2023 Graduation Magazine

Page 58 CLASS OF 2023 LINCOLN DAILY NEWS.COM MAY / JUNE 2023 But even that second apostasy with its recommitment was not the end of my spiritual journey. So, I need to ask you right now: how is your own spiritual journey going so far? Have you seriously wrestled with intellectual doubts, painful family relationships,your own intellectual arrogance, irreconcilable church relationships, or some hidden kind of unrelenting temptation? That is why my signature states that “life here is so precious.” Your life also is infinitely precious even beyond the grave! And yet, have you yourself ever experienced traumatic crises--physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—that may have even tempted to consider suicide? If only you and I would never forget that immense gratitude for life and for love! To whom do you give that ultimate “thank you” to? III. Totally unexpectedly, my third apostacy started in 2019. I had been doing wellintentioned devotions and I had worked hard in many church efforts. Graduates, please hear this, I was not secure in my faith simply because I had started a successful college-age Sunday School at our church. Or because I had worked for two years in our Alpha outreach program to the community. Or because I had preached four times each Sunday morning for five years at Lincoln Christian Church. All the while I had been teaching full-time at LCU but even that did not prevent me from eventually denying the Lord’s name a third time! But Rom 8:28 promises you and me that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”Something enormous happened in my life! Early in 2020, Marie was diagnosed with the worst kind of ALS. Bulbar ALS is that form of Lou Gehrig’s disease that does not start at the bottom with the feet and legs, but at the top. It starts with slurring speech, soon making swallowing impossible, and finally suffocating the patient in saliva and weakened lung muscles. Being Marie’s sole caregiver for the 22 months of her dying, I fed her by stomach tube four times each day. I made it possible for her to suction off the saliva that she could no longer swallow. Each night as I tucked her into bed, I told her what a privilege it was for me to serve her. I almost daily bathed her from head to toe. It was one of those times when I was washing Marie’s feet that I recalled the statue that stood for many years in front of this chapel. It shows Jesus washing Peter’s feet as told in John 13. And I couldn’t help but wonder: who would invent a story like that--of a divine being, the Son of God, picking up a towel and washing our feet? Finally, my head and my heart began to connect, both reaching out to each other! At this time, Marie’s health demanded my constant attention. Because she had fallen several times, I felt I needed to empty my home office of all books since they were calling to me to be read. But my mind had no time to master those books because my heart was committed to serving Marie. So, I took all