We are sincerely grateful to God for His blessings, help, and direction. God leads and guides His children in magnificent ways. Often the ways of God are hidden from us, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).
Giving thanks on good days is not difficult, although people often forget to give thanks when things are going well. But giving thanks in difficult times truly requires grace.
God’s intentions for us are always for the good of our souls and our lives.
The Bible verse my wife and I chose for our marriage is: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). For many years, we have experienced over and over again that God leads all things well.
In 2012, we were expecting our second son. In the beginning, the pregnancy was uncomplicated and seemingly without risk. However, due to an infection, the baby had to be induced prematurely, and our child was born more than 3 months early. In addition to the facts that such an underdeveloped, premature baby is not able to breathe, maintain its body temperature, or consume milk on its own, additional complications such as two brain hemorrhages, blood poisoning, and other difficulties appeared shortly after birth. As a result, it was impossible to foresee what the outcome would be. The doctors could not say whether our child would survive the first few weeks, whether he would have disabilities, or whether he would grow up to be a healthy child. This was the beginning of a long period of uncertainty for us.
But God in His wisdom gave us a word of comfort from Psalm 46:10 in the first few hours after our child was born: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
From that time on, this Bible passage gave us such peace, strength, and confidence knowing that we could just let go and give everything to God. Right from the first days, we consciously thanked God for allowing this to happen, because we were aware that God does not make mistakes. We were able to completely surrender our child and the outcome of this situation to God. We firmly trusted that if God allowed something like this to happen, He must have a plan for us.
Through this verse, the Lord gave us a quiet and grateful heart through the years of our child’s development. We were allowed to see God leading us step by step, and He has done all things well.
We also experienced special encouragement through the many prayers of the brothers and sisters who supported us from the very beginning. We felt that God’s hand carried us through this valley. It was definitely a difficult time in our lives, but we would not have wanted to miss it and all that we experienced during this time.
Today we can say: God has given us a perfectly healthy and bright child. We can only say again and again: “God has done all things well!”
After that, the good Lord let us sail through calm waters for several years, where we could simply be thankful for the grace that God had shown us.
However, in September 2021, a new trial awaited us. I was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. After some initial examinations, it became clear that this was a serious situation. An emergency operation had to be performed immediately. The subsequent diagnosis was made with a fair degree of certainty: advanced stage colorectal cancer. This diagnosis was completely unexpected and shook us deeply to the core.
How good it is to have a God to whom we can look up to. It is He that gives us new courage in such situations.
Especially in the first days after my diagnosis, I received new courage, joy, and gratitude in my heart by singing the songs of praise and thanksgiving.
Apparently, I gave my doctors the impression that I was not fully aware of the implications of my diagnosis. The doctor who first treated me never tired of mentioning what a serious situation I was in, how terrible the initial situation was, and that the doctors entered my room with their heads down.
I was in truth well aware of the seriousness of the situation, but God helped me remain confident and hopeful.
Initially, a treatment plan was set up in this hospital that, in retrospect, could not have even been carried through at all. Therefore, God in His wisdom led in such a way that the treatments and the necessary therapies were continued in another hospital. In this we also see God’s guidance and are sincerely grateful for it.
In the following months, there also were moments and situations that depleted our courage and hope. One doctor’s statement said that from a medical standpoint, they saw no way that I could ever be cancer-free. That seemed to pull the rug out from under my feet. But even in that moment, the Lord was near and strengthened me with the 5th verse from Psalm 139: “You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.”
I have been undergoing chemotherapy since last October, and, according to the doctors’ plans, it will continue until the fall. So far I have tolerated the therapies very well and feel fine. I have no pain and can spend a lot of time with my family. Thanks be to God for that as well!
Through this illness, God has given me many opportunities to testify to others in the hospital of God’s help. I share with them how He blesses me and that I find my support and strength in Him.
Also during this time, it is encouraging to know that brothers and sisters from many congregations have prayed for us and continue to do so. We greatly appreciate this support and ask God to richly reward this service.
We do not know what developments the future will bring. But we do know that God holds everything in His hand. He makes no mistakes, and He will do all things well!