'I can’t explain it to you, except that it’s burnt into my soul'
Kathy’s story | When ‘God is’ is enough
“It feels like the sufficiency of God is burnt into my soul.”
“I married my husband, Pete, in 1978. We met at Sunday school and we grew up together. We were kindred spirits. We were different, of course, but the core things were the same. Pete trained for the ministry in his thirties and then he pastored churches and he was involved in counselling and training. I worked in education and I enabled him in his ministry.
“Pete always saw himself as the wounded healer. He went into churches that were broken and he just loved them. He was so aware of his own weaknesses and vulnerabilities … and he had a beautiful capacity to accept a person exactly as they were, without judgement.
“In 2013, he began to have reflux. The doctors eventually said it was cancer of his oesophagus, stage 3. It started a whole world of things. He saw a surgeon. There was a possibility of being part of a clinical trial. He stayed in hospital for chemotherapy. They removed his oesophagus and two thirds of his stomach. He had more chemotherapy.
“By October, 2014, though, he had finished the chemo and he had a PET scan. It was clear! So, we went away, camping in the Warrumbungles, which was his favourite thing to do. The next month, he spoke at a church in Canberra. I don’t know how he did it. The pain had come back. He went back to hospital and stayed for four weeks. The cancer had metastasised into every part of his brain and body. They told us it was palliative care only.
“We took Pete home and he died five days later. But in those days at home, he wanted to see people. We had 50 people a day coming to the house. Two of my lovely friends stayed in the living room, trying to direct the flow. Our precious family – our son and daughter and I – were all there with him when he passed away, and it was very gentle. He was at peace.
“For me, though, the pain was intense. It still is, although it changes over time.
“But I’ve always been drawn to God calling himself ‘I am.’ In Exodus 3:14, when Moses asked God what his name was, God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ Perhaps it’s because our language is so inadequate to grasp the totality of who God is. He is who he is. He is God. He is enough. He is bigger than our brains can imagine.
“For me, I’m the sort of person who naturally thinks ten steps ahead. I’m always imagining probabilities and plans, without even realising I’m doing it. But for those 14 months, while Pete was ill, I let go of all that and I had to think ‘God is.’ And that was enough. It was astounding to rest in the deep, deep knowledge that our loving God, who is the God of all creation, simply IS.
“And while I may not understand many things, it doesn’t matter. I remember at the end of Pete’s funeral, thinking of the song, Now Unto Him. ‘Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling … and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.’
That’s what Jesus does. That’s what he’s doing in Pete, right now, and what he will do for all of us. God didn’t say to Pete, “Oh okay, he can come in, he’s done alright.” Pete was presented to God, faultless and with exceeding joy.
“And in everything, it’s the sufficiency of God that matters. I can’t explain it to you, except that it’s burnt into my soul. God is enough.”