My night had been a restless one filled with fear and turmoil. The hours waltzed through the darkness around my room in slow motion. It was quite early; the sun hadn’t taken its first look at the island yet, and the geese were beginning to organize their flight pattern for the day. I could hear the ducks on the shore outside my window. I sat up and parted the blinds, finally admitting that I belonged with the creatures of this predawn rhapsody.
It certainly was a beautiful day. The sun peeked through a parakeet blue sky. I walked beside the ducks on the dirt road hugging the shoreline. They seemed attentive to my troubles, walking quietly ahead of me.
The cancer was strangling my strength. These days I would tire easily. And I was becoming unusually angry at the Lord. It was time for Him to give me an answer. I felt that He had forgotten why He allowed me to live all these years.
There was a night many years ago when I was gripped with fear and desperation. I deliberately went for a dangerous ride with my best friend ~ Johnny Walker Red.
Speeding over the Fore River Bridge in my old Chevy, I didn’t care about me or anyone. I just wanted out; drunk, and in misery of my own making. I began pounding on that old car radio, the one with the chrome buttons, looking for something, anything, to distract me from the noise in my head. Suddenly all of the buttons jammed, stuck on one station. I heard the voice of a slow-talking preacher, just like he was sitting beside me, telling me about Christ and the prostitute, and how the men dragged her to the city because they were going to stone her to death. Christ looked at them and said ‘he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone’. And then He looked at her and told her to sin no more. John 8:3-11
"Sin no more." Christ forgave me! He died on the cross for we who are dead in our sins and come to believe in Him. I had never heard of Christ as truly man, truly God, talking to his disciples, and I had never heard of forgiveness of sins, or eternal life if we believe in Him. I pulled over on the side of the bridge and sobbed like a child.
I will never forget that night.
I left the ducks to play in the water while I contemplated His reasons for allowing me to live that night, and yet allowing cancer to threaten my life now...
I said aloud, "Lord, You know my life has changed ~ I’ve changed! Why are You letting this happen to me?”
I struggled with this challenging theological question and asked the Lord to give me the answer: why do the righteous suffer? If You are just and loving, why did You permit a truly righteous man like Job to suffer?
For nearly two hours, I read through the entire book of Job. One of the most important tenets remains that the real foundation of faith is not in God’s blessings He has bestowed upon us, but, rather, in the revelation of God Himself to us. When we pray to Him humbly and honestly, talking to Him even in anger, He does reveal who He is ~ Almighty God Himself, merciful and loving.
It was through His grace, His merciful grace and lovingkindness, that He allowed me to live that night so long ago, and very many years following, not only here on earth, but also with Him eternally in Heaven.
He and He alone ordains our time to die... and our time to live.
© Angelina Lenahan
Excerpt from That Old Car Radio, initially published in 2007, revised.