I just returned from a three-day visit to Duke Hospital for an infection. They weren’t sure if it was pneumonia or a bad UTI, so they treated me with the strongest antibiotics available and I am feeling so much better. A three-day stay is just a flyover for me. I began to think about the hospital stays I’ve had over the last eight years and some of them have lasted months. When I think back, I am surprised that I had the patience to lay there, unable to get into my wheelchair, unable to access my laptop, and enduring needle pokes, examinations, and other invasive procedures.
Deuteronomy 31: 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Isaiah 41: 10 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.
On this particular trip, I believe God went before me and had everything planned out well in advance. Because his word encourages me to not be afraid or discouraged, that he will continue to strengthen and uphold me, I felt strong and at peace.
As wonderful as all this sounds, it sometimes causes people to read my blog posts and make comments with ideas like, “I’m never going to complain about these headaches again! She is so much worse off than me and she stays positive!” Or, “If she can have faith in her circumstances, I must be a completely faithless before God!” I completely disagree with this way of thinking.
We all have a race to run (Hebrews 12:1-2) that’s been marked out specifically for each of us. I don’t believe one race is harder than another, because they are individualized by God according to each person’s need, and for his own glory and goodness.
Some of us have lost loved ones, or jobs, or meaningful relationships, or are having significant health problems, and we are questioning God’s goodness and struggling to crawl out of a pit of despair. As we learned in Deuteronomy 31 and Isaiah 41 (both above), God went before us on this journey and He will not leave us as we walk through the pain. Just because we don’t understand the purpose behind what is happening doesn’t mean He is absent.
It is imperative that we stay in the Bible and connected to our fellowship of believers in order to hear the truth about our circumstances. When we isolate in our pain, our adversary, a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies, enjoys filling our head with falsehoods (John 8:44).
Even this morning as I began writing this blog, I felt so faithful and almost high after the first couple of paragraphs. When the aide came in to bathe me and take care of my personal hygiene, I immediately felt discouraged. It was a man I had never met and who had never even worked on my hallway. No one took the time to orient him and he was so unsure of himself. I got so anxious I completely lost my desire to continue with the blog post. Thankfully, I forced myself to get in the Bible, spent some time in prayer, and got back to writing.
So yes – I can spend weeks and months in the hospital somehow holding on to my faith, but sometimes something so simple as what happened this morning in a single moment will send me to the edge of a cliff. I’m thankful I didn’t take the plunge and I hope you will also decide to hold on if you are feeling down.*
The silver-lining I found after it was all over, is that it was such a blessing that the Olympics were on because I never would have watched them had I been at my home facility. I enjoyed them so much and I found myself thanking God for arranging my hospital visit around this grand event. It made the time go by.
May God bless all of us and keep us in good spiritual and mental health.
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*If you need help, there is always help available. Please reach out for counseling or reach out to me as a resource by clicking the Contact tab above. If you are finding it difficult to find meaningful fellowship in a church, click the Church tab above.