Accepting the Plan

Accepting the Plan

By Gloria M. Cruz

The last year of my husband Pedro’s life stretched my faith to the limit. Pedro had known for several years that he had cancer, and by this time he was beyond medical help. Every day was increasingly difficult, but every day he held onto God’s Word for strength and trusted Him. Even as his body grew weaker, his spirit grew stronger and stronger. Pedro rose to the challenge–the “good fight of faith,” as the Bible calls it (1 Timothy 6:12)–and Jesus rewarded him with the peace that surpasses human understanding (Philippians 4:7).

I wish I could say the same of me. I believed that God could heal Pedro if that was what He knew was best, and I prayed and waited for a miracle. As time went on and Pedro didn’t get better, I resisted the thought that perhaps it was the Lord’s time to take him home to Heaven. That was simply too difficult to face. Surely that wasn’t what God wanted for him either. After all, he was just 25 years old. I dearly loved Pedro and was afraid of being left alone. God was expecting too much of me.

I prayed desperately one night, trying to convince the Lord that He needed to heal Pedro for my sake as well as Pedro’s. “If You take him now, I’m not going to be able to make it,” I insisted. “I’m going to give up! I’m going to stop believing in You.”

The reply came in the form of this Bible verse: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

The Lord didn’t answer that prayer the way I wanted Him to, but He did answer our many prayers to ease Pedro’s suffering, and thereby showed us His love and power until the end.

Finally I surrendered. I told God that my life was His. He could do whatever He wanted with me. Whatever His plan was, I would try to follow Him.

I had tried to prepare myself for Pedro’s death, but when it happened, I was devastated! Life became a moment-by-moment struggle until I turned to God’s Word for the strength and grace I so desperately needed. Reading the Bible and other inspirational material became my one sure source of comfort. The pain returned whenever I stopped reading, but as long as I was focused on the Word, I felt the Lord’s loving presence in a way that was beautiful and alive. I couldn’t overcome the pain by my own will or effort. It was all Jesus and nothing of myself.

Something I read in one of my devotional books stuck with me: “If, instead of trying to trust we will press closer to the Comforter and lean our weary head upon His sufficient grace, trust will come without our trying and the promised perfect peace will calm every troubled wave of sorrow.”

This was fulfilled in my life as soon as I recognized that every good thing that had happened in my life was thanks to the love, mercy, and grace of God. Now He wanted to use Pedro’s passing to re-create me–not into what I wanted to be or thought I should be, but what I needed to be.

Finally I surrendered. God had simply brought home a life that had always belonged to Him. I could be thankful for the wonderful years He gave us together, and also for the way Pedro had passed peacefully on to his eternal home, where he is with Jesus and there is no more pain or death. I told God that my life, too, was His. He could do whatever He wanted with me. Whatever His plan was, I would try to follow Him.

Pedro’s victory was in the way he trusted God and lived his faith until the very end. Even though everything seemed to go contrary to what we prayed for and expected, Pedro stayed faithful to the end. My victory came in first accepting the Lord’s plan, and then accepting His love and comfort through my tears. Once I did, I grew closer to Jesus than ever before. In both cases, it was faith that withstood and overcame the pain. “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4 NIV).

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