Lenten Reflection, Sunday, February 25, 2018
By: Bruce Keeney
Lent allows us to focus on how we relate to Jesus. This is difficult since we cannot touch or see Jesus. Perhaps for this reason, doubts will surface.
Our daughter, at a young age, was diagnosed with leukemia. Lunch time was spent praying at a church near work. Healing power of prayer strengthened my faith. Yet, when the cancer returned, questions surfaced as to how and why a loving Jesus would take our child. Prayer continued, perhaps out of desperation and nowhere else to turn. Faith was restored when, after a bone marrow transplant, the cancer disappeared.
Doubt returned when a brain tumor surfaced, probably the result of the leukemia treatment. And again the need to see Jesus in the flesh so I could beg Him to heal our Caroline. And then another miracle, a new drug, bringing her time to grow into a beautiful young woman. Then again, the tumor returned, but this time the doubt did not. Prayers and faith brought us closer. Her last year of life, at Bridgewater College, was her happiest.
I did not give up on Jesus when I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. It was faith that gave me strength as the disease progressed. Thus, I was able to hold my first grandchild and enjoy the wedding of Caroline’s twin brother. Most important, this was a time where I truly learned how much I love my wife.
So what do these life experiences have to do “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14 )? When we face troubled times, it’s understandable that doubts in our faith surface. It’d be so easier if we could talk with Jesus in the flesh, asking Him questions we need answered. But we learn, He is present through Word.
Almost 5 years ago, I was rushed to the Emergency Room and then flown by helicopter for a lung transplant. Donor lungs became available as I was being loaded into the helicopter. While at the ER and later at UVA Hospital, they say I died at least twice. Many have asked “if I saw a light.” No light for me! But I distinctly remember hearing Caroline’s voice saying “don’t worry daddy, I talked with Him and it’s not your time.” I now know that our Caroline is with Him. It’s His Word.