JULY 20, 2018


Dear Church,

“Dear God, we love you.  We love Miss Lynn.  Please heal her so she can get out of the hospital.  And like my Dad said, he isn’t doing her funeral for a really, really, really long time.  Amen.”

That was the prayer Willem prayed for Lynn Hoeksema this past Monday in Room 811 in the ICU at Northwestern Hospital.  The three of us held hands and Lynn prayed first. She prayed fervently that she would have peace and that God would be with her to fend off the Evil One.  Then Will prayed, borrowing a joking comment I made to Lynn about not officiating her funeral for another twenty to twenty-five years.  Then I prayed.  I asked God to strengthen this fatigued woman’s soul and give her enough strength, enough faith, enough patience and enough peace for Monday.

On Monday, June 18, Lynn went into the hospital for what was supposed to be a rather routine three-hour surgery, followed up by a three-hour recovery and a discharge from the hospital to complete her recovery at home.  Everything seemed normal, I spoke with Lynn on the phone and the plan was to visit her at home later that afternoon.  I even got a text from her husband, Clair, that the surgery lasted less than two hours and she was already in the recovery room.

That was nearly five weeks ago and in that five weeks, Lynn has had nearly a handful of stints in the ICU, an exploratory surgery, a procedure to fix what went wrong in the first place and hasn’t eaten anything solid.  The latest news is that she will more than likely need another surgery, but her body is just too weak and her insides just too swollen to handle another surgery.  So, the plan is to get her home to get her strength back, in order that she can have that additional surgery at a later date.

 I’ve visited Lynn more times than I’d like to remember.  I know I’ve made the drive to NW a lot when the valet parking attendant knows me by name. I’ve seen her upbeat and I’ve seen her down in the dumps.  I’ve seen her perky and I’ve seen her weary.  I’ve seen her looking forward to heading to Florida and I’ve seen her wanting me to plan her funeral.  Through it all, Clair remains steadfast by her side and a battalion of believers from Colorado to Florida to Indiana to Illinois are all praying fervently for Lynn.

Without a doubt, she finds herself on the roundabout journey through the wilderness.  Last week I preached about the roundabout way God led the Israelites to the promise land. A few thousand miles out of the way, (some scholars even suggested going in circles), while all the while being led by the presence of God in the pillar of clouds by day and the pillar of fire by night.  My guess is that you know the roundabout journey as well.  The time when God felt distant, when prayer seemed dry, when worship seemed routine, when nothing made sense, and when it was one step forward and two steps back.  It’s not always fair.  It’s certainly not always pleasant.

Still, it is in those roundabout journeys where so often we grow the most – spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  And while there may not be a divine reason for every one of these roundabouts we experience in life, the everlasting truth is that no matter how long or how far out of the way, our God will never leave us.  Just like the pillar of clouds and the pillar of fire never left the Israelites, our God will never leave us, and our God will never leave Lynn.  Truth be told, sometimes, that’s just enough.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt