Elmbrook Stories

Lessons from Daniel

April 20, 2015 by Tracy Powell in Life Groups
Lessons from Daniel

Lessons from Daniel

by Tracy Powell


Earlier this year, my father-in-law, Jim, was hospitalized with pneumonia.  During that time, while studying Daniel Chapter 2 in my Life Group, the question was asked:  “From Daniel’s example, what can we learn about how we should react to a personal crisis?”  I knew I needed to turn to God, trust Him and let God be in control. This is very hard for a “type A” girl who likes to be in control!

A few days later the scan revealed stage 4 lung cancer. A special email came from one of the many sisters in Christ who supported me through this time. It said: “This season of life can be such a walk of faith. A holy ground experience.  A very important and special time.”  That email changed how I would embrace the short time that we all had left with him.

Back in the hospital a few days later the doctor told us that the cancer had spread aggressively and that Jim had maybe two or three months to live. We brought him home with hospice care to make him comfortable. A week later, I was really struggling with control issues and how to live each day. With spending so much time with Jim, my to-do list and calendar were getting out of control. I couldn’t decide if we should still travel to Colorado for the weekend as planned to help my step-son plan his upcoming wedding...  I tossed and turned for so many nights, not sleeping much at all. Then one night, a voice woke me up that said, “Seven days.”  I knew it was God. Yet, I still questioned what we should do.

That week on Wednesday morning, Stuart Briscoe’s teaching in the Daniel study taught us that God does not commit to deliver us from the fiery furnace, but that He would be there in the fire with us. And He was. The next morning a man in my husband’s Life Group suggested we call Elmbrook’s Pastor of Congregational Care, Doug Schoen. Jim was having so much trouble breathing, the siblings were arguing, home hospice wasn’t working...we needed help.  Doug returned my husband’s phone call and quickly appeared at the door. He offered much needed prayers, comfort and communion to share.

The following day Jim was transported to a wonderful hospice facility in his hometown of Wauwatosa.  He passed away an hour later. WITHIN 7 DAYS.  God’s plan is always right on schedule.

A week later I was talking to my son, Jordan, about the day, reflecting on the gardening that Grandpa had taught him to do. He said, “I wish someone would have given me a plant or some seeds”.  I then remembered my close friend giving me a card that day which said “Seeds for Jordan to grow tomato plants.”  Inside there was a gift card to Stein’s, his Grandpa’s favorite store. Again, God showed up, in His timing. I learned even more about trusting God.