February 14, 2012

In the Valley of Affliction

As my disease progresses, daily tasks are becoming increasingly more difficult. My walking is very minimal and unsteady, talking is slow and laboured and causes shortness of breath, I'm losing my appetite because I'm not very active and eating is laborious, sleeping is very fragmented and using the laptop is getting difficult and tiresome. These are all activities that used to be a joy but are now a chore.

We have noticed in this last week, that the atmosphere in our home is more sombre because of this. We don't seem to laugh and enjoy life as much as we used to. And this week I said to Lena, "It's not fun anymore". When we're driving in the van, I sit in the back and we don't talk like we used to when we sat beside each other, we drive in silence, each in our own thoughts.

Photo Credit: HERE
We think that this is probably a natural progression and that perhaps it is God's way of slowly releasing me from this world and the things I used to enjoy, in preparation for the greater joys I will experience in Heaven.

When we are under trials and afflictions, there are unique temptations that may come our way, such as:
Having harsh thoughts about God because of the affliction He has given instead of realizing that God allows affliction for our profit (Psalm 119);  
Doubting the promises and comforting verses which are found in the word instead of trusting and believing in them to our comfort;
Thinking too much about temporal, health, or financial matters, and not enough about eternal matters;
Complaining about personal physical discomforts rather than thanking God for his boundless spiritual blessings and grace;
Not witnessing to others about God`s goodness and mercy when opportunities arise.

To be tempted is not a sin, but to fall into temptation is. Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, but He resisted. Satan used pride, coveting, and not trusting in God's providence to tempt Jesus, but Jesus used the Word of God as a sword and shield against these temptations (Matthew 4).

Photo Credit: Here
In the Lord's prayer, Jesus has given us the petition, "lead us not into temptation", as an example of how we should pray. The best way then to resist Satan's temptations and negative thoughts is to spend quality time in reading the Bible, meditating on it, and in prayer. When the apostle Peter focused on Jesus, he was able to walk on water but when he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the surrounding waves, he began to sink. Thankfully, Jesus was right there to pull Peter back to safety.

There is a good lesson for me here. I may be reassured that Jesus is there for me as well, while I am in the waves of affliction. I only need to keep my eyes fixed on Him.


  1. A beautiful post . . . thanks for sharing these thoughts and lessons for us all to think about ... may God provide you and your family with His peace through His Spirit. With Christian love, John and Jennifer and family

  2. Dear Mr Westerink
    Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Hold fast! Soon you will see Jesus face to face; what a glorious blessing.

  3. God promises in Isaiah 41:10:
    Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

  4. Praying that you will continue to find joy in the day to day blessings, and that you will be able to rest in the knowledge that He has prepared a place for you, and you will be there in His time.

  5. Anneke Westerink- KoolmaFebruary 15, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Dear Jack and Lena,
    I always read your story on the website.
    Sometimes I smile, sometimes I cry.
    Be sure, we think of- and pray for you!
    Love from the Netherlands Anneke

  6. Dear Jack and Lena and kids,
    In my prayers and thougts.
    As always with love.

  7. Dear Jack and Lena we are praying for you.

    God is our Refuge and our Strength,
    Our ever present Aid,
    And, therefore, though the earth remove,
    We will not be afraid;
    Though hills amidst the sea be cast,
    Though foaming waters roar,
    Yes, though the mighty billows shake
    The mountains on the shore.

    A river flows whose streams make glad
    The city of our God,
    The holy place wherein the Lord
    Most High has His abode;
    Since God is in the midst of her,
    Unmoved her walls shall stand,
    For God will be her early help,
    When trouble is at hand.

    The nations raged, the kingdoms moved,
    But when His voice was heard
    The troubled earth was stilled to peace
    Before His mighty Word.
    The Lord of Hosts is on our side,
    Our safety is secure;
    The God of Jacob is for us
    A refuge strong and sure.

    O come, behold what wondrous works
    Jehovah’s hand has wrought;
    Come, see what desolation great
    He on the earth has brought.
    To utmost ends of all the earth
    He causes war to cease;
    The weapons of the strong destroyed,
    He makes abiding peace.

    Be still and know that I am God,
    O’er all exalted high;
    The subject nations of the earth
    My Name shall magnify.
    The Lord of Hosts is on our side,
    Our safety is secure;
    The God of Jacob is for us
    A refuge strong and sure.

    John Van Woerden

  8. Wishing I could be there with you Jack and Lena.
    Love Ineke