'Our friends prayed. There was an immediate change. Our marriage was different'
Pete’s story | The frustration and surprises of waiting on God
“My wife and I were married in 1985. We shared the same values, vision and ideology. We’d both become Christians when we were very young. For the first 25 years we stayed close as we served together in churches and raised our family.”
“Then we started to grow apart. We were different in our approaches and opinions. She liked to travel overseas, whereas I preferred to holiday closer to home. She loved spending money, but I took a more frugal approach. She was full of passion and enthusiasm for many things, but I’m less excitable. We were occupying the same space at home, but it was purely perfunctory. We were largely doing our own thing and not really enjoying each other’s company.
“I was totally frustrated by it. Time and time again, we would try to work it out, but things wouldn’t change. I’d go to God and pray about it. And God would say to me, ‘You must stay – you’ve made your choice – continue to love her as your wife.’
“So I stayed. I kept trying to love her as best I could. I really wanted to honour God, and my wife. But it was difficult! Then one day, as I was praying, God said to me, ‘I’m about to do a new thing.’
“I didn’t know what he meant. Maybe it was related to the church we were attending, or the place we lived.
“But then, not long after that, my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was so confronting, and life became even more difficult. I knew that I had to be there for her. The thoughts of frustration diminished. She needed me. We stopped arguing so much. We talked more, but we still weren’t really close, or intimate.
“Having prayed so many times about our situation, one day, seemingly randomly, I watched a video on spiritual healing and release. The next video that automatically rolled on dealt with a particular spiritual stronghold, born out of rejection and fear. The Holy Spirit awakened me to a reality that I had somehow missed in my wife’s family line. When she saw the video, she acknowledged it too. She asked for prayer to deal with it, and close friends came and prayed with us. There was an immediate change. Our marriage was different. There was an intimacy between us again. She said she loved me! We again shared together on a deeper level. It felt like we were restored and healed. It was what I had been craving for so long!
“But then, just two weeks later, she passed away. It was so very quick at the end. Radiation treatment caused a hole in her stomach and the resulting infection ended her life in just 72 hours. A few days beforehand, we’d sat in the lounge chair together and cried as she said she just can’t do this [cancer journey] anymore. She was in so much distress, both physically and mentally, whereas she’d been so positive until that point. I cried out to Jesus and said, ‘I can’t see how this ends well! If you won’t heal her, then please take her home quickly.’
“She knew that God was her strength and her hope, in everything. So that’s what God did. In his mercy, he enabled her to say goodbye to us in the hospital, with the benefit of highly effective pain relief. On the Friday, our children and I spent precious time with her. On the Saturday, she was able to see many of her close friends … and she reconciled with her mother in those moments. It was amazing. It was the grace of God! Then she passed away at 3am on Sunday. She went to be with her Lord, spiritually healed.
“I wished we’d had more time together. It showed me how precious our relationships are. We undervalue them. We get caught up in the day-to-day and it gets in the way of loving. But God holds us. And when a situation becomes critical, he carries us. He hears our prayers and he understands. It says in Ephesians 6 that we are to pray, and to put on the full armour of God. ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ (verses 10-12).
“These days, I want to say to people … Make the most of the time you have, with the people you love. Pray. Trust God. Our days are precarious … so love each other deeply, while you can.”