As I sit here in the hospital room watching my wife recover from her, probably 10th surgery ( I lose count), I am urged to ask why. Why is she going through all of this? This time it is a knee replacement. This is supposed to be a very painful procedure, and the recovery to be a painful one.
What is going on here? I could ask that question, or I can sense the awesome trail of events that reflect how much God is a part of my wife’s life. She has gone through a lot. There is no question. She has gone through physical problems that baffle even the doctors when they ask about her prior surgeries, or her medical history. She is only 42 years old!
Since I live with an optimistic attitude with the glass always half full, I tend to live without asking the “Why” questions. I sense the presence of God’s grace in our life. I sense the incredible peace that only God can give my wife in the hardest of hard times. God is with us through the hard times.
I remember the day I first lost my job. That day was the same day that my wife (up to then) was healthy. She was having to go to the hospital with a pain in her abdomen, and because the radiologist couldn’t rule out a blood clot, she was told to go directly to the hospital. She called me at work, and told me this. I went to my manager and told him that I had to head off early from work because of the situation with my wife. He then told me (knowing that I was getting laid off), that before I took off, he needed to see me, with the Vice President of Engineering in a conference room. He was clearly upset and felt terrible about the timing of the news.
Anyway, I sat down in the conference room with the two guys while they told me that there was a cut back of funding due to decrease of sales of the product and they would have to let me go. He said he felt terrible about the timing with my wife’s condition. Needless to say, I was at a low point in my life. Up to then, I had a bi-weekly paycheck and had never been without a check for 12 years. It is amazing how much dependence you give to paychecks when they are so regular.
I called my wife who met me at home. She was going through so much I didn’t know how to break the news, but I got it out. We went to the hospital and it was determined that she did indeed have a clot in her left ovarian vein. She was hospitalized for 2 days, put on a blood thinning regimen and has not since had a clot. This was about 7 years ago.
I remember sitting in the hospital with my wife that night, feeling like my life was spinning out of control. There was no stability, whereas just the day before everything was going perfectly fine. It was like someone pulled the cork out of the bottle of stability and it all drained out.
That next week was quite interesting. Instead of feeling like the bottom dropped out, both my wife and I felt a closeness to God unlike we had ever felt. I, for the first time, could relate to what Paul was talking about when he wrote about a peace that passes understanding. I have not been that close to God (except one other time, which I’m sure I’ll write about another day) since. God was present in our lives. He was there to give us peace that everything was ok, although on the outside things were spinning out of control.
Many times, since that time, I have longed to feel God’s presence in my life as reflected during that time. It is different now. I know that God is there even through the WORST time in my life, so He will not leave me at any time. I relate it to a young marriage. The couple strives into marriage on love, so in love that they both are confident that the love they feel with bring them through the struggles. It isn’t until the marriage has been tested that they are truly able to know that their love will make it through life’s struggles. The harder the struggle, the more confidence is placed in the marriage. On the other side of the struggle, once they make it through, is a sense of “We made it”. This gives strength in the marriage that otherwise cannot be there.
God was there in the worst time. Not only there, but he carried my wife and I, and gave both of us a closeness to Him that was never there before. I can explain it like this:
We walk through this life on a bridge. A bridge made of things that provide sanity to this life. The bridge is made of our good health, our financial security, our self-image, our career, our relationships, etc. Below the bridge is shark-infested waters. As we walk on the bridge, there is stability provided by God in the form of a rope that hangs down from heaven. The stronger the bridge, the less likely we are to hang onto the rope. There are times when we even let go of the rope, and depend on our own to walk on the bridge. But God, in His unbelievable love and understanding knows that the only true joy and peace in this life comes from Him. Everything in the world may provide a “sense” of security, peace, and joy, but He knows that it is impossible for things of this world to give TRUE security, joy, and peace. He allows things to occur in life that shakes the foundation of the bridge. He does this because He loves us and desires us to have a connection or relationship with Him above anything else. As our bridge is shaken, it becomes less stable. As financial troubles or health issues hit, or relationships are broken, our bridge becomes less stable. We have a choice to make at that point. We can continue to walk on the unstable bridge, or we can hold onto that rope where God is. The less stable the bridge, the more we hold onto the rope. If the bridge is on the verge of collapsing, the only security we have is holding onto the rope.
Something happens when we hold onto the rope though. As we trust in God to hold us up, we aren’t only able to make it through, but God provides something that we never would have received without the rope. We find that our joy and peace is not dependent on life’s circumstances. God, in His infinite mercy gives us a sense of peace. A peace that cannot be explained by human means. A peace that people without a relationship with God cannot understand. This peace is greater than any monetary amount, or peace through a solid career, or even the best marriage. It is an inward peace only provided to those who have a faith in God, or those who hold tightly onto the rope.
The day I lost my job with with my wife in the hospital, We held onto the rope. It wasn’t anything we physically did, it was a faith in God. Both my wife and I held onto a faith in God to provide for us, and He came through, BIG.
So, here I am in the hospital room again watching my wife recover. He is here with me, I know He is. I feel Him in my Spirit. His faithfulness has overcome anything that this crazy world has thrown at us, and His faithfulness will carry us onward through whatever may happen.
I’ve said before that I’m not sure what people do without a relationship with God, and today I’m saying it again. Serving God is not a choice for me, it is my life. I may not be perfect, but God honors a heart after Him.