By Dawn Reed
Severe pain in my beloved’s leg pushed him to go to the hospital. He had been studying about blood clots for a sermon illustration. Several of his symptoms pointed to that, so he relented and went for a “stat ultrasound” – per his doctor’s request.
Quickly leaving work, I turned on the flashers and headed to him, praying and trying to breathe slowly. I didn’t know what was going on, but there were things I knew …
God is good. Period.
God is faithful. Period.
No matter what. Period.
I found him doubled over in radiology registration.
After a clear ultrasound of his leg (no blood clots-PTL!), we realized his face was drawn and he couldn’t move his arm. In a calm voice, the ultrasound supervisor told me she was going to call a CODE: Stroke. A stroke team rushed in; she asked me to move out into the hall to give them room to work. She led me, then turned and took my hands. “Let’s pray,” she suggested. “Yes!” I whispered, thinking I would do it. Then this kind lady, who was vaguely familiar behind a mask and shield, began a precious prayer for my beloved’s health. I’ll never forget that.
Meanwhile, my beloved was being assessed. He was rolled to a different room for another type of a scan while I was taken to a closet-sized room to wait.
There were two chairs in the closet-sized room. I was in one; the other was empty, but I was not alone and I knew that for a fact.
It was too early to text or call our kids. I didn’t know what was going on yet. I couldn’t contact our deacons or my co-workers because I hadn’t told our son and daughter.
The Lord was with me. Right there. So, I talked to Him. Hushed words rushed out. I would not overthink it. Favorite Bible verses came to mind. I whispered them out loud. The tiny room was now my prayer closet.
Tests were run, scans were contrasted. Ultimately, we know he had another TIA (mini stroke). After several hours, his face became “un-drawn” (if that’s a word) and feeling returned in his side. He would stay overnight for observation.
So often, the greatest battles are fought in the mind. I sometimes have to go through the motions of putting on my helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6). My beloved’s first TIA was in 2002. He was unconscious when I got him to the ER. That was the first time I feared living life without him. Over the last 19 years, he has had ups and downs with his health and several mini-strokes. Thus far, he has survived 100% of them. My daily goal is to not live in fear but live in faith.
It just so happens that I had been studying Paul’s letter to the Philippians. I had been taking apart the first chapter for a week. As my beloved rested in his hospital bed, I pulled my Bible out of my bag.
Paul was writing while under house arrest. He knew through their prayers and the help of the Holy Spirit he would be delivered-but he didn’t know how. I knew that our sheep (our church family) and many others were now praying for my beloved and that the Holy Spirit was helping us. Paul hoped that Christ would be exalted in him, whether by life or death. We want to exalt Jesus in our lives, but He can also use our deaths for His glory.
Paul went on, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor me. Yet what shall I choose? ... Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” (vs. 21-22, 27).
Whatever happens…even if it is your worst fear.
Conduct yourselves…even if you don’t feel like it.
In a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ … our goal in this life.
God’s Word is amazing and applicable! Good medicine for the soul.
P.S. My beloved is recovering and doing well. He is constantly tired and a bit sluggish, as is usual after a TIA. We are thankful.
Dawn Reed is a pastor’s wife and a newspaper columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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