In an intimate relationship, and there is none more intimate than marriage, whatever is hidden will come to the surface. Jasmine and I had a solid relationship built upon the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ. But we are all uniquely different from one another, and if we are not careful, our differences can also become barriers to deeper levels of intimacy.

I harbored some things in my heart about Jasmine that I wished were different. They were not essential matters, just trivial things like habits and time management, things she did her way. My suggestions for doing things differently, meaning my way, typically did not result in a change on her part. This really meant, “I wish she were more like me.” Anyone looking in can recognize that as self-centered pride, which created blind spots to my faults and deficiencies. I was blind. God challenged me, “How much do those things truly matter?” Then He proceeded to perform surgery to open my eyes.

As I walked through my painful journey, waiting for Jasmine’s condition to turn the corner, God had been stripping my soul with questions:

What is truly important?

Can I trust God completely?

I say I am surrendered to God, but am I?

As I continually prayed for Jasmine’s healing, I asked God to shine a spotlight on my heart and reveal anything that needed to change. Like King David, I prayed,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).

God’s response surprised me. I did not hear an audible voice but clearly heard Him say, “Surrender Jasmine to Me.” You would think it would be easy to say, “Yes, Lord,” but at that time, I could not. God’s call uncovered a barrier in my surrendered heart. Jasmine was the dearest thing to me. I was disappointed that her road to recovery was not as I had anticipated. Coming home felt lonely without her presence. I rationalized that if I surrendered Jasmine to Him, I would somehow be giving Him permission to take her, and I did not want to be complicit in that. I wrestled with this for several days.

Could God take her home to Heaven? Yes, He could.

Did He have the power to raise her from the hospital bed and heal her completely? Yes, He did.

In my struggle, God was breaking me, not in a cruel, impersonal way, but with compassion, giving me the space I needed to tear down the barrier of my heart. Finally, by faith, I responded to God’s call and surrendered Jasmine to Him. It was the last piece of my heart that He did not have, but it was not an end.

My pride blinded me, and God opened my eyes to see my faults and failures. I recalled the trivial things I allowed to hinder deeper bonding with Jasmine and the challenge, “How much do those things truly matter?” Those things no longer mattered. One night, as Jasmine lay lifeless but alive, I stood beside her bed and humbly confessed my sins to her—my pride, my self-centered attitude, and my failures—and asked her for forgiveness.

If I were on a journey of 617 turns like the Road to Hana, I was only at turn thirty-seven. I told God I was willing to travel the remaining 580 turns with Jasmine, no matter how long and arduous the journey might be—physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Little did I know that things were about to turn.

(Adapted from a chapter in the book by Morris Isara, What Now, God?, available on Amazon)