I was married to my best friend for forty-four years, four months, and six days, and I am grateful for every second of it. None of us ever expected John to leave us so soon, and we surely weren’t prepared for it. But Jesus always has a way of helping us through storms in our lives. He is always there to guide us. If we never had trials, we would never know of His great mercy and grace to bring us through!
My husband fought hypertension since he was in his forties, but it never kept him from preaching the good news of Jesus all over the world. He preached even when he didn’t feel like it!
One time we were in a conference, and in the middle of the night John woke up feeling extremely dizzy. The next morning he asked two men to escort him up onto the platform just in case, and he sat on a stool to preach.
On a morning in 1987, John was scheduled for a CT angiogram. He got up early, went into the den, grabbed a globe we kept in there, held it to his chest, and prayed over it. He prayed, “God, I have so much more to do for You.” He was always thinking of the nations and the unreached masses. That very morning they performed an emergency bypass surgery.
Still, he traveled overseas many times after that surgery, conquering anything that faced him. In fact, one of the last things he did was travel to India. He washed the feet of some of his missionary friends and invested money into those he knew could effectively evangelize the world. He was that kind of man. When God gave him an assignment, he always did it and did it well. I admired him tremendously.
Over the years, God spared John’s life several times, but from that first bypass surgery on, his condition slowly worsened, his blood pressure remained elevated, and eventually his kidneys stopped functioning normally, so he began dialysis in 1998, three months before his death.
I know people could tell that my husband was sick because he looked it. You could see the fatigue in his eyes. But when I told him that we needed to tell the church about his starting dialysis, he was hesitant because he was a little embarrassed. It took a little bit of convincing, but he finally agreed. So one afternoon we called a staff meeting in our conference room in our former Lakewood administration building.
When the time came for my husband to speak to the people, he didn’t want to go. Instead he asked me to deliver the news to them. I didn’t want to either, but I wanted to help my husband feel at ease. So I went out and told the people about his condition and about his plans to begin dialysis treatment. The people’s response was unexpected but absolutely beautiful. After a moment of suspended silence, a loud eruption of applause broke out. Finally, I was able to persuade him to come out and sit on a stool. Some of us got down and rubbed his swollen feet. It was a touching moment that I will cherish in my heart forever.
You know, that is the picture I believe God has in His heart for His church. He wants us to be a family – a group of people who will stand by you through your darkest times as well as your best times. He wants it to be a people who will “rub your feet,” so to speak, when you get tired and feel that you can’t go on, so that you can stand up again and jump back into the race that God has for you.
Watch Dodie Osteen this Monday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt of If My Heart Could Talk by Dodie Osteen. Copyright ©2016 by Dodie Osteen. Reprinted by permission of FaithWords/Hachette Book Group. All rights reserved.