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Question

 

Gramps,

This may seem silly, but I was an active 67-year-old man. Seven months ago I got my left arm paralyzed and my life has changed. There is a big part of me that wishes to die so I can be made whole again.  What difference does it make if I live a few extra years.

John

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Answer

 

Dear John,

I’m sorry to hear about your adversity.  I don’t think your question is silly at all. I can only guess that it is a very difficult adjustment you have had to make.

You are not alone in feeling frustrated and desiring for your trial to be over and death to come quickly.  Consider Job.  We often speak of his patience in trials, but he wasn’t always patient.  At one point, he became very discouraged, I think it is safe to say depressed, but I will let you read his words and decide for yourself.

20 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

 

21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; 

 

22 Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

Job 3:20-22

Is this how you are feeling?  If so, you are not alone.

You asked what difference can a few more years make.  Only the Lord can answer that for certain.  It would be a good idea to pray about that.  Before you can pray about that though, you may find that you need to have a “cleansing” prayer and talk to Heavenly Father about the pain, disappointment and anger that you are surely feeling right now.  It’s okay to talk to Him about these things, you can’t surprise Him.  He already knows what you are feeling and is waiting for you to come to Him.

Let’s go back to Job for a moment.  What I quoted above is from chapter 3, the whole chapter is much the same.  His pain and anguish is understandable.  By chapter 10, he is still not feeling any better.

1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
Job 10:1

Again, the entire chapter goes on in much this way.  Job seems to really be pouring his heart out to the Lord.  I think this is a good example for all of us.  As you know, things eventually improved for Job.

I would like to share a little about one of my heroes.  Admiral James Stockdale, if anyone has ever had a good reason to be discouraged, he did.  He was flying over Vietnam, during the war, and his plane was shot down.  During his landing and subsequent savage beating by the town people where he landed, one of his legs was severely broken.  As a prisoner of war, he not only did not receive medical care for his broken leg, but endured torture, and solitary confinement for about seven and half years!  James C. Collins interviewed him for the book, Good to Great.  Collins asked Admiral Stockdale how he was able to cope.

Stockdale said,

“I never lost faith in the end of the story.  I never doubter not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which in retrospect I would not trade.”

As the conversation continued, Stockdale added something very important.  He talked about the “optimists” who had died and when Collins inquired further Stockdale said,

“This is a very important lesson.  You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end–which you can never afford to lose–with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality whatever they might be.”

John, what you are feeling and experiencing is understandable and normal.  You are grieving.  That is natural when one experiences a huge loss as you have.  Please be patient with yourself.  Seven months probably feels like an eternity right now, but grieving takes time.  Take courage from Job and Admiral Stockdale.  Turn to the Lord, and tell Him all that is in your heart.  If you will do this, I promise you things will get better.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

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