When Faithful Meets Faithless

Patty LaRoche

Barb, a precious friend, has been given a year to live.

“Brain tumor,” she was told. “Radiation and chemo will be administered simultaneously.”

We women who have come to know her through the Bible studies she led in her home, through her dedication to the church where we worship here in Mazatlán, are daily reading the postings of her loving husband, Wes.

They are reminders that we are to trust in God and no one else. I know Barb as a friend with whom I’ve shared lunches where we tell Grandma stories, where we are transparent when we are wounded and know that prayers will be offered on our behalf. She was the women’s leader who invited me to speak at their conference and who always encouraged me to use my gifts. I’m pretty sure she did that with everyone she met.

A few days ago, this was Wes’s morning post: “…As you can see, we are settling in for the battle of Barb’s life! This battle encompasses the tenuous “balance” of which I have written several times, the previously unknown challenges we are increasingly experiencing, the dealing with a plethora of drugs with their attendant effects and side effects, and the necessity of increasingly dealing with the ravages of the multiple maladies—surgery, brain tissue removal, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pulmonary thrombosis, and urinary infection, all-the-while taking particular care that she not be exposed to Covid. But, with God’s help, care and guidance, we are confident that ‘His ways are greater than our ways’ and that our future and our course is totally in His hands and that is exactly where we want to be!”

Today, Wes continued to bless others in the midst of some tough news that the chemo was discontinued because of his wife’s pulmonary embolism and a UTI, and her radiation was stopped for a week to allow her to gain some strength. “Even eating is tiring and exhausting to her! Giving this situation even a modicum of being tolerable is the incredible love, support and caring that we continue to receive from our Heavenly Father and our friends, family and even acquaintances. Another encouragement for both of us is the ability and opportunity to pray for others of whose needs we are blessed to share.”

Compare that to another Mazatlán friend, “Debra,” who also was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and given 18 months to live. Yesterday, I spoke with Suzanne, her daughter, who filled me in on all the details that led up to her surgery. Debra and her husband and two adult daughters are atheists, so when I offered to pray for their family and Suzanne said that I could, I was excited. Perhaps through this experience, I thought, they will reexamine their faithless position.

Our phone calls were disconnected three times, and after the last interruption, Suzanne sent me this text: “I guess the texting gods weren’t too keen on us talking.” Not exactly what I hoped for. Two friends of mine. Same age. One whose eternal destiny is secure. One desperately needing to turn to Jesus.

I will continue to pray for both women and their families, but I think we all would agree which of the two is in need of more urgent intercession. Please join me in praying that I might have the right words to share the same Hope on which Wes and Barb rely before it’s too late.

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