«It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones» (Proverbs 3:8).
Juanjo Reta worked at the Safeliz Editorial, in Spain, for more than forty years. He was also one of the founders and driving forces of Las Ventas church in Madrid. His life revolved around his work, his family, and, especially, his church, where he did not waste any time in his Christian service. However, at the end of 2014, he felt some discomfort and decided to go see the doctor. To his surprise, he was asked to undergo several tests. In the end, he was diagnosed with colon cancer in its last stage. Juanjo remained in one piece. The news tore through the hearts of the entire safeliz team. How does one take in a blow of that nature? But Juanjo stood before his coworkers and praised the Lord for all that He had given him; he also said that his life was in the hands of God. We all embraced him, touched by his words. Although he had all the odds against him, Juanjo decided not to give in to discouragement and, along with his wife, confronted the disease and prepared to fight it. To complement his medical treatments, he followed a strict diet of grains, vegetables, and legumes.
Personally, I never heard Juanjo issue a single complaint against the heavenly Father because of his complex health situation. He didn’t stop attending church either. He said that this situation had served him to better understand the nature of God. One afternoon, as we got back from work, I asked him: «What gives you the strength to fight?»
«Elizabeth, my wife. I owe her a lot. Besides, I know I’m going to live as long as God wants me to,» was his answer.
In the month of September 2016, he visited the ones that had been his place of work for many years for the last time. His body reflected the brutal footprint of the disease. But once again, he assured us that he was grateful to heaven for all that had happened. Our friend died on October 15 of that year.
I know many Christians who, at the slightest adversity, bring out their bitterness and protest before God, demanding that He free them of their problems on the grounds that «they have not behaved so badly.» But the truth is that perseverance is a basic virtue in dealing with the bad times of life. Yes, perseverance is indispensable for building character.
Ask the Lord today to help you fight the challenges that life presents you with, being always grateful.