by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


Standing or Falling?

Have you ever felt like you are falling over a cliff, totally helpless and afraid?  I did after I heard the doctor’s pronouncement.  I cried, “Lord, I waited for the right man and now you may be taking him away.  Help us!”

We’d been married for two years when Howie’s doctor made an appointment for him to see a specialist in New York City.  The neurological problems he had since his accident in 1980 were getting worse.
    While we were sitting in his office, the specialist matter-of-factly dropped this bombshell on us: “The mass on Howie’s scan appears too large to be scar tissue.  It looks more like a brain tumor to me.”  As I heard this statement, I felt like I was falling over a cliff into a pit of fear and despair.  I panicked, thinking my husband had just been given a horrible death sentence.  I had never known anyone with a brain tumor and didn’t know what to expect.
    At the same time, Howie was surprisingly calm.  Even though he was also frightened, he didn’t panic for he had watched his friend Kevan face the same enemy with courage and grace.  He was now trusting the Lord to take care of him.
    The doctor arranged for Howie to have an MRl, CT Scan, and EEG.  These tests confirmed our worst fears – a brain tumor on Howie’s right side.  The doctors scheduled a needle biopsy at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to determine what type of tumor he had.
    Those weeks of tests in 1990 were like a blur to us, but God walked with us every step of the way, holding our hands.  Howie led me in prayer each day and helped me stand beside him on the firm foundation of our faith in Christ.  Jesus continued to be our Rock of strength as our hardships increased in the days ahead.

We go along from day to day, thinking our lives will remain fairly predictable, when all of a sudden we’re thrown a curve ball and we feel like we’re falling.  Everything changes, leaving us feeling disoriented, like being in a distant land, with no map to guide us.  It’s times like this we must call out: “Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1,2).

(song by Jeanne Tomlinson)

When fear grips my heart and my world falls apart,
I’ll go to the Rock that is higher than I.
When trials o’ertake me and sorrows surround me,
I’ll go to the Rock that is higher than I.

I’ll go to the Rock that is higher than I,
God’s grace and compassion shall be my supply.
God’s way is secure and His love will endure,
I’ll go to the Rock that is higher than I.

For Those Who Hurt

You may be feeling panic over an unforeseen calamity that is threatening to push you over the edge.  Rather than fall into the pit of despair, stand upon the Rock.  You need something solid to lean upon.  Say with the psalmist David, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).  The Lord has promised to be there for you as your security and place of rest if you trust in Him.  He will hold you up and sustain you, no matter what happens.  He is able, for He alone is God!



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Chapter 5: A Solid Foundation for Marriage Table of Contents Chapter 7: Navigating Life’s Twists and Turns