Help In The Fiery Furnace

This is Ron writing. It has become increasingly painful for Cathy to use her hands to type. So, she asked me to bring all your dear friends and family up to speed on her situation. She is humbled, blessed, and touched deeply by the great multitude of people who follow these posts and pray diligently and fervently for her. Thank you for your incredible love and care for my precious partner of 48 years.

When Cathy first received Jesus into her life at age 15, she decided to adopt a “life verse” that would sum up her heart’s longings as a follower of Christ. The Lord led her to Phil. 3:10, and it became the passion that energized her spiritual pursuits:

“That I may know Him (Jesus), and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”

In the early decades of her life she never wavered from an abiding hunger to know Jesus in an increasingly intimate relationship. She also fervently pursued the ways that His resurrection power could be manifested in and then through her. I have been an eye witness to her remarkable story. God has granted her desire in amazing depth and abundance. As her husband, through the years I have often felt dwarfed both by the intimacy she has been allowed to cultivate with Jesus, and the way God has poured resurrection power into her hands. You who love and care for Cathy are the legacy of her pursuit of Jesus and His power.

But now as Cathy walks into her 70th year on this planet, our loving Lord is sovereignly choosing to bring Cathy through the leg of her life-verse-journey that is hard to embrace: “that I may know… the fellowship of His sufferings.” The Greek word behind fellowship is koinonia, and it means sharing everything in common. I didn’t personally witness Jesus suffer, but I have studied the biblical accounts. His suffering was absolutely awful because our sin was absolutely awful, and in love He voluntarily chose to take the awful pain and shameful humiliation and paralyzing weakness all upon Himself. In recent days, I have been watching my precious Cathy suffer in ways that can only be called excruciating. That word is derived from the Latin meaning “the pain coming out of the cross.”

When I ask Cathy about her pain level while she’s feeling good, she pegs it at about a 4. When it gets intense – and it does a lot – it goes up to an 8. You ask, how is she doing? She’s living in the koinonia of Jesus’ sufferings.

Yet – and here’s the part of my report that is so encouraging – just like our Lord, in the midst of the pain she is still the same sweet, wonderful Cathy who is constantly concerned about others and reaching out in whatever ways she can.

She has very limited function both with her hands and legs these days. So, she has to rely upon help to do all the vital functions of daily life. That’s why I decided to ask God for a care team that could come to the house and be helping hands and hearts to
Cathy. He graciously answered my prayer with a team of six wonderful, caring women who eagerly asked to be care givers. Beginning Sept. 4, a different lady will come to the house for eight hours Monday – Saturday and bless Cathy. I get to pay them because we have a long-term care insurance policy. So, they will come to bless Cathy every day, and I’m guessing they will leave each evening having been blessed by her!

This is such a blessing to us both! It’s obviously a blessing to Cathy, but it’s also a blessing to me because I have begun to grow weary in caring for her – especially during the four to five times she needs to get to the bathroom at night.

We just completed two weeks with a dear friend, Rachel Burt, who stayed with us. She was an angel who allowed me to get so many things done! And she was a lot better at doing Cathy’s hair!

We do not know the future of Cathy’s disease. Her most recent tests are a mixed bag indicating some retreat of the cancer and yet some advances. So, we commit the future to the only One who knows it, and we seek to live one day at a time trusting Jesus to give us both the strength and wisdom to tackle that day. Keep praying for Cathy and me. We are in the fiery furnace… but the One who looks like the Son of God is in here with us!!

Ron Kingham