Trust in God while navigating the storm

Recently, we were stunned by the news that one of our dear friends, Naomi Fields, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We were understandably shocked and saddened by the sudden turn of events in this otherwise healthy lady. Knowing her to be both a person of faith and mature enough to face reality, Naomi shared her condition in the gracious manner for which she is known. She would use wisdom to seek the best possible treatment available, while understanding the gravity of the crisis she faced.

She spoke of the sovereignty of God in her life. She had tried to be a good steward of her health, but this discovery was beyond her control. Therefore, her faith in God gave her an assurance that He was in control of these events, and she would trust Him for the spiritual and physical resources to face the health challenge ahead. She has experienced so much inner peace and believes this new crisis in her life will be another display of God's grace.

I have known this lovely lady since we both were children. In fact, my father performed the wedding ceremony for her parents, Elbert and Lucille Fretweil. I also was a childhood friend to her husband, Larry. This is not Naomi's first crisis, but you would never know it by meeting her because she has always borne her burdens with dignity.

Her husband, Larry, battled diabetes from the onset of their marriage, and Naomi was his support, encouragement, and caregiver for 36 years. Together they rode the roller-coaster of health and economics, bonded together by a mutual love for God and each other. Larry's income plummeted when his health no longer allowed him to continue as a business executive, but Naomi went to work for Boise State University to pick up the slack. Their two beautiful daughters can testify to the tenacity and faithfulness of this couple to each other. Even though this couple lived with Larry's ongoing health problems, they always had time for family and friends. They were so socially positive and fun that a stranger would not know of their private struggles.

As Larry was losing his battle with diabetes, his thoughts were always about Naomi's welfare after he was gone. When we laid Larry to rest in March 2002, Naomi was distraught. In the absence of the love of her life, her role as caregiver had temporarily ended, and she needed to regroup. True to the nobility of her character, she has spent the last 13 years as a positive contributor of those around her. including being a major support for her widowed mother.

Facing the challenges of the past, Naomi has learned to trust her Savior in whom she has placed her complete trust. She would not have navigated the storm of the past without him, so now facing this sudden, life threateing crisis, she is doing the same. Faith is going as far as her knowledge and ability will allow, and when she gets to the end of her strength, trust will cause her to look up to the One who has always been her help. In spite of the dire diagnosis, she believes God is capable of performing miracles. But her faith does not demand health and healing. She has "eternal life," which will continue far beyond her earthly journey.

So, Naomi, when your treatments make you so sick and weak, and you cannot sleep at night, try to make your way to your piano where you have loved to play and worship. Play and sing some of your favorite hymns that have strengthened your faith. Your audience is bigger than your living room. Your friends are singing along with you! And somewhere, in the unseen world, Larry is smiling and finally singing on tune! And he's not weighed down by a shoulder bag with dialysis equipment.

But the greatest applause of all is rendered by hands which bear the nail-scars that secured your victory! In the quietness that follows, listen closely and you will hear the Savior whisper, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you. Because I live, you can face tomorrow!" No wonder there is such peace.