These Happy Golden Years
My father said something to me recently. Upon learning that he had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, he bitterly decried the latter half of his life as “golden.”
“Golden for the doctors, maybe,” he said. “Is this what I’ve worked and saved for? To have all of my money go to pay for doctors and tests?”
That question stung, and I have pondered it many times over the past few months. Yes, I do believe that part of his outburst sprang from the fear. I also believe that deep down, my father regrets the choices that led to his condition. But mostly, I think he just wishes he could have what we all yearn for—to spend our last years in peace and comfort, relaxing on some sunny beach.
Except…where do we get this image of the ideal retirement? What word or revelation has led us to believe that we are deserving, or I daresay, even entitled, to a peace-filled, pain-free end?
Now, before I go further, let me just say that I despise the fact that there is dread and disease and dying in the world. I HATE that my dad is sick, and I break down in tears just about every time I think about the possibility of a world without him in it.
Thankfully, I have the comfort of knowing I have a Heavenly Father who sees and understands my heartache. God does not delight in the afflictions of His people—quite the contrary. He is waiting for us to call upon Him, waiting to supply our every need, to soothe our every fear, calm our every doubt. He told us we would have trouble in this world…did we think those years after retirement wouldn’t count?
I think God wants to prove Himself able…not just in the big things of everyday life, but in the secret things. The fearsome things. The things we dare not voice.
I hate liver disease. But praise God and hallelujah…so does He! And I can pray peace and comfort for my father. I can lift him up in faith, believing that my God is able and eager to meet his needs. I can look to Jesus, who said we would have trouble in this world, but then also boldly proclaimed,
“But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
To this, I can only add…even so, Lord Jesus. Even so!
Elizabeth Ludwig is the bestselling author of Christmas Comes to Bethlehem, Maine and the highly successful Edge of Freedom series from Bethany House Publishers. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas.