Inspiring words posted by a friend about to lose her hair due to cancer treatment:
“The stars are beautiful this morning, Venus in the eastern sky like a diamond. The moon in the southwestern sky. Every star has a name given by the Lord. Billions just like us, the sparrows, the hairs on my head, all the good and bad cells in our bodies, He knows it all. And with His great love, mercy, grace and justice, new every morning.”
As I write to you, I do so to share my story about the largeness of God and how He can use what we most fear to draw us closer to Himself. We see it happen again and again in Scripture as we read about how He worked in the lives of people determined to trust Him since the beginning of time:*
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
1 Kings 19:11-13
This picture of how God ministered to Elijah, after Jezebel threatened to kill him, is one of my favorites. Full of fear, discouraged and feeling abandoned, Elijah wanted to die. But God still had plans for him. In the passage God was not in the wind; nor was He in the earthquake or fire. Instead, Elijah recognized God’s voice in, “a gentle whisper.” I love it because I have learned to listen for His whisper when fearful, discouraged or I am feeling utterly alone: “Kathie, will you trust Me in this?” Perhaps you have heard Him too?
In my last post I told you about how I had “sheltered in place” for months because of COVID-19. During that time, the thought of having to go to the hospital terrified me most of all. Twice I experienced bouts of extended heart palpitations (when I normally would have gone to the hospital) but did not go because I so feared picking up the virus.
That changed on the night of August 4, when I was overcome by abdominal pain that was so severe that I could not walk. I screamed for my husband to call an ambulance. As the crew bundled me into the back of the ambulance my husband was told not to follow because he would not be allowed to enter the hospital. It was then that I embarked on an adventure not of my choosing. As I rode to the hospital I prayed a prayer I have prayed many times to quell my fears and put my focus on Him:
Thank you God that you love me,
thank You that You have a plan and purpose for my life..
Help me Lord to see those You put on my path with Your eyes
as I trust You no matter what.**
As I was transferred into the hospital Emergency Room my fears were left behind me as the words of Jesus pulsed through my mind:
“I have come that they (you!) may have life,
and have it to the full.”
Suddenly the words ‘life” and “full” took on new meaning for me:.
To enjoy our God-given life to the fullest extent
requires that we be fully invested in Him.
As I contemplated my circumstances– separated from the shelter of my home, family and friends– I none-the-less felt energized, even as I was poked, prodded and questioned. I did my best to answer their questions but I honestly don’t remember much about any of it except that the pain subsided even as doctors determined the danger was very real. They decided I had a perforated ulcer that might be infected but they needed to run more tests. I was admitted as a patient under observation and finally put into bed at 4 A.M.
Sound asleep and assuming I was in a private room because of my age and vulnerability (I am over 70 and have heart and lung issues) I awoke to the booming voice of a young man trying to translate the hospital menu into Spanish for the roommate I didn’t know I had! There were other sounds I could hear but because of the heavy draperies that separated our beds I could not tell how many people were actually there or what was happening. I would love to tell you that I took it in stride but I didn’t. It was in that moment that fear gripped my heart in a big way.
After calling for the nurse, a young woman came to my bedside. In a shaky voice I expressed my concerns about being in the category of “most vulnerable” (I’d heard it on the news for months) and for that reason I had expected to be in a private room, The nurse was patient but unsympathetic, telling me that there were no private rooms available. She added that patients with COVID were no where near where I was. Suddenly I saw the tired eyes of a nurse who had had the same conversation many times before. Feeling very convicted at giving way to fear, I heard that gentle voice whisper, “Kathie, will you trust Me in this?”
In that moment something changed in me. After battling health concerns for months, I had longed to connect with God as I once did. Instead, I felt increasingly distant from Him. Even my love of reading Scripture had wained, as I looked around for other distractions. Watching television programs I had recorded and doing paint-by-number projects had become my two favorite distractions.
It was then that I knew God’s answer to my longing for more of Him,
was to place me exactly where I was,
away from all the distractions.
With that realization I gladly replied, “Yes, Lord, I will trust You in this!”
Are you in a place not of your choosing? Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed by problems with your health; or are stressed over finances and/or family responsibilities. Maybe you have so distanced yourself from the world out of fear, that you have also lost connection with God as I did?
Then if you claim Christ and desire to enjoy the fullness of life God intends for you, I encourage you to pray in the quiet confidence of His Sovereign Goodness:
Thank You God that You love me;
thank You that You have a plan and purpose for my life.
Help me Lord to see those You put on my path
with Your eyes, as I trust You no matter what.**
In my next post I will finish my story about how:
- God worked miracles large and small that would change me forever.
- He opened up my eyes to appreciate healthcare professionals even more than I had.
- My confidence in God’s Sovereign Goodness continues to draw me ever closer to Him.
All to His Glory!
*Read Hebrews 11 and the beginning of chapter 12 for inspiration.
**I have found that developing a praise response to God when trouble comes, is helpful to battling depression.and anxiety. Keeping a praise journal (I recommend logging three things you’re thankful to God each day) helps breakup the negative perceptions so common with depression.