Life happens. One Saturday, I’m hosting a baby shower for my pregnant daughter. My heart bursting with joy. Monday, a week later, I’m in the hospital with a heart monitor tracking my pulse. Extensive tests showed one of my arteries needed a stent.
“Not fair!” I whined. “I did all the right things. Ate healthy. Exercised. Didn’t smoke. Kept my weight down. I can’t believe this is happening.”
When the shock wore off, I said, “Could be worse! Thank God, He showed me a problem before I had a major heart attack.”
Life got worse.
Angioplasty went fine, but another health issue plagued me. Thanksgiving and the Christmas season came and went without fanfare while I languished. Unable to travel and be with family, I stayed home with my husband, wondering what the new year would bring. Would I be healthy in time to travel for the birth of our first grandchild?
Every week, there were doctor appointments and medical tests. Every day, I woke up nauseous and faced my demons including fear, anxiety, despair.
I didn’t ask God why I was ill. I could point to people worse off than me. But, I did ask when will this be over? Will I ever get well?
Like the sick woman in the crowd who reached out and touched Jesus’ cloak, I’d raise my hands to heaven and pray for healing. However, I also prayed God would use my circumstances to teach me His lessons and change me.
I didn’t realize how long the lessons would take.
Two months is a long time to wait for healing and wonder if you’ll ever feel healthy again. I had to rest. Pray for patience. Contentment. God’s peace.
I had to let go and submit to whatever God allowed in my life if it was for my good … because sometimes a person’s heart needs more than a stent to make it healthy.
During those long winter nights, and grey rainy days, I’d listen to praise music. I’d count my blessings. I’d read my Bible. Hoping to sense God’s presence and experience His joy.
I was doing all the “right things,” but the joy of the Lord alluded me, despite my willingness to physically suffer if only my heart could sing.
Even worse—-God was silent. I could not sense His comfort or presence no matter how hard I tried.
The only thing I could do when my emotions flatlined was to TRUST God’s promises. “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
I had to BELIEVE God was with me and ignore my feelings. Knowing physical pain effects my mood and emotions. Knowing the enemy loves to make me believe God doesn’t care.
Like the Apostle John, I’d lean into Jesus’ bosom. I’d envision His arms holding me, carrying me when I had no energy to walk.
“Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Faith to endure. To trust Him no matter what.
Was that the lesson I needed to learn?
A week ago, a few hours prior to another medical procedure, I was inundated by people’s text messages and emails. They asked about my health, told me they were praying. Many of them didn’t know about my procedure. So I knew the Lord had laid me on their hearts to encourage me.
When I left home for the hospital, I also received a card in the mail from a new-found friend who wrote, “Pain–it’s hard to endure, but He is with you.”
I pressed the card to my heart. Joy bubbled inside me. For the first time in two months, I felt God’s tangible presence. For I knew in the depths of my stent-filled heart, the Spirit of God had roused His saints and used them to show me,
He Cares and is with me…even in this.