Richard Exley Ministries


Does Steel Float
Posted on September 02, 2009

“For those who refuse to give up, who dare to see with both eyes, there’s something beyond the darkness, something beyond the pain and brokenness of our shattered world.”



Most people can overcome any adversity if they can be assured of three things. First, they must know that God cares. Then they must be convinced that He won’t forsake them. Finally, they have to know that God will redeem their situation. As rational creatures, the thought that a tragic accident or some other life-altering event might be pointless is simply unbearable. But if we are convinced that God will ultimately bring good out of what looks for all the world like a senseless tragedy, we can somehow bear it.
 
Do you remember the time Jesus and His disciples got caught in a terrible storm? Mark records it:  “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” (Mark 4:37,38).

“Don’t you care?”

Category: Grief

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Memories of Mother
Posted on December 28, 2008

As I turn my thoughts toward the past, the harsh realities of this hospital room seem to fade and an earlier, youthful version of my mother comes into focus…

It is the wee hours of the morning, but sleep won’t come, so I stare at the ceiling and listen to my mother’s labored breathing. How unnatural she looks, lying motionless in a hospital bed that seems to dwarf her slight body. In life she was a dynamo, constantly in motion, always doing, never one to be still. Now she is comatose.  According to the neurologist, the damage caused by the hemorrhage in her brain is irreversible, leaving her partially paralyzed, blind, and unable to speak. Without a miracle her death is imminent; probably sometime in the next few days.

Seeing she had five children, I cannot help wondering how many sleepless nights she spent nursing one or the other of us through a series of childhood illnesses and accidents. I know she sit up with me, in the hospital, after I suffered a brain concussion and a broken arm. All night long I continued to ask the same nonsensical questions – “Where am I?  What am I doing here? Why do I have this cast on my arm?" Not once did she grow impatient, although my concussed brain could not long retain the answers she so patiently gave me. In light of that, it seems only fair that I should be sitting with her now. It would be easier if she were conscious so we could talk. Unfortunately, her only response the past five days has been to lightly squeeze our hands. She hasn’t responded at all in more than twenty-four hours and the doctors don’t think she will.

Category: Grief

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Telling Daddy Goodbye
Posted on February 20, 2007

On Thursday afternoon, February 8, 2007, my father departed this world after suffering for several years with a heart condition and fibrosis of the lungs. His home going was peaceful, although the weeks preceding it were filled with considerable suffering. He bore it all with remarkable grace – the pain and choking, the inability to eat and the humiliation of not being able to care for himself. As the end drew near he became ever more affectionate, repeatedly kissing and hugging those of us who cared for him.

My sister turned the office in her home into a sick room and all of us chipped in to purchase a queen size adjustable bed so mother could continue to sleep with daddy.  As the end drew near the children and grandchildren and even the great grandchildren gathered at my sister’s home in Friendswood, Texas. Don and Mel flew in from Argentina, Bob and Anita came from Illinois, Brenda and I drove in from Arkansas and my father’s eighty-seven year old sister arrived from Colorado.

The last Sunday before his death we all crowded around his bed for worship. For the most part Dad seemed oblivious, but when it came time to receive communion he opened his eyes and reached for the cup and the bread. Kneeling beside his bed, I took his hand and began to quote John 14:2 & 3. As I quoted the familiar words, “In my Father's house are many mansions...” he moved his lips, soundlessly mouthing the words along with me. As we sang his favorite hymns he seemed to draw strength from them. Not strength to live but the strength to pass from this life to the next without fear.

Category: Grief

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