By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
During last week’s ice storm in Tennessee I took a step and suddenly was looking straight up after falling flat on my back on an ice-packed street. I was unhurt (except for my pride) but it was a not-so-gentle reminder that life does, indeed, have its ups and downs.
The week before, the Wilkey family welcomed Parker Andrew Beasley into the world. Parker is our second grandson, joining his brother Eli.
Some of you may remember that there were major complications with Eli’s birth two years ago. Eli spent nearly a month in neonatal intensive care but God worked a miracle and Eli is a bright, active 2-year-old who now has a little brother.
God blessed us without the drama surrounding Eli’s birth. Parker arrived safe and sound and both he and our daughter Joanna are doing well (along with Eli and son-in-law Matt).
Parker’s arrival is just another reminder of the miracle of birth. Sometimes we take the birth of a child for granted, but there are things that can and do happen on occasion. Just ask any parent who has lost a child at birth or has gone through a miscarriage.
But just as special as Parker’s birth was (a true up moment), I also was experiencing the opposite end of the spectrum.
Regular readers know that long-time Baptist and Reflector staff member Susie Edwards has not worked for nearly two years as she has been undergoing treatments for cancer. Susie has been an amazing trooper. Despite numerous rounds of chemotherapy and, most recently, radiation, Susie (and her husband Mark) have been incredible witnesses for their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Susie, through the way she has handled cancer, has positively impacted people for Christ. Instead of focusing on her own needs and hurts, she has been “Miss Sunshine” to other cancer patients as well as to friends and family.
But last week we received the news that Susie has been referred to Hospice. Treatments have taken their toll and Susie is very weak.
Susie Edwards has been a dear friend and co-worker and an ambassador for not only the B&R but for the Tennessee Baptist Convention as well. For 25-plus years Susie was the “voice” of the paper, the first voice people would hear when they called the office. Susie had an amazing rapport with callers. I think many who called found reasons to call again just so they could talk to their new “friend.”
I encourage B&R readers to continue to pray for God’s will to be done in Susie’s life and to pray for her and Mark, along with their children, Weslee and Nathan, and their grandchildren. Nothing is impossible with God.
I would also ask you to pray for a member of the B&R extended family. Colonel Hugh X. Lewis, whose “Ain’t It the Truth” and “Laughter is the Best Medicine” poems appear frequently in the paper, and his wife, Ann, lost their son, Geoff, last week.
Susie’s illness and Geoff’s unexpected death were the “down” moments for me personally this past week. None of us like to see our friends hurting. But, as I am always reminded, God is still on His throne and He is in control.
We all face our ups and downs in life. But as an old gospel song reminds us, “the God of the mountains is the God in the valleys.”
God never promised us life will be easy. Just read John 16:33 as a reminder. But in that same verse, Jesus tells us to “fear not because I have overcome the world.”
With a promise like that from the Savior of the universe, we can face the ups and downs of life with confidence and the assurance that Jesus is with us each step of the way.
Right now, our nation appears to be facing more “downs” than “ups” with all that is occurring here and around the world.
But God’s promise is the same: “I have overcome the world.” We must be diligent in prayer and keep our eyes upon Him!