Long Day

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:23 pm by Libbie

This will be brief, because I need to get to bed a.s.a.p.

Today was a hard one for Al. He is experiencing constant pain and nausea. The hospice team is working competently and professionally to determine the right medicines to help bring both under control, and I’m sure they will be able to do that, but during the process it’s hard to see Al suffering so.

Just wanted to let you know. Thanks for your concern and prayers–



  1. Christian Cryder said,

    January 31, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Hey, I know you guys know this, but we love you and are praying for you and will continue to do so. Thanks so much for your fine example of how to walk through really hard times w/ a vibrant faith in Christ. It’s been good for my kids to see (they pray for Al and you guys every morning), and it’s been good for me as well.

    Christian & Marilyn Cryder

  2. Dan Macha said,

    January 31, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Al and Libbie

    I read this post from my hotel room in Florida tonite. And my heart reached out to you. I thought of listening to Al walk Ron Lusk and me through Isaiah at the recent Christmas party, and think of how that wonder of what God has already shown you my brother is such a small splice of the glory that is soon to come….for all of who walk through the doorway to receive His welcome.

    May He bless you and keep you.

  3. Diana Frazier said,

    January 31, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    We have been there and we know the cost of this to you. May our good God sustain you.

    You are loved.

    Diana and Jeff

  4. Greg said,

    January 31, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Al & Libbie,

    As you may or may not know, I have been recovering from yet another surgery, which they tell me went well. One lung surgery down, one to go. I am pleased and content with my situation (as of today), but have no idea what the future holds. I regret not having communicated more with you, Al. I think one of the curses of disease and pain is that, at least for me, it has led me to so much focus on myself. I am sorry.

    I do think of you often, Al. You are on my heart and I pray God will have great mercy on you this day. You and Libbie have exhibited such a strong faith in the Lord that I wish I could just sit and learn from you. Your blog has allowed me to do that to an extent, but I wish I could be there to visit and just hear your gentle voice as it reminds me of the words of just the right Scripture to address the hurt or longing or doubt. I always appreciated your teaching and reading of Scripture in class. Your reading was always full of such passion and conviction that it would always encourage me and all who heard it. My own fight with cancer has been so rocky. So dry. And through your trial, you have been such a wonderful example to me. You have helped me endure with faith. I have needed you and Libbie as a picture of suffering in Christ. Your blog is a wonderful ministry to me.

    The mysteries of the Lord are so unsearchable and yet certainly are so beautiful. Things seem so dark with this horrible disease. I absolutely hate pain and hate that you must endure it. One thing I have found to help endure it – get through the next five minutes. In the spirit of the words of Jesus who exhorts us not to worry, saying “each day has enough trouble of its own”, I often think during the heavy pain, “each five minutes has enough trouble of its own.” I am currently blessed that with an occasional narcotic, my pain is under control. And it should continue to improve, they say. I pray that tonight the pain will get back under control for you, too.

    I understand that Al is not able to respond to this email, but I do ask that you pass it along to him, Libbie. Thanks. Lot of love to you both.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Greg H

  5. Sharon Covington said,

    February 1, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Greetings Al, Libbie, Alistair, Becky, Eowen, and Alden–

    How we love and think of each of you with tender compassion and hope in Christ. You are close in heart. As I remember our last tender fellowship–my posturing normalcy as though warring against reality; our drive away from you, Al, waving from your front door; our weeping, roaring at the enemy, death–I remember the words of a favorite hymn, How Deep the Father’s Love for Us. It puts our “searing loss” in perspective:

    How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure
    That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.
    How great the pain of searing loss. The Father turns His face away
    As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

    Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders.
    Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
    It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished;
    His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.

    I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no pow’r, no wisdom.
    But I will boast in Jesus Christ: His death and resurrection.
    Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
    But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.
    by Stuart Townend

    I am so glad your ransom is paid, and we have Glory. We love you each and all–
    Sharon (with love from David, too)

  6. alice longman said,

    February 1, 2007 at 12:40 am

    Dear ones, we love you and pray for you often during the course of the day and at night(menopause has its redemptive moments!!!). The Holy Spirit really communicates to us that we do belong to one another as we bear your griefs and joys. Many people here in Santa Barbara pray for you , yet have never met you -but will know you for eternity Often we think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and the angel that came to strengthen him. When we pray for all of you Al, Libbie, Alasdair and Lauren, Becky, Eowyn and Alden, we pray you will be strengthened in the same way.
    Love, alice(Tremper is in FLA at RTS this week. He has seen a lot of Bruce W. and their hearts are with you!!)

  7. Chris(toph) Jungen said,

    February 1, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Dear Al & Libbie

    We have not heard from each other or been in contact for many, many years. Many things have happened, painful ones included. But I remember and cherish our conversations during our time as students at WTS, our excursions in the Holy Land 20 years ago and your memorable short visit to Switzerland many years ago as well.
    Even though I have not written, called or visited, I have thought of you often and wished we could have talked and shared, in personal turmoils as well as whenever I had to teach or interpret Old Testament texts or when I had to preach sermons or lead funerals guided, eg. by one of the Psalms.
    Now I hear of the painful and humanly speaking bleak and dark situation you are in with Al’s terminal illness.
    As theologians, myself included, we have become so accustomed to explaining even the most inacceptable things and situations with some spiritual, biblical truth, often in a way that it leaves little or no room for inexplicable mysteries. The temptation of seeking comfort in probing “God’s brain” and creating watertight theological arguments against our fears is, in my experience, one of the great pitfalls of our trade.
    I had to speak at many, many funereals in the course of my pastoral work over the past years and many situations at gravesides of children, young adults and more knocked my theological snugness right out of my heart, mind and hands. What is left and remains is a deep appreciation for the truths that go beyond our textbook-knowledge about the omnipotence or other attributes of God. The most cherished and comforting truths that remain when theological explanations fail are encapsuled in quotes like this:
    “God’s open questions are ultimately more satisfying than all the answers we can give!” – Or this one from the French author Paul Claudel that is very dear to me: “Christ did not come primarily to do away with suffering, and much less did he come in order to explain it. But he came to fill suffering with his presence!”
    That you may know and experience this presence in these days of terrible turmoil is my prayer for you all.
    I guess I will have to postpone my theological conversations with Al to the world to come. I am confident that some of these exhilarating mysteries around God will remain and still be worthwhile to be discussed, marvelled at and wondered about. I am looking forward to it.

    I include a copy of a well-known orthodox Easter-resurrection-Icon that means a lot to me. (Picture sent to your WTS – Email)
    I have travelled quite a bit in the Near East in recent years and come to appreciate some aspects of Orthodox Christianity in spite of their being so different from our reformed context.
    But this Icon of Christ standing on the “Gates of Hell” that he (ab)uses to find a firm footing in bridging the gaping darkness of death and the grave and to pull Adam and Eve, representing fallen mankind to himself and to the light out of the graves while the witnesses of the Old and New Testaments look on. At the same time the keeper of hell with all of his instruments of torture that wants to keep us in darkness, suffering and death is once and for all bound and defeated, while still struggling and rattling with his chains.
    May the core of the Christian hope as expressed in this picture be with you!

    Your brother in Christ

    Chris(toph) Jungen, Switzerland

    Rev. Christoph Jungen, M.A., Th.M.
    Bernstrasse 84
    CH-3066 Stettlen / Switzerland
    +41(0)31 931 40 50 (Office phone)
    +41(0)31 932 45 80 (Home phone)
    +41(0)79 673 73 37 (Mobile phone)
    E-mail: chrisjungen@bluewin.ch

  8. Grace Zhao said,

    February 1, 2007 at 5:35 am

    Dear Libbie:

    Thank you for your update. We do want to know, so that we may know how to pray for you and Al. I belive God will strengthen you as He has always done.


  9. Peter Conway said,

    February 1, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Dear Al, Libbie, Alistair, Becky, Eowen, and Alden,
    Al was very much on my heart yesterday, and i prayed frequently. I will continue to do so, and I know that my prayers are a small voice in the chorus of intercessions being raised for our dear brother.
    We love you all, and stand with you.
    Peter, for Mary Katie,and Susannah


    February 1, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Dear Friends, We were talking with the Parnells last night and sharing together our concerns and cares for you all. Although we have never met you, please know you have touched our lives in so many ways. We will never be the same again, which is a good thing. God has used you in ways you may never understand. Does Jesus care when we suffer grief and pain? You bet! 1Peter 5:7Cast all your cares upon Him: for He cares for you. It can’t get any plainer, can it. Know you are wrapped in prayer this day. God bless you all

  11. Tasha said,

    February 1, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Hi to all the Grove family!

    I was watching “National Treasure” last night – and thought of you. Libbie- it’s amazing and thank you for taking me on the tour!! It all makes sense now! Next time I must check the brick work for hidden glasses from the Masons!

    You know, despite oceans and years you guys have been amazing and you as a family have been and are a huge inspiration to me.

    Al & Libbie – when I was thinking of you, and sitting round your dinning room table chatting about life and the gap between dreams and reality – I remember Ephesians 5 v 1 &2 – Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.

    Al, thank you for being a man after God’s heart and for the few short times that we spent chatting; thank you for the words of wisdom and for living a life where that verse becomes a reality. And thank you again Al & Libbie, for the opportunity to spend time with your family watching Smallville and eating Libbie’s scrumptious cornbread. You are so dearly treasured.

    Much love to all of you and big hugs are winging their way across the Atlantic to you!


  12. Islandgirl said,

    February 1, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Just wanted to send my love and prayers your way-and thank you for keeping us updated on all that has been going on with your family.

    This scripture truly exemplifies your family:

    I will thank you, Lord with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
    I will be filled with joy because of you,
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
    Psalms 9:1,2 NLT

    Many blessings always!

  13. Craig Combs said,

    February 1, 2007 at 9:11 am

    I am praying today.
    I am preaching Psalm 16 this Sunday.
    May you have no good besides the Lord.
    May your heritage be beautiful to you.
    May the Lord be at your right hand so that you will not be shaken.
    May your heart be glad.
    May you know that your flesh shall dwell securely because the Lord has not allowed his Holy One to undergo decay, and neither shall he abandon those who are in him.

    My love to you.

  14. Luke Evans said,

    February 1, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Al, Libbie, and children:
    I am thankful for the fact that your lives are a true reflection of Christlikeness in so many ways. I will continually pray for you all in the coming days…and rejoice with you in the lasting and sure hope of the resurrection.

  15. Joan said,

    February 1, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Dear Al & Libby,

    Amen to your reflections on Psalm 89, I’ve always felt that time caring for or spent with a loved one who is nearing the end of this life and looking toward a new life in Christ, has been precious. When we put aside fear and just love while caring for their needs, there is a beauty and holiness about that time that we will always have with us.

    I want to express appreciation to Al especially for time my daughter spent with him and Alden at HCBC Pres. Week in the past. They were setting crab traps and included Fidi. This may seem like a small thing, but small kindnesses are sometimes inpired and employed by the Holy Spirit to bring comfort, healing and hope. Al’s gentleness, and the way he realted to both his child and someone else’s, during those times on the bayside dock was part of a greater work God was doing in our lives — Thank you both for your open and kind hearts.

    We are with you in prayer,
    Your sister in Him, Joan

  16. Elisabeth said,

    February 1, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Dear Al and Libbie and Groves Family,
    my heart has been aching for you as you travel this road. It’s amazing how reading your blogs can move me from grief to anger and then to laughing as you are so transparent and are able to live life so well together. It is the strongest testament to your absolute and unerring faith in your God. And I have been blessed by your insights into the depths of meaning found in God’s Word, as you allow iti to speak directly into your situation. I have saved Al’s teachings throughout the blog, because you have always challenged me to dig deeper into what God left us to read about Him ourselves, and reality as He sees it. I pray for you every day. My main prayer is that you will all keep your eyes firmly on Jesus, and that He will grow sweeter to you each day. May the wonder of His presence be more real and in-your-face than sickness or even death. And may you feel carried in His strong arms. I love you all, Elisabeth

  17. Rick said,

    February 1, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Al and Libby,
    We continue to pray for you that there would be peace. We love you.
    Rick and Nancy

  18. Craig Higgins said,

    February 1, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Praying for you and with you!

  19. Terry, Steve, and Dave said,

    February 1, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Al and Libby,
    We are only blocks away and are ashamed for not seeing you like we should. Please know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers and that we are only a phone call away anytime, day or night.

  20. Phil and Nancy Arant said,

    February 1, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Al and Libby,
    I think about and pray for you folks frequently. Very dear thoughts and memories flood my mind as I recall easier days. You were then a very steadfast voice in encouraging others to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. God has used that as a piece of the puzzle of my life today.
    Much love in Christ.

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