Hope Recovers from Fear

My son is sick, and I am afraid.Caleb and Mom at Rachel's wedding

Because he is a cancer survivor (eight years, bless God!), when something happens that interrupts that heart relief of his healing – my soul fears.

Last week, he was disoriented. He couldn’t drive, couldn’t write his name, had trouble putting words together to make a sentence.

The honest prayer of Reverend G poured from me, “Oh God oh God oh God. I can’t stand it.”

We scheduled an appointment with the neurologist who ordered the usual lab work and then an MRI.

The night before the imaging test, I woke up every two and a half hours to check on Caleb – to tiptoe into his bedroom, touch his forehead, check his breathing.


Every two and a half hours – the same amount of time that he woke me up for feedings when he was a baby. Now, 29 years later, my mommy heart somehow answered an internal alarm to check on my grown child.


Every time I returned to bed, I fell to my knees to beg God, “Please! Will you take my last living child? You already have my first two babies. Please, please, save my son!”

My prayers became whimpers of pleading along with the recitations of verses to remind God of his promises:

“No weapon used against us will prosper. No weapon, God. Please.”

“God delivers us from all our fears. Deliver us, oh God.”

“Peace I leave with you. Peace I give unto you. Your beloved peace, I beg of you.”

Then the morning sky, the day of the MRI, that metal machine surrounding my son’s body, imprinting its pictures on the radiologic screen – answers that will bring relief or sorrow.

Oh God oh God oh God. I can’t stand it.

Then the waiting. They read the results. Fax them to the doctor. Contact my son. He texts me.

No tumor. No reoccurrence.

Oh God oh God oh God. I thank you.

But then a reminder of other mothers who will receive bad news this day. Some will not thank God but fall to their knees in grief, stand before a coffin and place flowers on a grave.

Oh God – deliver us from the ravages of death. Come, Lord Jesus.

We still have no answers for this attack on Caleb’s body. More doctors. More tests.

But in the process, hope revives. We will deal with whatever it is and thrust our fear-filled hearts toward the only One who knows the answers.

Hope still survives.

©2015 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G Books http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/1624/gallery/fiction/

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Grave Wanderings

My personal tradition calls for a visit to the cemetery during Easter weekend. Somehow, the credibility of the resurrection needs to meet with the mortality of my ancestors.cemetery

It is a Mennonite cemetery, on the same acre of land as the old hand-built church, crafted by men who wore beards and black hats. Many of those same carpenters and farmers now lie below the soil, that rich dirt that grows hard red winter wheat just an acre away.

My father’s shell lies under that soil. Yes, I know he is not really there. He lives in heaven, now joined by seven brothers and sisters, his parents and two of my children.

But it is his shell that I miss. The strum of his fingers on guitar strings, his baritone voice singing “Blessed Assurance,” even his bow-legged stroll through the pasture on frosty mornings.

This year, I kneel beside his grave and marvel at the passing of time. Has it really been nine years since we laid a bouquet of wheat and wildflowers on his coffin?

I caress his name and his dates, carved into the stone. May 11, 2004 – his death date and the ending that marked a heavenly beginning.

“Ah, Dad, I miss you so much. I need you to help me past this lonely place in my soul. I long to hear you pray for me once again and watch you find a verse for me in the leather Bible you held. I miss having my daddy in my life.”

Too many tears shed over this grave. I stand and walk through the cemetery. So much history in this resting place of my ancestors. So many untold stories which only the Alpha and the Omega know.

Names of Sunday School teachers and pastors, of twins who lived only one day – a tiny sheep engraved next to their names. Vets from the World Wars and Korea lying beside veterans of the faith.

A solitary grave near the wheat field. Another baby – this one died in 1930. But fresh flowers point heavenward against the aging stone. Who has been here to remember this child?

The creative writer in me longs to stay here and write make-believe stories about each grave, but I am due at the assisted living facility. It is time to visit my mother who still lives within the shadows of Alzheimers. Her ending and beginning dates not yet carved into the stone she will share with my father.

Spend time with the living while I can.

And rejoice that even in a visit to a cemetery, I hear a sermon. For each soul who lies in this consecrated plot of land now resides somewhere eternal.

Although I feel a palpable grief at the reading of each name, I know this is not the end. On this Easter weekend and every one to come, resurrection claims the final victory.