I have a little story to share that some might shrug off as the eccentric musings of another gullible woman who has convinced herself that God is real and that He works among His people.
But I don’t mind.
I want to share it anyway because I hope that what I experienced today will bring those of you who are walking through difficult times a ray of hope that God is listening and that He always hears…
He is real. He is near. He is good.
I’ll prove it to you.
Mr. Gore and I had escorted Miss Sunday once more to the orthopedic doctor in Tulsa this morning. I haven’t updated her broken finger situation since our initial experience, but to keep a long story short, things went awry in her splint. Thus, one week ago, I held her in my lap as the doctor manually “reset” her wickedly jacked up finger. Like…snap, crackle, pop, followed by one straight hour of painful sobs and tears. It was a nightmare and to be honest, I’ve had trouble waking up from it. My heart has been continually heavy over the whole thing, sad that it happened, eager for it to be a distant memory.
And most of all, my confidence has been shaken. I rejoiced so heartily with her first good report. I allowed my heart to feel such relief. I thought this very uncomfortable situation was nearly over. And so great was my disappointment that it was not.
I found myself very much dreading our trips to the doctor, expecting the news to be worse and worse as my imagination carried me away to ridiculous conclusions involving ugly medieval amputation devices and gangrene and oozing and bleeding and in the end, heartache. (What?! I never said I was normal). The night before our appointments, I sit in bed, taking deep breaths as I try to cast my cares upon the Lord, remembering distantly through my self-indulgent anxiety that He cares for me. How difficult is the work of convincing your heart of the truth when your heart is in distress; mine is chasing after a fair-haired girl, begging her to be careful, bathing her with love and hope, wishing it could erase her pain. Convincing that doubtful and sinful heart of the faithfulness and care of the God of the universe has been heavy combat, indeed.
Today was no better. As we approached the hospital, my stomach began to clench in dread and anxiety, fearing what might be in store for my brave little girl. I just wanted to cry or throw up or grab the steering wheel and turn us in the other direction.
“No more of this!” I thought. “We have baby dolls to play with and pictures to draw and dresses to try on – no more hurt fingers!”
And in the x-ray waiting room, my fears mounted and it was all I could do to sit up straight and smile at the other patients and staff in the room. Finally, I looked at my husband and said “Chris, will you pray for me?”
“Why?” he asked.
“I’m just…sick on the inside. I feel so anxious.” I replied.
“Yeah…” he chuckled, used to this kind of behavior from me. Ever the practical one, he is able to go to a routine broken finger check-up without the shroud of death enveloping his countenance and attitude. I assumed that he didn’t understand I really needed him to pray for me, but I didn’t press him, and we both carried on with what we were doing, him fiddling with his Kindle, me digging in my purse, my stomach still tight with worry.
But then, something quite amazing happened. Out of nowhere, in a great and sudden rush, every last ounce of fear and unease just flushed right out of me. “Peace like a river” is exactly right ~ starting at my shoulders and covering my soul with comfort and reassurance, the peace of God washed over me, numbing what was hurting and replacing it with a delicious quietude that I can’t fully explain.
My head shot up with a start and before I could even open my mouth, Mr. Gore, still looking at his Kindle, said “You have been prayed for.”
My thoughts began to intersect: Did that just happen? Where did my anxiety go?! Is my husband a wizard? Does God really care about me??…
“Chris!” I exclaimed in a jumble of words. “I have absolutely zero bad feelings left. It just left me in a complete rush!”
He looked up from his book. “Really?” he smiled.
“Yes!” I almost shouted. “I mean, its gone! What in the world??”
“What?” he asked. “Praying works?”
“That’s great!” he affirmed.
“Its amazing!” I agreed, speechless and shocked.
I just sat there in awe until they called Rebekah’s name. I will admit, I did try to bring my anxiety back to prove that I was just playing mindgames with myself, but nope – it was gone. It had been chased away by Someone much greater and stronger than me…
Someone who has my back when I am so down…
Someone who defends me when I am being taunted by the dog of this world who says God is not real and doesn’t care about us…
Someone who delivers every time.
I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried and believe me, I wouldn’t want to; for the greater part of my life, 51% of me believes while the other 49% of me doubts. There is a side to me that begs for this religion of God and the Bible and heaven and hell to be just what Karl Marx calls it, an “opiate for the masses” because, let’s face it, it is exceedingly difficult for skeptics and sinners to die to themselves and to give up everything to follow Him…
But then in a tiny waiting room in a small city in a small state, an insignificant nobody has her silly prayer for peace answered the minute it is requested. Grace for each moment.
And this skeptic and sinner says once more…
God is real. God is near. God is good.