Peace and Hope While in the Depth of Pain – John Stumbo’s Story
The theology one has about God makes all the difference in how one handles the pain of hard times. It is the person with faith, the person who sees God rightly, that can say in the most painful of times, “God is in it and God is good.”
I recently heard John Stumbo’s story. At that time he was the pastor of Salem Alliance Church in Salem, Oregon. At the beginning of the week of October 17, 2008, John thought he had the flu. By the end of the week that was far from the truth. Many months and 100 tests later, the doctors still don’t know why John’s body weakened to the point of death (several times). One of the medications produced delusions some fun, but many dark and eerie.
Overview of John’s Reactions to Pain (Illness)
- John described having a deep peace despite his desperate illness.
- The hope John had in seeing Jesus upon his death helped John get through the dark, delusional times.
- This deep sense of hope helped keep John sane.
- The prayers and encouragement (verbal as in calls and cards, practical as in money and meals) aided John in his journey during the dark times and now in his journey back to health.
- These events have been good for his spiritual journey, marriage and congregation. God has already begun to use it.
- After 100 tests the doctors still don’t know what was/is wrong with John. But God is still in it and God is good.
Quotes I especially liked
- I had my hand on death’s doorknob ready to push the door open but I had about 3000 of you pulling back on me not letting me in. I didn’t have a chance to get into heaven with all you people praying for me.
- I’m running a marathon I didn’t plan on running.
- I don’t really like the journey I’m on…but God is in it and God is good.
- Some of you don’t like the journey you’re on either right now. You’re in a tough spot . . . Economically hard times . . . Financially bad news . . . Relationally tough situations . . . Physically struggling. Please know according to Psalm 139, He is the God of the light and the darkness.
- God is in it and God is good.
When I’m going through a painful time in life, I listen more readily to people who have been through their own painful times. John has been through such a painful time. Yet he still clung, and clings, to the truth that God is in it and God is good. I love this example of perseverance and faith, this illustration of a man’s deep love and trust in God.
Many times life doesn’t make sense and in fact its not always a likable journey. But it is also a fact that we, Christians, don’t travel alone. God is with us. And often, often we are surrounded by a faithful group of people who cheer us on with their prayers and encouragement.
Let’s Talk About It. Where are you in this journey?
- Needing prayers and encouragement? Who will you contact for this? Will you do so today?
- Able to offer prayers and encouragement? Who has God laid on your heart to help? Will you do one thing today?
- Do you believe that God is in your painful journey and that God is good? Why or why not.
- Listen to the video. What are your reactions? Favorite quotes?