Today was a pretty good day for Lea. We didn’t make any real forward progress today, but we didn’t take any steps back either. All in all she remained pretty stable. The medical team wasn’t willing to do much for fear that the results of anything they tried could just as easily turn out badly as produce favorable results. So, we maintained status quo throughout the day. The only change planned for tonight is the introduction of some plain water into her stomach to see if her intestines are able to absorb it.

Meanwhile, she remains on the rotating bed, and I get a pretty good workout trying to talk to her. J I “showed” her some home videos today, including an October 2003 tour of our home, the Asher Walton House, she did for the local cable television station. The program is all about our beautiful home and the history as best we know it back to its construction in 1868. It was great fun living there, and we adored the lifestyle we were able to share.

I was thinking about that lifestyle and how the next chapter of our lives will be different. I was wondering what the next steps might be, knowing that she will probably want to go back to work as soon as she can. She has a wonderful family of friends and co-workers at the company where she has worked for nineteen years, and I am certain she will want to return. But, I also know that she is going to have several months of rehabilitation. Much of the time she will have to be in a wheelchair.

As I thought about those things, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead, I also thought about a question someone asked in a conversation earlier this week, relating to why good people have to suffer. It reminded me of a reader’s submitted question I read in a recent publication. It was something like: “If God’s will is always going to be done according to an infallible and unchangeable plan, why do His believers ray for mercy when someone special to them gets sick?”

I’m no theologian, and I’m probably going to get in way over my head, but I’d like to share with you some of the things that came to mind as I considered why a person as sweet, loving and giving as Lea is would have to go through something like this illness she is suffering through.

Perhaps a part of the Master Plan is for people like Lea, who have positively affected so many people, to become so ill that those who love her ask others they know to pray for her recovery, and it is the people who pray for her, and ask others to do the same, who really do the Lord’s work is achieving some small piece of the Master Plan.

Perhaps it isn’t the prayers that change the will of God. Perhaps it is the power of faith observed by other weak believers, or non-believers, that bring others closer to God that is the real power of prayer. Perhaps it always was God’s will that she survive. Perhaps His plan is to bring her home to receive her reward. That Master Plan isn’t going to be changed. But, what will be changed, because of her “ministry,” the hearts she has touched over the years, the affection she has earned from others, will help many others.

I receive notes from many who read these updates that the situation Lea and I are going through has caused them to pause to reflect on their own marital situation, and they are working on improving that relationship, starting by saying those things that need to be said between life partners. Many have stated that they have had their eyes opened to the miracles God works in our everyday lives. Others talk about being moved closer to God. Maybe that is the real power of prayer.

I don’t know whether Lea will survive, but I know that God’s will is being served. I know that I have witnessed the power of prayer a number of times during Lea’s ordeal. The doctors and nurses are very much aware of the love and affection directed toward Lea. The nurses listen with affection as I read your cards and emails to her. The doctors have said many times that they have marveled at the healing that has been done.And, they have seen me pray at Lea’s bedside, my forehead touching hers, my hand resting gently on some part of her arm that doesn’t have a needle stuck into it.

They have seen her room decorated with the loving gifts sent to her, the bulletin boards covered with greetings and well wishes. Often one of the nurses assigned to another patient, will stop in Lea’s room just to touch her arm for a moment and tell her that she is doing real well.

She is touching hearts. The love and devotion that surrounds her is touching souls. Perhaps this is what her illness is all about . . . letting others see what the power of prayer is all about. I know that I have been moved many times by the sheer number of wonderful people who have sent notes of encouragement and love. I feel privileged to have had her in my life, just as you have.

For those of you who haven’t known her, only meeting her through these updates, you may have received these updates through someone who loves you enough to share them with you. If so, you have experienced the power of Christian love and compassion.

I, for one, an humbled by this experience, and am awed by the power of prayer and the willingness of folks like yourself who have joined the prayer battle for healing. Those prayers, I think, must surely be the most powerful prayers, because they come from people who don’t even know Lea, but are often offered up because of the love felt for that person for whom they are praying. That is selfless. That is Christian love.

My prayers, on the other hand, are filled with bias. I can’t pray for her on a purely spiritual level, because I want her to be delivered from this illness for my benefit. I don’t want to lose her. But, whether I get to have her back or not, I know that I will love her forever. And, I will thank God for having made her a part of my life.

May God bless you, and richly reward you for lifting Lea up to Him for His healing.