by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


CHAPTER 27

“Afflicted in Every Way, Yet Not Crushed”

Have you ever been bombarded with afflictions and trials coming at you from all directions?  Have you felt like you’ve got more than you can handle?  With Christ that is an impossibility, for He has promised to never give us more than we can bear.  We found that to be true in our lives.


From the Fall of ’98 to the Spring of ’99, Howie and I often felt perplexed and overwhelmed as we faced a series of trials, but we also sensed God’s hand directing and protecting us.
    Following his fourth brain surgery in August ’98, Howie was in agony with a toothache.  As soon as he got out of the hospital, we scheduled an appointment with his oral surgeon, who operated to clean out the infection under Howie’s lower right molar.  The pain from his toothache was worse than the pain from brain surgery, and he was very thankful to finally get relief.  Over the next four months, Howie went to physical therapy three times a week to strengthen his left side.  With the help of his therapist Elliot and the Lord, he regained enough strength to return to work full-time in January ’99.  By this time, Howie felt very good, not realizing that his battle with the brain tumor was far from over.
    While Howie was going through his own trials, I was facing a challenging time as well.  In September ’98, I discovered a very painful lump on my abdomen which was probably from a flea or spider bite.  A couple of days later, I ended up in the emergency room covered with hives.  The doctor on call gave me medicine, put me on a steroid, and told me to make an appointment to see a dermatologist.  I saw Dr. Green, who performed a skin biopsy and gave me a prescription for allergy medication.  She told me there was no way to find out what caused my hives or how long they would last.  Little did I know I would be dealing with this condition for nearly two years!
    At the same time we were struggling, my parents were dealing with a traumatic time in their own lives.  They had served the Lord faithfully for many years on their youth ranch in southern California.  But due to a decade-long downturn in the economy, they were unable to keep up with expenses and their ministry ended up in great debt.  They prayed for the right buyer, and at just the right time God provided a buyer which enabled them to pay off the debt.  In October ’98, my parents prepared to move for the first time in 44 years from the ranch to a house.  Even though they had gone through a very difficult time, they were thankful for the Lord’s provision for them.
    I flew out from Long Island to California in October for a few days to help my parents prepare to move.  One morning while they were out, I felt a strange sensation as I was packing their living room.  I looked in the mirror and panicked as I saw hives all over me, including my face!
    I rushed outside and found my sister Judy and her husband Fred, who were also preparing for the move.  When I reached them, I was sobbing and could hardly talk, for the hives had also spread to my throat.  When Judy saw me, she immediately rushed me to the nearest emergency room.  When we walked in, the doctors assessed my condition and put me on IV’s right away.  When my mother got word, she rushed to the hospital.  By then, my hives were starting to clear up.  She called my father, and he contacted Howie in New York who went right to his knees in prayer.  Our email prayer loop was also activated and people all over the country prayed for me.  A couple of hours after I arrived at the hospital I was released, feeling much better.  The doctors gave me a prescription for anti-allergy medication and urged me to see an allergist back home.
    After returning to Long Island I made an appointment to see Dr. Korobow, an allergist who told me that I had suffered from anaphylactic shock in southern California because of an aspirin I had taken earlier in the day.  She told me that anaphylactic shock could cause death if left untreated.  She told me to never again take aspirin while suffering from chronic hives, for that could make my condition much worse.  I learned a lesson I will never forget and was thankful that my sister came to my aid and the Lord preserved my life that October day.
    Our trials were not over.  At prayer meeting one January night in ’99, Howie suffered a powerful seizure without any warning.  I held him the whole time, praying fervently.  Afterwards, Howie felt bad about disrupting the prayer meeting, but our church friends felt great concern and prayed for him.  Within a half-hour after the seizure, Howie was able to walk again and felt much better.  We thought this seizure was an unusual occurrence not realizing that Howie would be suffering through more of them during the next couple of months.
    We needed times of R and R (rest and relaxation) following these times of trial.  With financial gifts we received from family, we took the opportunity to visit my parents over Christmas in their new home.  We also visited my aunt and uncle in Florida for a week in February ’99.  The Lord knew we needed these breaks between the trials we had gone through and the greater ones yet to come.  His timing is always perfect!


God’s Word says, ”But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed: perplexed, but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4:7,8).  God never promised his followers a rose garden.  But He does promise to be with us, guiding and protecting and strengthening us every step of the way.  We can face hardships of all kinds with courage and confidence, knowing God is there for us, and He will never give us more than we can handle.

For Those Who Hurt

You may feel perplexed and overwhelmed by the afflictions bombarding you from all directions.  Keep in mind that the Lord knows what you’re facing and will never allow you to go through more than you can handle.  You may be afflicted, but you won’t be crushed as long as you put your trust in Him.  When you feel your burdens are too heavy, cast them on Him.  ”Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will strengthen your heart.  He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).


 


 

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Chapter 26: The Eye of the Storm Table of Contents Chapter 28: A Traumatic Week for Howie and the Nation