It was seven years ago when I was baptized and made Jesus Lord of my life. As I came out of the water, I felt anticipation for all God had in store for me.
Since getting baptized, my life has been filled with twists and turns, including persecution from my Hindu family, a marriage to a disciple and then an unexpected death. Through it all, God has been by my side helping me, comforting me and working all things out for my good as promised in Romans8:28.
I was an older single when I got baptized. I always wanted to get married. I felt once I was baptized, that God would bring the right person into my life.
I eventually met a brother, Jeff, who was from another Midwestern church. He had been a disciple for over 20 years and had raised his three children in the church as a single father. We met through mutual friends and got to know each other over several months via email. We met in person for the first time at a Reach conference, where Jeff asked me on a date. Later that summer, I visited Jeff in Omaha. Over time, we realized that our friendship was very special, and Jeff asked me to be his girlfriend. Shortly thereafter, I got a job in Omaha so Jeff and I could continue to build our relationship. We enjoyed being able to date and see each other while being part of the church. One Sunday, several months after I moved to Omaha, Jeff proposed to me in front of the whole church, and we wed Oct. 17, 2017.
My marriage to Jeff was wonderful and I enjoyed my new role as a wife. A few months into our marriage, he began to complain of stomach pain, but we didn’t think it was anything serious. After a few more months passed, however, his stomach issues became more intense. Jeff told me he went to the doctor, but his blood test results were normal. In the summer of 2018, he experienced more pain.
Jeff was the kind of man didn’t want his loved ones to worry about him, so he didn’t say much about his pain other than occasional stomach pains. By the beginning of August, I had to take Jeff to the emergency room. The doctor was very concerned about the blood work results and told Jeff to remain in the hospital for further testing, but Jeff felt that he was able to go back home.
The next week, our minister had to pick up Jeff from home and take him back to the ER. When I got off work and reached the hospital, I was given dreaded news no one wants to hear: the biopsy results reflected that Jeff had an aggressive type of cancer, which had spread to many of his organs, but the doctors didn’t know where the cancer originated from.
I never expected to hear that my husband had cancer after being married to him a mere 10 months. I was not prepared for what happened next. Exactly a week after receiving his diagnosis, Jeff died.
Before Jeff’s death, I thought I had figured God out. I thought obeying God and doing things the right way would prevent anything like this from happening to me. I thought God would bless Jeff and I with a long marriage together, but God thinks differently than we do.
The book of Romans says God wants to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. A wise woman told me, while Jeff was in the ICU room, that perhaps my mission was to help Jeff during his trial with cancer. Maybe she was right. During our marriage, I was able to encourage and comfort Jeff. A handful of people who had known Jeff before our marriage said they had never seen him happier than when he was with me. God knew that Jeff needed a wife to love and care for him.
Some scriptures that have helped me through my most recent trial include:
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. -Psalms 27:14
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. -Romans 8:18
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. -2 Timothy 4:7
As I look back at my life as a disciple, and as I was married to Jeff, I’m reassured that God will never leave us, and that He will be with us through everything. God has been with me through intense grief, and my brothers and sisters have also been by my side; praying for me, crying with me and comforting me. These days, I think more often about finishing the race ahead of me just as Jeff did, and I’m excited to see Jeff again in heaven.