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Hannah Goodwyn's Bio

Painful Laughter: Waiting for a Healing

By Hannah Goodwyn Senior Producer Faith is useless. At least, that’s the thought I continually have to take captive. My heart focuses on the pain instead of God’s healing presence. This past year, my belief in His power and love for me was tested.

On March 27, 2006, one day after a life-changing trip to Israel with my parents and older sister, the unthinkable became reality. My father had a stroke.

The expression on my sister’s face brought a sick feeling to the pit of my stomach. She began to cry as she shared the news with me. My first reaction was literally “God help us!”

Many months have passed since I first saw my dad lying on an emergency room bed hooked up to machines. Thinking back, I sigh as I remember the uncertainty of that time and how what used to be simple for him isn't so easy anymore.

My father’s attempt to walk to the car or to open a bottle of water because he’s choking from thirst brings those memories to mind again. The stroke left him paralyzed on his left side. He walks with a cane, jerking his left leg forward to make the next step. His hand is still unusable. So when his throat is dry and there’s no water around he coughs as he struggles to take the bottle cap off with his one good hand.

God has brought him thus far, and I believe for his continued healing. These days, he drives himself to work for a 40-hour week at the office using a right-handed device on the steering wheel.

Something as traumatic as a stroke also can affect a person’s mind and emotions. And I’ve seen that too. Although Dad was never afraid to show how he feels; situations that never prompted strong emotions before do now. He weeps uncontrollably and then laughs at how silly he feels for crying so hard. Even in silence, he’ll smile as he tries to open his eyes to see through the tears that cloud his vision.

I end up crying and hugging his neck as I laugh along with him. It’s difficult to hear him weep, but I’m thankful for the sounds of unexplainable laughter that follow.

It’s tough to watch a loved one go through a health crisis. You feel helpless and hopeless because there’s nothing you can do to ease their pain or restore their body. Just know that God can simply speak a word of healing, and all is righted again.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:7-9 (NLT)

As you stagger through your own ordeal, remember to continually give it to the Lord. Pound on the door until your fists are bruised and Heaven opens and pours out healing. Pray, without relenting, that your family member or friend is made whole. Have faith and God will move mountains.

During the first few weeks, my dad spent his days in a sterile rehabilitation hospital room. Each night after visiting hours, feelings of despair consumed me. Every step I took away from that building reminded me that he couldn’t walk as I could.

The guilt ate me up. I felt terrible for leaving him there. I had to let him go night after night kissing him on the head goodbye. Walking to the elevator and out the doors was grueling. It wasn’t fair. I shouldn’t have to leave my father in that place. Time alone with the Lord and His encouraging voice helped me more than words of sympathy from anyone else.
God knows life can make you miserable sometimes. Just release your pain to Him. He knows your sorrow; He bore the weight of His son’s horrible death. He understands your frustration when you don’t feel like He cares. He’ll show you how much He does.
A few months ago as I surveyed my heart about my dad’s health, I wrote this poem.

"Painful Laughter"

Uncertain where this is leading
God, open your ears, I’m pleading.
The one thing I never knew, never hoped would come,
a time when my life came undone.

My father lay bruised and broken.
Trying now, I can find a slight hope within.
Seeking hard for what I'm after,
grateful for his painful laughter.

My anxiety is calmed as I see my father laugh in spite of his weakness. Even though his faith was strong before, my dad is walking the best he ever has -- with his Heavenly Father.

This article is officially ending with a “to be continued” per my dad’s request. When he gets his healing, there will be a new story to tell.

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn manages the Family and Entertainment sections of For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.

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