Solar System looks microscopic as it whirls on its orbit around the nucleus of the galaxy. I tend to feel: Is God elsewhere, carefully adjusting and fine-tuning the mechanisms of another more distant galaxy, and too busy to hear a plea from an insignificant guy from across the other side of the Universe?

Times come and times go, and there are moments when I can lift my hands into the air during church praise and worship, feeling the strong presence of the Lord. Then there are times like these, where my pleading does nothing but disturbs the silent, still air in my bedroom, and remains unheeded. Yet believing that God is Infinite, whose wisdom cannot be fathomed by mere mortals such as us, and yes, he could well be fine-tuning the complex fabric of a long distant galaxy, yet at the same time hold together and sustain the life cells of a bug crawling on the carpet, and also looks into our hearts, knowing more about within ourselves then we ourselves do.

These are the times to reflect on the omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence of God Almighty, whose love for us was demonstrated by the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to atone for all our transgressions and shortcomings. No matter what the atheists say, it was right here on earth where Jesus atoned for our sins, not on a remote planet at some distant galaxy. God also sustains the very breath of life in our nostrils. As we go about our daily lives, we take for granted that within our chests, each lud-dum, lud-dum, lud-dum, of our beating hearts sends red and white blood cells coursing through our arteries and veins, bringing life to every tissue of our bodies, surely the very proof of the living God.

As we are living in an age of Science, knowledge, including the marvellous mechanism of the genome and microbiology in general, our sinful nature denies God as the Maker and Sustainer of such wonders, and resort to Evolution, with Charles Darwin being the new messiah of the likes of Dawkins and Harris. But it takes distressing times like this that such ideas, false as they might be, offering absolutely no hope, no shred of comfort, no stirring of any other emotion. Rather, Evolution would coldly insist that Alex and her ilk be eliminated from Natural Selection and allowed to die. It is unfortunate that the majority of the medical profession are unbelievers in Christ and of the Atonement, and instead see the wonderful, vastly complex fabric of the genome as having evolved, instead of manifesting the very glory of its Creator. For I believe that God has given mankind an exceptionally intelligent brain which allows study of microbiology and allied sciences to reveal God's glory in creation and to be converted and saved. Yet as they instead remain as unbelievers, we put in our full trust in their knowledge that they can treat such as my wife of a certain illness, and come out mystified, without a diagnosis. And I, for one, fall into despair.

Once again, as I have expressed so enthusiastically in previous blogs, there is that one key verse which Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome:
For we know that all things work for the good of those who love God, and are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.

And no medical doctor can deny that.


  1. Don't lose patience in this, Frank. We're praying with you.

  2. Frank,
    there is nothing wrong with crying in a situation like you are going through. That is when we can be closest to the Lord and able to pray from the heart, when we are in distress. I can only encourage you in saying that I have had much proof that God heals today, I have had a miraculous healing and many other hearings and have seen God's supernatural healing ability in many other believers. God is well able to do what man can not do. Have the elders anointed Alex with oil and laid hands on her and prayed, as instructed to the church in James ch. 5 v. 14? I pray that the prayer of faith will be upon Alex and that God will be glorified through her healing, and may the Lord strengthen you in this hard time.

    1. Dear Brenda,
      Yes, two of our church elders called at the hospital bedside about a month ago to annoint her forehead with olive oil and then prayed over her for healing.

  3. I wish and pray that Alex will get better soon, and that you remain strong.

  4. Dear Frank,
    I am so sorry to hear about what looks to our mortal eyes to be a lack of progress or even a worsening, but be reassured that God is at work in this very situation in ways we cannot fathom. Romans 8:28 is a promise we can bank on, as is "He will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

    Thank you for this honest post that I know will encourage all those who may be going through similar feelings as they face various trials. Praying for you and Alex.

    God bless,

  5. I pray that your dear Alex will be a living witness to the healing power of our loving God.

  6. Really well written Frank - praying for you.


  7. Though my circumstances were different, the feelings you describe are very familiar. One verse than I found helpful was I Corinthians 10:13. So often we have the sense that we are alone in our struggles. Knowing that they actually quite common and others have survived them helped me face my situation, especially with god's promise to keep it within bounds I can handle.

  8. Hi Frank! What a wonderful post. I continue to pray for Alex. I also pray for your strength. One thing though we must remember. We praise God for Who He is as well as what He does. Remember the men in the furnace? They said that their God would deliver them, but even if He chose not to, they would worship Him anyway.

    Our praise and worship is not conditioned by "how we feel" it is given because of WHO He is. There are many times I go into church feeling down or discouraged, but I "make" myself lift my hands and praise Him. In turn by doing this He sees that it is a sacrifice and blesses me with His presence. God bless you and Alex, Frank.


  9. '16 For my part, I appeal to God, and Yahweh saves me;

    17 evening, morning, noon, I complain and I groan. He hears my cry,

    18 he ransoms me and gives me peace from the feud against me, for they are taking me to law.

    19 But God will listen and will humble them, he who has been enthroned from the beginning; no change of heart for them, for they do not fear God.'

    Psalm 55