This Is Not the End of the Story

“My anger started 15 years before, when I had desperately prayed to God to save my first marriage and keep my family together. When my prayers were not answered, I shut God out of my life completely.” – Rick Case

“I know my wife and I will both get to spend eternity in heaven,” said Rick Case. “That’s only because of God’s grace at work in our lives. No matter what happens, we know that this time on earth is not the end of the story. I think the strength of our faith in Christ is what helped us respond without fear or anger when my wife of 14 years, Terry, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Ten years ago, my response to that news would have been much different.

“I came to faith in Christ on August 15, 2010. I was on a walk in my neighborhood, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Is this all there is to life?’ What happened next was a truly profound experience. The Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks, quite literally. I couldn’t move at all for about a minute. The Lord made it clear to me that my anger and rejection of Christ had gone on long enough.

“My anger started 15 years, before when I had desperately prayed to God to save my first marriage and keep my family together. When my prayers were not answered, I shut God out of my life completely. It’s not that God was a big part of my life before my divorce. Even though I’d been in and out of ‘dead’ churches all my life, I really never gave God much thought beyond the hour a week I was in a church service.

“After God got my attention that day, I collected myself enough to finish my walk. When I got home, I jumped in my car and went and bought a Bible. I wanted to know more about this God. The Lord immediately gave me a love for Scripture. Reading God’s Word taught me about the importance of prayer, and before long, I was having ongoing talks with the Lord all day. God’s Word eventually became as necessary to me as breathing.

“God’s next step was to put me somewhere I could be shepherded by mature believers. I started visiting Watermark with my wife, and all the Scripture I had begun feeding on seemed to come alive in the messages that were preached. For most of my life, going to church felt like a chore. Now, I found myself looking forward to going to Watermark so I could be surrounded by fellow believers. Terry and I eventually became Watermark Members and joined a community group – one of God’s biggest blessings to us.

“One of the most important decisions I made in my journey of faith was saying ‘yes’ to serving as a leader in Watermark’s DivorceCare ministry. I was reluctant to serve in DivorceCare at first, because I didn’t feel qualified and didn’t want to dredge up old memories from my divorce. But then I read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 and was reminded that God ‘reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.’ Being a DivorceCare leader has allowed me to share God’s Word with hurting people and remind them what Christ can do in our lives.

“Whether I’m serving in DivorceCare or discipling someone at Watermark, I’m often asked why God allows bad things to happen. I’ve certainly asked myself the same question. I take a lot of comfort in the words of John 16:33, where Jesus says, ‘In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.’ I also remind myself that God took some of the worst things that ever happened to me and used them for something good. The Lord used the pain of my divorce to allow me to serve as a leader in DivorceCare. Even when I was not abiding with the Lord, God was faithfully working for my good. God literally came and got me, when I wasn’t looking for Him. I was drowning in a sea of nothingness and God threw me a lifeline.

“The other thing I gained from enduring difficult times is the knowledge that the only way men can be good husbands is to be devoted Christ-followers first. God’s faithfulness to us has given us perspective and strength as we walk through Terry’s Alzheimer’s disease. She is the most sacrificially giving person I know, so I know she would be caring for me the same way I am for her if our roles were reversed. Despite the illness, we can say that our life together is good. We have God’s love, great kids, wonderful grandkids, and a community group that loves and cares for us. Yes, this is a time of sacrificial service, but I’m only able to do that because of what Christ has done for us.”

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