We were Missouri residents now. Autumn splashed across the countryside, and we were transfixed. Rolling hills of green trees transformed into a colorful quilt of oranges, yellows, and fiery reds. We’d never seen such beauty. I found myself pulling to the side of the road and parking just to gaze in awe at a tree ablaze in brilliant color.
But, the best site of all were Midwest thunderstorms. We would gather the kids and sit by the front window or sliding patio door. We watched lightning split the sky. We marveled at the booming ear shattering thunder as it tumbled through the heavens followed by a deluge of rain. Our street turned into a stream. We loved every minute. It was the best fireworks display we’d ever seen.
Mike started work at the Sheriff’s department on September 15th. The boys enrolled in school. We unloaded a few boxes and set up our temporary household. The search for a permanent home continued.
At the end of September, my dad fell from a ladder. The doctors insisted he stay in the hospital. My parents lived in Santa Barbara, California. The diagnosis was a mild concussion at first, and the doctors thought Daddy would recover after a day or two in the hospital. But, dizziness and nausea continued. Mom and I called back and forth through the week.
On October 2nd, I got a call from my mom. “Mary Ellen, your dad’s had a cerebral hemorrhage. He’s gone into a coma, and the doctors aren’t expecting him to live through the night. Can you come?” Her voice wavered to a whisper. “Please come.”
“Oh, Mom,” I said, wiping away tears with my free hand. I didn’t want to ask any more questions. I didn’t think I could take in any more details. “I will talk to Mike, and I will call you back. Is anyone else there with you?” I asked, hoping my brother or sisters were there.
“Ginny and Johnny are on their way,” she said.
When I got off of the phone, I fell into Mike’s arms and sobbed. “Daddy is in critical condition. He’s not expected to live, and Mom wants me to come.” My body trembled as I tried to calm down. I needed to think.
“What are you going to do?” he asked handing me his handkerchief.
“I don’t know. I am going to pray. Keep an eye on Sarah. I need to talk to God about this.”
I turned, grabbed my Bible, and walked down the hall to our bedroom.
Once I shut the door, I threw myself on the bed and cried into my pillow. My Bible lay open beside me.
“God, I don’t know what to do. Mike just started his new job. He can’t go with me, and he can’t stay home with the kids.” I rolled up on my side and blew my nose again. “Mom wants me to come, but I don’t know how to make that happen. What is Your will? I need to know whether to go or stay. Help.”
I looked around and found my Bible. It lay open at the end of the bed. When I looked down, right at the top of the page was the heading, ‘Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant.’
Matthew 8:5-10, 13
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!…
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
“God, is this the story You want me to see?”
He didn’t speak, but peace flooded my soul. I knew God was telling me I didn’t need to go. I knew He was taking care of Daddy.
I called Mom back. “Mom, I am not coming. I talked to God and Mike about it, and I believe Daddy is going to be okay.” There was silence at her end of the phone.
“I hope he will be,” she said stifling sobs.
“Keep me posted.” I said. “Have Ginny call me when she gets there. We will be praying for you and Daddy. Give him our love.”
Both my sister and brother arrived later that day to be with Mom.
Several days passed. Dad got restless and started responding to voices. They’d ask him questions, and he squeezed their hands. Hope was restored.
The doctors decided to do surgery. They inserted two tubes in his head to drain some of the fluids and reduce the pressure on his brain. By Saturday he started coming out of the coma and was able to talk a little.
At the same time, however, his breathing got erratic, and they wanted to put him on a respirator, but he refused. He and Mom decided to leave his recovery in God’s hands.
Again, Mom called. I still felt peace about not going and faith for his healing.
“God, do whatever will bring You the most glory.” I prayed. “He is in Your hands, and I trust You.”
To the amazement of the doctors, Daddy improved.
On November 19th I sent out my monthly letter to friends. I was trying to keep them updated on our move.
“Dad’s out of intensive care as of last Tuesday,” I wrote. “He is growing stronger each day. He is walking with a walker, feeding himself, shaving and doing many other things the doctors felt he’d never do again. We are all so grateful. Thank you for your prayers.”
Later Daddy moved to a rehab center and returned home after Christmas.
This is Daddy after the hospital stay.
God carried us through another test of faith. We grew closer to Him, to each other, and our trust in His faithfulness increased.
~~ How About You? ~~
What do you do when you face crisis decisions? Do you run to God in prayer or do you call friends or put out an S.O.S. on Facebook, etc.? What do you do when someone significant to you asks you to do one thing, but God indicates your need to do another?
I’ve found that God is the only One who brings the answers I need. While God can and does speak to us sometimes, there are other times that He chooses to envelop us in His presence. At those times it is the peace of His presence that answers our questions.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
And in Colossians 3:15 in the Amplified says,
“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body.”
God once told me, “I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine. Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish. Ask My Spirit to control your mind, so that you can think great thoughts of Me. The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work. Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worry, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention.”
Have you experienced His peace in times of crisis? Has He given you the direction that proved to be true? I’d love to hear your story. Please leave a comment.