KEYWORDS: dad, lord, prayer, people, afflictions, age

Remember David & All His Afflictions

Karen Zerby

—Psa.132:1 11/89—Intro to Dad's "Lament in the Night"—By Maria Maria #114 DO 2593

(Dear Family, WLY & are so very thankful for you, & desperately need your prayers & support in the Spirit at this time. Because of the very serious nature of this Letter & the following "Lament in the Night" by Dad, we wanted to ask that you please read these Letters unitedly & follow their reading with desperate united prayer for our Prophet. We can't express how much we need & deeply appreciate your earnest supplications!—Thanks! GBY!)

1. Although I wasn't too sure about it at first, I now feel that I will encourage Dad to publish his lament in the GN. I know Dad doesn't even like to talk about the negative, much less print it, so he'd be reluctant to publish this. But I think we need to publish it because the different afflictions that he has are not only causing him a great deal of discomfort, but they're pretty serious‚ & we really do need the Family's desperate & continual prayer! If publishing this lament will help them realise how desperately Dad needs their prayers, then it will have accomplished a very good purpose.

2. His afflictions are serious enough that it's definitely going to take a real miracle of the Lord for him to be healed & delivered of them. For example‚ his perpetual sore throat & his very bad hacking cough, which sounds like he's coughing up his insides, are not just symptoms of a common cold or some other light affliction.—Lately he coughs up pink coloured phlegm, either blood from a raw throat or internal organs. We're not sure which.

3. Now I don't want any of you to take Dad's discouragement as an excuse or justification to murmur or start blaming the Lord when you have afflictions. When you get to the place where you can pray like Dad does, with the same fight‚ the same fervor, the same constancy, the same results, the same answers & with the same close, intimate relationship with Jesus that he has‚ then you might be permitted the same occasional questioning of the Lord when in the depths of despair.

4. I'm not worried about your seeing that Dad gets discouraged once in a while. Dad's already confessed that in other Letters. Besides, the whole Book of Psalms is full of similar laments by King David.

5. Sometimes King David of old felt utterly forlorn & discouraged. On the whole, though, his Psalms are very praiseful & uplifting. But there were times when some very great trials & sore afflictions came into his life & he just wasn't able to maintain his usual attitude of praising & faith. At times he was completely discouraged & crushed & forlorn & felt like the Lord had forsaken him.

6. When God allows us to go through such trials, it's usually a real test to see if we're going to stay in that negative vein & discouraged frame of mind. Of course, that's what the Devil would like to get us to do—to just give up & continue to be discouraged & never get back to the full–of-faith attitude we had previously. Obviously, King David always bounced back, & his bouts of extreme discouragement were very infrequent & very short-lived, thank the Lord‚ as are Dad's, but I guess it shows the extreme battles both were/are subject to, due to their position & responsibility.


7. Old age is something that most of us don't really understand. Most of us have never lived very close to old age. Before we joined the Family the only "old age" most of us knew was our parents—who were the same age then that we are today! We looked on them as old at that time, but now as we look back, we realise that most of them were the same age then that we are now, & it doesn't really seem so old any more! Most of us probably didn't have a lot of extended contact with our grandparents or really intimately know what they were going through.

8. We think we have afflictions, but if we stopped to think of what we would be feeling like if we were twice as old as we are now, 30 or 40 years older —if we had to last that long—it might seem pretty impossible! I sometimes feel so tired & weak, & I wonder, "My goodness, if I was much older, I don't know how I could make it!" The suicide rate for older people is much higher in proportion to their numbers than for any other age group. I once read that the elderly were only somewhere in the area of 10 or 12% of the population in the U.S., but they accounted for 25% of the suicide rate. As the verse says, "Man's life is threescore & ten years, & if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet are they more sorrow & trouble."—Psa.90:10

9. Older people's lives certainly are full of afflictions & multiplied sufferings & trials. Just the weight of old age itself can really discourage them & get them down. Often they're not able to do things that they've always done before, & they have to depend on others. Many of them have to be taken care of by others & are unable to see or hear or eat or walk—or so many of the things that they've been used to doing all of their lives. They feel ashamed & humiliated, stripped of their dignity & self-esteem. And often they're continually in discomfort or even great pain.

10. Elderly people often feel useless, & if not entirely useless, certainly not nearly as useful as they were formerly. They usually have to give up many of their responsibilities to younger people.—People who have the strength & the energy to handle them‚ but usually not with as much wisdom. But lots of old people feel like even their wisdom is useless because they don't have the strength & energy & physical capabilities to do something with that wisdom in order to get the job done.

11. Of course, all of these various trials don't apply to Dad. But most older people find themselves very very lonely because they're so often neglected & they get set aside & are put in old folks' homes.—Or their physical handicaps & weaknesses are equated by others with mental & emotional weaknesses, which isn't the case at all. And they often feel like they're just a burden on others, & that most people would rather not be bothered with them. Or they fear the future—that their condition will worsen, that they'll become helpless & no one will be there to take care of them. It's really very sad. Very few of us younger people know hardly anything about that.

12. As Dad brought out in the Letter, "Old Age—The Final Test" (#2479), it certainly is just that for many many people.—It's a real test & a very trying time. In fact, we're the only generation for whom that will not be our final test! But for all previous generations, that has been their final test, & it's a pretty big one!

13. Another major thing that we as younger people don't experience nearly as much & don't usually understand, is that older people have much more serious & long-term illnesses & diseases compared with our more short-term temporary illnesses. Let's face it, the worst things that most of us usually suffer may be a bout of flu or a cold or a headache or a toothache or a backache—normally just temporary aches & pains. They're short–lived & we pray them away & the Lord takes care of them & cures them!

14. That's normally all that younger people have to go through. We're subject to colds & flu & various sicknesses & contagious illnesses now & then, but overall, we certainly don't have nearly as many serious long-term diseases as the elderly, who suffer them in abundance. Their organs begin to wear out & break down. Their resistance to disease is less, so they become ill more frequently. Even minor ailments often turn into something more serious from which they may not even recover. Bones are much more fragile & easily broken, & require much more time to mend & heal.


15. In Dad's case, he not only suffers from old age & suffers serious long-term illnesses, but on top of all that, because he is so important to the Lord & His Work, & is such a fighter against the Enemy's kingdom, the Devil is enraged against him & the demons of Hell assail him & viciously do everything they can to destroy him!—Launching major attacks against him that the rest of us are not even bothered with!

16. Therefore, because of all of this, it has not been sufficient in the past, nor is it enough in the present for the Family to simply pray desperately once in a one-time prayer for Dad's healing when we send out a special prayer request, & then expect that everything is going to be all right. Of course, this is not because the Lord hasn't heard & it's not because the Lord does not want to answer, but this is the kind of thing that, as the Lord said‚ "goeth not out but by fasting & prayer."—Mat.17:21. And in this case, it requires a good deal of real desperate, prevailing, intercessory, continual, long–term prayer. Often Dad's afflictions have not been healed for months.—Months of daily, desperate prayer by our staff, as well as prayer by you, our worldwide Family.

17. It reminds me a little of Job's case where the Devil said to God‚ "Well, You've put a hedge about Job, & I can't touch him!"—Job 1:10. The Lord then allowed Job to be severely tested. Well‚ in some ways, it's almost like that with Dad; he's been having one affliction after another. Someone got in a prophecy recently that through all of this Dad is suffering his great tribulation right now.

18. It's very important for you to understand that we can't always just pray once or twice for something & then expect that everything is going to be hunky-dory & perfectly fine immediately afterwards. It may work that way most of the time for the rest of us, but with Dad, it's a tougher & a harder fight, a real battle in the Spirit!

19. It just takes desperate prayer, desperate extended prayer, daily prayer! Dad has often said‚ "Well‚ I guess it's to help the Family to really pray, & maybe it'll do them some good in the process." I agree with that & I think that often that's why the Lord allows it‚ so we can get desperate! In praying for Dad, we'll be drawing closer to the Lord & we'll then be able to avail ourselves of all the benefits of getting desperate with the Lord. Sometimes Dad has to suffer things for our benefit.


20. Most of the time Dad is really cheerful & praiseful! Actually, he amazes me how cheerful he is through all of these different afflictions! He's such a fighter! He'll have times when his food just refuses to go down & he'll just try over & over & over again to eat & to force it down.—Sometimes for hours. But he never gives up!

21. Other times he'll be so weak that he feels he can't get out of bed. But he'll do it anyway, with his last ounce of strength & say, "I'm afraid if I stay in bed, I'm just going to fade away. I've got to get up & keep fighting!" That's why we have the Revolution today!—Because "none of these things move him" (Acts 20:24) & he's continued to go on for the Lord & forge ahead no matter what!

22. I sometimes wonder how we would feel if we could never eat solid food again.—If we could never sink our teeth into a piece of meat again, or if we could never eat an apple or an orange or a mango or a piece of pineapple or a carrot or celery or lettuce or tomato or one of those nice juicy hamburgers with all the trimmings!

23. What if we could never eat anything except what amounts to baby food—pureed & blended, & nothing but very soft fruit puree & mashed potatoes?—And as a result of not being able to chew any kind of solid food, our gums become diseased & our teeth weak & loosened. But Dad keeps so cheerful through all of it & really appreciates every bite that he can get down, even though it's more or less baby food. He's so thankful he can eat at all.

24. I wonder how we would feel if we had to run to the toilet two or three times a day with big explosions & diarrhea & the resultant draining of our strength & constant weakening of our body so we feel like all we can do is go to bed afterwards.—Or if we had to go to bed every night propped up in a sitting position so we could hopefully keep from being awakened by coughing & saliva which comes up into our throat if we aren't in an almost upright position.—But despite all that, still waking frequently in the night with a choking cough that then keeps us awake & prevents us from having the good night's rest that we sorely need. Or what if we had a continual sore throat because of such a terrible cough?—And the phlegm we spat up was coloured with blood?

25. I wonder how many of us wouldn't feel discouraged if our bladder muscles had so weakened that we had to go to the toilet very frequently, & when we had to go we could hardly hold it to get to the toilet in time?—And then as a result, we developed a terrible soreness & itching because of the leakage of uric acid on our bottom parts.

26. Well, those are some of the major problems & battles that Dad has to face & fight every day. But he's really amazing, thank the Lord, he continues to fight & pray & have faith & trust the Lord through everything—& keeps on working!


27. I'm sure the Devil is really trying to destroy his throat & his voice.—The main way that the Lord communicates through him to us. I'm also sure the Lord wants to keep using Dad to speak to us. So I think we're just going to have to really be desperate & trust the Lord for a miracle in all of this.

28. I don't think all of Dad's afflictions are something that can easily be cured, but I believe the Lord obviously still wants to continue to use him in his old age, which means He's going to have to heal some of these things! And I'm sure He can if we get desperate enough & we hang on in prayer & we claim the Lord's healing for him! The Lord has to do it for as long as He wants to keep Dad here to lead this Work.

29. In fact, when our staff recently got together to desperately pray for Dad, the Lord said He would heal & deliver him. He said, "The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord‚ He is their help in the time of trouble. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me, for I will hope in God Who is the strength & the health of my countenance. God is in the midst of him, & God shall help him & God shall strengthen him!"

30. "Ye know not that which thy Father hath, ye know not the pain that he has. For this is his great tribulation. He shall come forth as gold, as an encouragement to his children. And I will not fail! I will fulfil all that I have promised. Yea, the Enemy is trying to kill & trying to harm & hurt & destroy, but I will deliver as I have promised. I will not fail, for he shall be faithful & endure to the end & shall receive the crown which I have laid up for him." PTL!

31. I just wish you could understand the importance of the great spiritual battle that it is for Dad. Besides all his battles with afflictions, there are also the spiritual attacks of the Enemy with periodic nightmares & "terrors by night." But thank the Lord, he hasn't had too many nightmares lately.

32. His eyes are still strong, thank the Lord! —Although he does sometimes have eye patterns & real sharp head pains‚ those aren't very frequent‚ TYJ! He uses his eyes so much, & they're still quite good, praise the Lord! It's really wonderful, & we're so thankful for that!

33. And he can still take his get-outs & at least get around a little bit. And‚ thank the Lord, the Lord is still enabling him to speak & to talk & to help us, lead us & guide us & train us & counsel us! So we're very thankful for that!—And so is he! On the whole, Dad is very cheerful & very full of faith. He's such a good example & such a good sample to model ourselves after.

34. So you cannot, nor should you try to justify yourselves for any negative prayers or feelings against the Lord when you read this Lament & Prayer by Dad. In no way can you compare yourselves to him, he's in a class of his own, & goes through things that most of us can't even imagine, much less understand.

35. When you see new Letters coming out all the time & you see the different hand-written notes & comments from Dad that are pubbed, you might figure, "Oh, thank the Lord, Dad must be feeling all better, we don't have to continue praying so much." Well, I hope this little introduction to his Letter, "A Lament in the Night," will help you to see just how much Dad needs your continual prayers & supplication.—Amen?

36. God bless you all as you faithfully uphold our Prophet & King in your prayers! It would be good to remember what Samuel once told the people regarding the seriousness & responsibility of praying for others: "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you!"—1Sam.12:23.

37. So let's continue to spiritually uphold our Moses' hands (Exo.17:11,12), "Praying always with all prayer & supplication in the Spirit, & watching thereunto with all perseverance & supplication for all Saints!"—Eph.6:18.