It's 1:00 pm on a warm Spring Friday afternoon when we weave through a sea of hundreds of doctors and nurses, patients and interns, mothers and children, husbands and wives.
As we make our way through the hospital, I think back over the past few weeks. My painful, unnerving symptoms began, sending me right into the nearest doctor office where serious conditions are eliminated, but the symptoms remain, puzzling everyone I speak to. The nurses and doctor scratch their heads and suggest I make an appointment elsewhere.
This scares me.
Anxiety takes hold.
Fast forward and a twinge of hope jumps inside of me as we take the elevator up to the 3rd floor. This hospital is buzzing! These are the doctors that teach other doctors to be doctors! We're in the right place. Help is right around the corner.
Until it's not.
I sit on a paper covered seat across from a prestigious doctor who looks down at my chart, and says in the flattest tone "I don't know what's wrong with you. You'll need to find a specialist. I can't help you."
I stare back at her with desperate eyes, pressing her to please help. Please offer something.
Please see me.
Acknowledge this pain, my fear. Offer a word of comfort. A guess.
I'm offered nothing.
I swallow hard as anxiety sinks it's ugly grip. I'm left sitting alone in the cold room as my heart thumps loudly inside of me. It's 2:00 pm now on that Friday afternoon.
Over 2000 years ago the Prince of Peace took up His cross and climbed a hill to shed His blood, suffer hell and die. He fought death and sin and the devil and WON.
He did that for me. The girl alone in the exam room.
I leave the room, hope slipping through my fingers.
As we make the drive home, my husband holds my hand and says aloud, "Is there a better time than this to have such a struggle than the day your Savior showed you just how much He loves you? A doctor might not have answers, but Jesus does. He is here. He sees you. He's the Hope you need."
Tears spill over. I know my guy is right. I know the beautiful Truth down to my bones, but all my worries and fears are screaming for me to LOOK AT THEM, not to Him.
For the days and weeks following, I spend countless moments breathing in The Word. His promises.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~ Psalm 94:18-19
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
Hymn verses I learned as a young girl slip off my lips and I sing to stay calm, to touch peace, to remember His promises. I hum the melodies and let the Truth woven deep into the words wash over me.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
I scribble notes and tape reminders on the bathroom mirror. I frame comfort for my bedroom walls. I set Truth on my bedside table.
I pray for answers, for healing, for peace. I pray for a doctor who will offer help.
But above all, I beg for Jesus to be near.
Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.
And in His gracious time, my gracious God brings clearer answers and slow healing.
He also brings the most brilliant, kind-hearted specialist who looks me in the eye and says in his beautifully thick accent that he knows what I'm suffering with and can help. I want to hug him and cry my eyes out, but settle for a high five. Dr. H quickly tops my "thankful for" list - I tell him so each time I see him.
Through the Holy Spirit, I've known my Jesus for 33 years, but I've never needed Him more, felt Him more, saw His love more than in those dark days of Spring. It was there in that thin place where my Father showed me again and again that He is all I need. As the flowers bloomed with color and trees stretched into green buds, He breathed new life into me as I clung to Hope, not as a wish, but as an absolute certainty.
Dear one, I don't know your sufferings, your pains, your fears, your struggles. But God does.
When circumstances blindside you, who is not surprised?
When your worst fears are a scary reality, who will calm you?
When friends or family disappoint, who will you lean on?
When the worries of your life tug and pull you down, who will pull you out?
When your body betrays you and doctors don't offer answers, who will bring the answer you need?
When dead ends stare you in the face and you wonder where to turn next, where will you look for guidance?
When the world fails, and it always will, what is left?
All that remains? Is Him.
But your God is not a last resort or a back up plan, but an All You Need-Peace Giver-Great Physician-Death Defeater-Beautiful Savior-Everlasting Father-Lover of Your Soul-Perfect Answer.
In the dark days, look to the Light and lay the heavy load at His feet. The One who created you, who knows you by name, who redeemed you with His own life, is near.
And when the hurts of this temporary earthly life collide up against the Holy One, He's going to win each and every time. Even death can't compete.
On this side of heaven you are going to have troubles and scares, but they are nothing compared to the perfect everlasting life waiting for you. (Romans 8:18)
And for me.
Until that day, whether in pain or joy and everything in between, let's live every breath in thanks and praise for the One who will bring us Home.