“God, I thought I was doing what You wanted me to do. I’m in college. I’m engaged to the man You prepared for me to marry. But, I’m in and out of hospitals. No one knows what’s wrong. What do you want me to do?”
I endured three semesters; then, I gave up and went home … a college dropout … a failure at 19.
At home, another hospital and weeks of tests. A few people visit me, but all my friends are away at college. Mama sits with me every afternoon. She still attends my brothers’ baseball games after the hospital. She’s tired … and worried.
My Methodist minister visits me in the hospital. He sits down and begins small talk. He’s uncomfortable. He doesn’t know what to say. He ends our conversation by reciting Isaiah 40:31 and praying for me.
they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
After he leaves, I look up the verse and read it over and over.
Finally, I’m discharged – with no answers. Weeks later, I’m back in the hospital.
There I am in a hospital bed waiting … waiting on the decisive test that could kill me … waiting on God.
“God, all these hospitalizations and doctors are costing Mama and Daddy a fortune and time away from my brothers. I don’t want to be a drain on my family. I don’t want them to have to take care of me all my life. Let me die.”
Tttddpp … tttddpp … tttddpp. Bright eyes peer through my hospital room doorway. A metal crutch crosses the threshhold, then a white-haired man grinning from ear to ear says,
“Hi, I’m Rev. Henry. I’ve been praying for you. May I come in?”
Tttddpp … tttddpp … tttddpp. In walks this white-haired man whose legs don’t work; he’s smiling as if he has the best life in the world.
My life changed that day.
My family did not attend Rev. Henry’s church, but through friends and my father’s co-workers, I was placed on the church’s prayer list.
Rev. Henry visited me faithfully while I was in the hospital.
The decisive test was stopped short. I did not have the disease that would have killed me before I turned 30. We still didn’t know what the problem was, but I slowly got better.
Decades later, I learned that I have Celiac Disease; a gluten-free diet has taken care of that problem.
After the hospital, Rev. Henry discipled me in the lovingkindness of the Lord and showed me that through adversity, God gives His people strength and hope.
God sent my minister to give me my life verse, Isaiah 40:31, just when I needed it.
My gracious Father used the prayers of unknown saints to send Rev. Henry to walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death.
God wasn’t silent. I couldn’t hear Him.
I prayed for death. God gave me life.
Our God who hears and blesses, we praise You for who You are. You are love, sustenance, and power. Your compassions are new every morning. Help us to hear You when we think You are silent. We wait upon You. Work Your perfect plan in us. We want to glorify You in all our thoughts, actions, and words. For You are to be greatly praised. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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