A River Runs Through the Pain

The pain is intense, I don’t know how he bears it, but he does. It wrenches my heart in two, seeing him cringe and his body contort from the pain, but at the same time, I’m amazed by the grace God is giving him to walk this road with a heart of surrender and worship. Truly amazed.

In the midst of the pain, there is a river . . .

One of my favorite Psalms talks about a joy-giving river. The Psalm describes earth-shaking destruction and God-wrought devastation, while also presenting Him as being our refuge and source of protection. And in the middle of all the upheaval, that river runs through the passage as a source of stability and joy.

[box]God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. (Ps. 46:1–4)[/box]

We’ve taken a rest retreat at a river this week. We’re deeply grateful to the gracious hospitality of the Evans, for offering their beautiful cabin to us as a place of rest.

We’ve had a few “earth changing” moments, a few mountains quaking and dreams slipping into the heart of the sea . . . but we’re resting by the river whose streams “make glad.”

In a single day, we experienced several life-markers. LeRoy celebrated his fifty-eighth birthday with a future-shaking conversation from our family physician. He’s a kind, compassionate friend, and spent more than an hour with us that day, strongly urging LeRoy to apply for Medicare disability. He expressed concern for the enormous financial burden this illness will be for us. He seemed to be trying to prepare us for a much different future than what people normally expect at our age. Disability is something neither of us had ever considered and hearing that felt a bit like being hit by an earth tremor.

It is a little shocking to be presented with medical disability as a recommendation on your 58th birthday.

We also received a sweet gift that same day—our precious sixth grandchild entered the world, healthy and thriving. But she is more than a thousand miles away. We’re grateful for pictures, but we ache to hold this new gift from the Father. We long to be with our daughter and son-in-law, and their three little ones who are welcoming their new sister, covering her with “mooches” and hugs.

It was a hard day. It was a marker day. But it was a good day.

We ended the day by retreating to the river for a “transition” period. We’re taking a week to transition from what we knew before to prepare for this trek into the unknown. We’ll be returning to Dallas soon for informational meetings for patients with NMO and appointments with the neurologist that will be mapping out a medical plan for the future. But for this week, we’re sitting by a river. We’re seeking the Lord’s face, His direction, His instruction . . . and we’re receiving His comforting presence as He reminds us that He is here.

[box]God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted.

The LORD of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

(Ps. 46:4–7)[/box]

There’s no doubt that He is here. He’s reassured us of that in so many ways. He’s the God who has the power to merely raise His voice and cause the earth to melt. He is the One who is with us right now. Through the pain, through the foreign territory, through the unknown . . . He is here.

[box]There is a river, whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. (Ps. 46:4)[/box]

And yet, as we are receiving the gracious hospitality of a comfortable home to retreat by a river, we’re deeply burdened for the thousands, not too far from us, who are suffering the blows of life-altering devastation from the wind and water of hurricanes. You are in our prayers, we are asking God to meet with you in your suffering. We are asking Him to use these events to awaken an awareness of the need for all peoples to turn to Him. We are asking Him to draw the hurting to Himself, may all come to realize that:

[box]“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”[/box]

Thank you so much for your prayers and recommendations. As I’m sitting by this restful river, I’m researching suggestions you’ve made, reading up on nutritional diets and alternative medicines. Our girls are helping us with research, my daughter is passing on her high-nutrition recipes, and we’re making some healthy eating changes that are supposed to help with the healing process.

So grateful to each of you who are interceding and sending helpful information!

We are truly grateful.


  • Karen Swedberg

    We continue to pray that God give grace for you to continue. Also, we pray for relief from the pain. Thank you for your example and sharing with us.

  • Tambra Lucas

    Bro. Leroy and Kim,I am constantly praying, I hate to see you guys go through this, it makes me so sad. But I know God will be glorified through it because of your unshakable trust and faith in Him. Bro Leroy’s joyful attitude gives so much hope to those who are suffering right now, as there are many I am sure that are listening to the testimony of what he has gone through, what he is going through and what he is going to go through. “The unknown” is probably the hardest for most people and fear can grip anyone.

    Only the Father can give comfort and assurance in times like these. Bro. Leroy has extreme pain and uncertainty of what the future brings as far as his health, but he knows his eternal future is pain-free and guaranteed! And he has a peace beyond what many know or understand and he stays the course continually worshiping the savior through the hardest times , forevermore.

    Reminds me of the worship song “Oceans” You called me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail, And there I find you in the mystery in oceans deep, My faith will stand.”
    Thank you Bro. Leroy and Kim for standing and trusting in His promises!
    Love you both! Tambra

  • N. Lang

    Thank you for sharing one of your deepest trials and pains with us, I am so encouraged by your faith and you have reminded me of how big our God is. I’m praying and asking God for healing and relief.

    Your Sister in Christ,

    N. Lang

  • Donna

    My continued prayers for you and LeRoy. Happy Birthday LeRoy! and Congrats on another grandchild. When I am at the lake or river I always feel closer to the Lord it has such a peaceful feeling about being there I hope you will feel that too.

    Love in Christ

  • Vicki Halford

    Kim. I’m vicki halford, a prayer partner of Nancy’s & long time friend of Life action. I met you yrs ago in LRock at a recording session Your posts have glorified the Lord even in the midst of such heartache for yall. They encourage us wherever we are in life. So thank you for sending them. I’ve just listened to LeRoy’s testimony & will be praying for yall & your sweet family & your church. I’m so thankful for all the Lord did in your marriage so the sweetness I sense you all
    Have for each can be displayed with even greater glory to the Lord!! What a blessing for you to now talk about your man & how you are serving Him. Maybe our paths will cross one day. If not on the other side. May Gods presence & the grace of Jesus be very real everyday, every doctors visit, & at very turn. May you declare His loving kindness every morning & His faithfulness every night! Blessings!