Never was our family holiday more needed nor the timing seemingly more inappropriate. For months we had looked forward to our family beach holiday.
As our holiday drew tantalizingly close, we were struck by the bombshell of my father-in-law’s diagnosis of a relapse of leukemia. If it’s possible, this news was even more of a shock than the first diagnosis, a year to the day earlier.
Bruce battled leukemia so valiantly the first time around, through four months of chemotherapy, and five months of a grueling stem cell transplant. Having laid close to death, he had fought heroically and won the battle! Remission. Such a sweet-tasting word after a brutally hard slog.
Bruce spent a further two months regaining his strength and had just returned to work for three weeks when this latest bombshell knocked the wind from us. The leukemia was back with vengeance, and this time in his cerebro-spinal fluid. Immediate chemo was required to relieve the pressure in his brain, and yet there was no hope this time of recovery.
Judy moved in with us to be closer to the hospital. Our greatly anticipated holiday loomed with 10 days to go, and the overwhelming feeling that this was no time to lark and giggle in sunshine and surf.
Happiness, our fair-weather friend, was nowhere to be found.
Judy, in her kindness, insisted we holiday still, and as it happened Bruce was able to have a few days leave from hospital during that week. Our house, being close to the hospital and uncharacteristically quiet, made it possible for him to have respite with Judy.
Our beach-front unit was constantly filled with sound of crashing waves, and the refreshing ocean-breeze, slapping sea-spray on our faces each time we walked out on the balcony. We spent many hours on that balcony, reading, talking, eating, playing boardgames. We spent many hours on the beach too, body boarding in the surf, building sandcastles, climbing over rocks and walking along the boardwalk.
We had a wonderful holiday, but happiness remained fickle, here some moments, gone the next as our thoughts drifted back to Bruce. The only constancy was the crashing waves, ever-pounding, ever-present, in the early dawn, the midday sunshine, the coolness of dusk. And still it pounded in the black of night, when all that could be seen was the moonlight reflecting in the white foam at the waves’ far-reaches.
A few of our days were grey, dreary, and scattered with showers. These were miserable days when even the weather seemed to have sympathy with our sorrow for Bruce. Something in me expected the waves to quieten down too; to join the heavy hearts, to register change. And yet the waves took no notice. Onward they crashed, wave after wave, endless energy, a perpetual rhythm proclaiming a great constancy.
And the Lord whispered to my heart about his faithfulness.
His faithfulness is constant like those waves. Not for a moment does His faithfulness to us waver. Not for a moment is it uncertain. His faithfulness is just like that perpetual rhythm of the pounding water, showing itself over and over, declaring His covenant again and again.
Never does His faithfulness hesitate. Never does it falter. And nor is it simply a reflection of our circumstances. Rain or sunshine, daylight or the darkness of night, inward-coming or outward going tides, even wind-direction does not halter the crashing waves. They crash always and even-still.
And God assured me that His faithfulness is not like happiness, which delights in my company and flatters me when all is wonderful, but quickly disappears as my circumstances sour.
His faithfulness was established before time, in Heaven itself (Psalms 89:2) and his Love stands firm forever. He is a mighty God, whose faithfulness surrounds him (v8). Imagine it like a cloud of sea-spray that surrounds those ever-crashing waves.
Breathe in His faithfulness.
Even now, 18 months later, and some 14 months after Bruce has passed away, I know that the constancy of God’s faithfulness is forever the air that I need to breathe. There is refreshment and hope in his faithfulness.
by Emma Leitch, a total MonetLeave a Comment