Random Journal Day. I've been praying since last night about whether to post this entry because AGAIN I'm away from my bookcase full of journals. This morning God kind of punched me in the gut with the sense that I must post this, though it's pretty intimate and very raw. But I keep it in my Bible. I keep it there to remind myself...well,to remind myself of my Gethsemane.
August 23, 1997
In Pullman, sitting by Dad's hospital bed, who is still trying to conduct university business though he bleeds and has tubes running in and out. I drove out to [RE's] Wednesday night and screamed out loud to God, "Please don't let my Daddy die!" and suddenly, there in the car with me, right there in my shrieking tears, was God.
"I know exactly how you feel," I heard, as if He was sitting beside me, speaking in the quiet, though I didn't feel quiet at all. And then I was, quiet, that is, because He was there and reminding me that He knows what it is to lose to death someone beloved, to be unable to stop that death from coming. Then I felt frozen, though I was speeding through the night, and a scream rose in my throat because I am sure now, sure of all that He was saying. Not only that He understands, though that comforts, but that Dad will die of this.
It's what I dare not say, but I know it and hate knowing it. I sit by Dad, laughing with him, being teased by him, and know it. It's a terrible, hard word. But God spoke to me, and when God speaks, even if it's such a word as this, there's purpose in it...if I can only bear to listen.
Lord, please tell me something else. Not this. Please, anything but this. Just a little longer. Rationally I know that there will never be enough time, but I can't help asking for it because it's Dad and...it's Dad...and so I ask it.
And here I understand finally. Gethsemane. Praying in the garden. Knowing what lies ahead. "Please take this cup from me, take this cup from Dad." And yet, side by side with that bleeding, sweating depths of my soul plea, I whisper in the dark of this room, where he sleeps so close I can put my hand on his arm. Oh, I don't want to say it, but I must. I must. The core of obedience. "Not my will, but thine...be done."
My father died 4 days later. And just so you know--I wasn't ready. Even though God had whispered this, I was caught off guard, plunged into grief. But it didn't change the fact that God had spoken. And I still believe that there is a special gift given ANY time God speaks, no matter how hard the word. And fifteen years later I can look back at it with enough objectivity to be awed by the gift of His word to me. His teaching about death and Gethsemane in that car and Dad's hospital room a couple days later. So I keep a copy of this journal entry in my Bible to remember that He speaks. Not always what we want to hear, but what He wants us to learn. And that is His gift.