We worship a God of miracles. And I have witnessed many of those miracles – some dramatically ‘large’, some unassumingly ‘small’ – all faith-sustaining. I find it extraordinarily rare though, to see a miracle answered with immediate results???
Me – “God, I need such-and-such.”
God – “Well sure Christyn, here you go!”
And poof!! The once-unattainable miracle appears before my eyes.
Like I said, rare. The kind of rare I witnessed last week….
A child with chronic pancreatitis was hospitalized in San Antonio from out of town. Her body revolting in her diseased state while waiting for desperately needed treatment. I received a call from the hospital informing me of this child’s precarious circumstance. So, Rebecca and I headed to the medical center, armed with Rebecca’s Wish information and a card containing our Adopt-A-Family $1000.00 check.
As I opened the door to the patient’s hospital room, a vision of my life a mere few years ago flashed before me: The eerily silent room clothed in inky shades of dark, silent and dark by necessity to erase all interference of outside stimulation. An exhausted mother resting on a make-shift couch bed with cheap, itchy, overly-bleached white hospital blankets haphazardly thrown across the stiff plastic, faded orange cushion. The 12-year-old girl curled in a fetal ball from excruciating after-procedure pain, hooked to an IV pump coursing sanity-saving narcotics through her veins.
Yes, this was my life. The same room, same silence, same darkness, same blankets, same couch, same IV pump, same narcotics, same exhaustion, same pain cycle over and over and over…..
PTSD waves rippled through my body and instinctively, my legs refused to move forward. Why in the ever-loving world would I walk back into a scene I prayed for years to be delivered from??? I assuaged my rising panic only by repeating to myself, “this is not about you, this is not about you, this is not about you, this is about the hurting family in front of you, this is not about you…”
Because who better to understand a mother’s pain than a mother who shares the same pain?
So with new-found confidence, I marched in the room and landed on one of the itchy blankets right next to the frazzled mother. The mother who used to be me.
Trying to lesson my assault on the silence barrier, I quietly explained to the mother about our charity. How Rebecca’s Wish started, and its purpose. I informed her she was now a part of a family who understands her, who supports her, who prays for her and above all – who loves her.
With an all-familiar look of ‘post-child’s-pancreas-procedure-shock”, she whispered a thank-you and nodded her head as I handed her our card.
As Rebecca and I prepared to leave, I jolted upright as a sudden cry shattered the silence. Turning quickly, I witnessed the mother hunched over wailing, her chest heaving with ear-piercing sobs. It was alarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I rushed back down upon the tangled, itchy blankets and wrapped my arms around this hurting woman’s weary body. For eight full minutes, I held this stranger in my arms. For eight full minutes, I let her tears stain my shoulder. For eight full minutes, she unleashed emotions while repeating, “you have no idea, you have no idea…”
As her body calmed, she told her story:
Her daughter was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis at the age of 4. And although the family lived hours away, San Antonio was their closest hope for treatment. For years they made the trek back and forth from emergency room to emergency room, by car or by ambulance. Their daughter had been in remission until last week, when the child’s undeniable pancreas pain hit with full-force. The mother could not miss work – the father could not miss work and yet they could no longer wait to treat this relentless disease. So, the mother drove her daughter to San Antonio for yet another procedure, yet another set-back.
5 minutes before we walked into her room she had a conversation with her husband and told him they were out of money.
5 minutes before we walked into her room she said she needed an advance on her salary to pay for the expenses to get her daughter home.
5 minutes before we walked into her room her husband said they needed to pray to God for a miracle.
And 5 minutes later complete strangers walked into her room with an unexpected miracle of $1000.00.
Rebecca and I had no plans to be at the hospital that day, much less that night, much less that hour, much less the 5 minutes God happened to orchestrate the delivery of His miracle.
This family prayed in their desperation and God found a way to answer that prayer.
And our faith was strengthened.
Yes, my God is still faithful even if strangers do not walk into a room delivering $1000 a mere 5 minutes after asking.
But there was no denying in this circumstance that God was making a profound statement to this family by breaking the silence barrier with a loud shout declaring, “I hear your cries. You are not alone. For I AM with you. Through your pain, through your disease-ridden body, through your heartache, and even through your financial crises – I AM with you.”
Thank you Lord, for that unexpectedly miraculous reminder.
“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.