Run, Walk, Crawl, or be Carried. Just Come.
I felt it as a young mom, pregnant, with a 2 ½-year-old. At 12 weeks along, I went to the doctor. No heartbeat. I was devastated.
I felt it almost a year and a half later when our next child was born. Because I had unknowingly developed acquired hemophilia during the pregnancy and then had a last-minute C-section, I nearly lost my life hours after the delivery. For almost a month, I was hospitalized while doctors tried to keep me alive long enough to correct the hemophilia.
I felt it again about 21 years later when that baby I had delivered, took his life. At times I felt like a horrible mom that I let my son die.
What was I sensing? A deep sense of spiritual need—of God’s presence--as surely as I needed the air I breathed.
In times of great need, sometimes I was able to draw near to God to sense His presence.
Getting back to my acquired hemophilia, I was flown to a large university hospital for treatment. However, I continued to bleed internally and soon developed a huge blood clot, about two Liters in size. It was crushing some of my organs and cutting off the blood supply.
The doctors said it was too risky to remove it, then a few hours later said I would die if they didn’t. They gave me a 40% chance of not leaving the operating room (OR) alive. As I was wheeled into OR, for a few moments I felt a sense of isolation.
I had just said goodbye to my husband for what could be the last time. I had dictated notes for my parents and for our two sons, ages three and newborn, in case I did not survive the surgery.
But once we entered OR, busy with medical staff, my mind got busy as well. From my memory, I pulled up one of my favorite Psalms with its comforting truths.
Psalms 27 starts by saying, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" My husband was not allowed in surgery, I could not bring a Bible with me, but I brought a whole collection of verses that I had memorized by the chapter since I was in my 20’s. God’s Word met my need.
I realized again we never know when we will be in a situation where we won’t have access to God’s word, yet we will desperately need it.
We never know when we will be in a situation where we won’t have access to God’s word, yet we will desperately need it.
A Spiritual Paralytic
Yes, sometimes in time of need I was able to draw near to God’s presence. Sometimes I wasn’t.
Do you remember the story in the New Testament (Mark 2:1-5) when Jesus was teaching in a crowded house? Some men wanted to bring their friend to Jesus to be healed. The man was paralyzed, unable to make his way to Jesus by himself. But he needed to see Jesus, for only Jesus could speak the words that would bring healing and life.
Sometimes we are hurting and traumatized so much we are unable to ‘go’ to Jesus on our own. Perhaps we need the help of a friend or a resource to get us there.
After our son died, I was so distressed, I was like the paralytic. I could not make my way to Jesus on my own. Reading scripture, reviewing encouraging poems I had written and given to others, praying--all felt meaningless.
At the funeral, a friend gave me the devotional book, Jesus Calling by Sara Young. Somehow, it spoke to me through my pain. Each day I read a page and choose a verse to focus on and keep uppermost in my thoughts. It was like pain relief for my soul. It provided truth I desperately needed. Equally important, it stopped me from obsessive thinking.
It was a friend, knowing I was in deep pain and that I needed Jesus’ healing touch, who gave me a resource to help ‘carry’ me to Jesus.
There is no shame in paralysis. We were not created to bear the traumas this broken world throws at us. But when we are hurting, we need to get to Jesus. Run, walk, crawl, or be carried by others. Get into God’s Word, renew our awareness of Christ’s presence, and be renewed.
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Psalm 107:20 ESV
When has God’s Word and the awareness of Christ’s presence been your strength in difficult times?
(Adapted from a talk given to Stephen Ministers about my book, Never Alone: gentle reminders of God’s presence and love)