Monday, December 26, 2011

A Year of Trials

I have not posted a blog entry since March of 2010. The year 2011 has been a year of trials for me and my family. Faith in God, the support of our church family, and the prayers of many faithful friends have sustained us.

In spite of all our trials God is good and his grace in Christ is sufficient. The trials began for us in March, when my older brother suddenly became ill. He was experiencing strange lapses in memory and confusion. By about Easter he was given a preliminary diagnosis of Cruetzfeldt-Jakobs Disease, a neurological disease that progresses rapidly, destroying the brain. It's pathology is hardly understood by medical science. There is a hypothesis about the disease, but it seems to raise more questions than it answers. It is extremely rare and always fatal. At age 54 my brother passed on May 29, 2011. I had a very hard time finding closure because the very nature of the disease required a closed casket. My only comfort is in knowing that he is now whole and with his Lord Jesus.

The summer was hard, emotionally. I couldn't focus on work. I only wanted to spend time working on an old truck I had bought from a friend. It became my therapy. The old truck and my involvement in Scouting kept me sane, I think. I simply pushed through each day.

Just as I felt I was climbing out of the whole of losing my brother, one of my children became ill. On or about her 11th birthday she began exhibiting odd behavior. We've been to the pediatrician and three specialists. We're now preparing to see a fourth specialist. God has been good and sustained us in this most recent trial. We're hopeful that we will get a diagnosis and course of treatment soon.

Trials are often God's way of preparing his people for some new challenge. They are God's training ground for our next step in his service.  They also serve a purgative purpose. They wean us from the world and aid in our sanctification. As the writer of Hebrews observed, no trial is pleasant at the time, but the outcome is always worth the hardship. So, I'm looking to 2012 and wondering just what God is up to and what will the new year bring for me and my family.

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