A Breath of Fresh Air
A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Acting Up
As I Imitate Christ
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Joy of Family
The Parents'
Survival Guide

The Rhythm of Life
The Treehouse
Through Their Eyes
'Tis the Season
We Are the Church
Well Read

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HeavenThen and Now
By Karen Treharne

It was dark in the hospital room. Whispered voices could be heard through the partially opened door, and a hazy ray of light filtered in as if to provide an escape route. Sarah’s breathing was rhythmic. The tube attached to her throat was regulating it, and the noise of the control device loomed louder with each pumping action it performed. Bradley found himself counting the beats one by one; first the contraction then the expansion.

"Oh Father," he prayed, "thank you again for keeping my Sarah alive. Please bring her back to me, Lord. I ask for your mercy again – as you once gave to me …"

Brad’s mind returned to that tragic night and God’s intervention and compassion. He wondered if the Lord would bless them a second time.

* * *

The sun rose cold and bleak that morning, promising another dismal day of wind and bitter temperatures, and a low bank of clouds on the horizon threatened an impending storm. The rain had crept in on silent feet but was now raging like a bull. The combined sounds of nature’s downpour proclaimed its power; the pounding rain on the roof of the car, the splattered muddy water propelled by tires racing through standing puddles, and the almost musical beat of defeated windshield wipers attempting to obliterate the tempest’s blinding force.

As he rounded the curve, his headlights captured a fleeting outline of something near the edge of the highway. Brad barely had time to think before he reacted. The car skidded to one side to avoid the perceived obstacle, and then spun around, veering off toward the embankment. He thought he heard a woman scream before the blackness engulfed him.

His next recollection was waking up at St. Joseph’s Hospital where he learned about the accident and his condition.

"Your leg was broken in two places and you suffered a concussion. There is a good prognosis for both. Unfortunately, we couldn’t save your left hand because of the extensive damage from the broken window." The doctor watched Brad’s face as he digested the report.

"You have a lot to be thankful for, though. You‘re lucky to be alive."

Bradley looked at the thick bandage wrap that now replaced what used to be his hand. Lucky? His head throbbed and the suspended leg felt heavy. He smiled weakly in response before closing his eyes in a drugged but welcome reprieve from the reality of his situation…

* * *

"Yes, God. You brought me through that fateful night and the months of recovery that followed. But it had nothing to do with luck; it was because of Your abiding grace, and I praise your holy name for showing me mercy. I could not have survived and healed – physically or spiritually – were it not for your love..."

Brad rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hand. "But please, Father, hear Your child as I lift my beloved Sarah to You. Rescue her from the darkness in which she is trapped."

He swallowed hard then added, "And Father – let it be Your will, not mine. In Jesus name, Amen."

He sat listening to his anger as it rose to the surface of his conscience. Nine days had passed with no sign that she would emerge from her coma. The hours passed agonizingly slow as Bradley prayed between tears of anguish; telling God; asking God; pleading with God. With an aching heart, he watched Sarah’s tranquil face and tenderly stroked her hand.

Sarah was a great mom and the utmost example of a faithful Christian wife who was always seeking the will of God. Why she had risked rescuing Jake’s kite from the oak tree was something he couldn’t fathom. She was afraid of heights. Only her love for their son could have compelled her to climb the ladder and scale those branches.

The disaster happened when she reached to grab the toy and missed. She lost her balance and then her footing, causing her to fall some twelve feet to the ground where she lay unconscious. When the 911-response crew arrived, they stabilized her neck before urgently whisking her away. She had sustained a head injury requiring surgery to remove the blood clot on her brain, and even though the operation appeared to have been a success, the outcome was uncertain. All they would tell him was that "She has a 50-50 chance."

Another day came and went, and still Bradley prayed and cried, prayed and grieved. He prayed in anger, asking for forgiveness; he prayed in love, asking for God’s restoration of his darling Sarah. The weather matched the feeling in his heart – biting cold. His unshaven face and the dark circles around his eyes stood witness to his agony. His mouth had a stale, sour taste, and he couldn’t remember the last time he had taken a shower or eaten.

"God forgive me, I’m at the end of my faith. Please strengthen my resolve and give me some encouragement that you have heard my plea. I cannot bear another day without her."

He laid his head on the bed beside her and drifted into an uneasy, shallow sleep. Suddenly he found himself awake. Had he imagined it? He gazed at their hands wondering if it had only been a dream. Then, although barely perceptible, Brad felt another flutter. He lifted his face to look at Sarah and was rewarded with the recognition he saw in his wife’s eyes. Her faint attempt at a smile was all the invitation he needed. In his excitement, he shouted for a nurse while placing wet kisses over Sarah’s face and neck.

He could barely breathe as he laughed through his tears and dropped to his knees giving joyful thanks to God for his unfathomable love – both then and now.
Karen Treharne understands God’s grace and mercy as He has revealed them to her many times. It is her desire, through her writing, to honor and praise Him for his undeserved love. You can write to Karen through the Letters page of this magazine.
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