Abide…surrender…joy…it’s amazing to experience how the Lord uses trials to draw us closer to Him and walk boldly in faith. I recently had such an experience when I experienced a health crisis. While at work in late October, I was suddenly hit with excruciating abdominal pain and nausea. My symptoms worsened and a rare, life-threatening obstruction was discovered -- I needed to have emergency surgery. As a nurse in the surgical department, I suddenly found myself a patient in our department. As I waited to speak with the surgical team, I reflected on seeing the Lord’s hand on everything that led up that point and was reminded of the His faithfulness in the past. I knew He would continue to be faithful. I went into the operating room with His courage and was reminded of Joshua 1:9 hanging in our family room: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I woke up after surgery and was comforted by seeing my co-workers’ and Jason’s faces. I was then admitted to the hospital to recover.
As an active person recovering from major surgery being connected to lines and tubes and needing assistance to do the smallest things was difficult. I wanted to drink water, eat food, use the restroom without help, sleep soundly, and my surgical incision to heal overnight! Faced with the uncertainty of my health and separation from my family in the loneliness of my hospital room, I cried out to the Lord to be filled with His peace. I prayed to be filled with His strength to face the challenging road to recovery. The Lord heard my cry and met me in the day-time busyness and late-night stillness of my hospital room. I experienced beautiful quiet and still moments as the Lord filled me with His peace. He reminded me of the scripture I had prayed as theme verses for the upcoming year on my birthday, a week ago. My fears, loneliness, and doubts were replaced by the rest and peace found in abiding in Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
and John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
He called me to surrender it all to Him and to keep my focus on Him, not on myself. I continued to trust in His goodness, love, and faithfulness. He wasn’t a distant Savior but understood what I was experiencing as He carried me through. His promises were the lifeboat I clung onto in the ocean of uncertainty I found myself. In my humility and weakness, He filled me with His strength. His grace was sufficient for me!
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in the weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
With the Lord’s strength, I was able to eat, walk longer distances, rest, and recover. I was so grateful for the small things and able to experience joy in the midst of my trial. I knew no matter the outcome, His love and my salvation would remain. I found joy in His grace and presence!
The Lord was also working in my husband and children’s lives, and He used fellow believers, friends, and co-workers to show us His love, comfort, and support. After 4.5 days I was discharged and filled with joy to be healthy enough to go home to my family. We were also grateful to have my mom’s help, who flew immediately from California to be with us. My recovery didn’t end when I left the hospital, He continues to refine and equip me to do His will (it is a continuous story!). I am reminded that the hope and joy found in His peace, grace, and presence transcends the trials we experience. I am thankful that I can hold onto His promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us, a reason to rejoice always! I pray that His power and glory is evident when I share my experience with others, and through the continuous work He calls me to do.
“When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will be not be burned;
The flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV
Same old kinda day. Dropped of my grandson, Conner, at school for another day of middle school. The usual chatter on the way, about movies and YouTubers and music. Then all of a sudden, we’re at the school and he tumbles out with his backpack that is almost his size.
“Remember Jesus loves you today,” I call as he closes the car door. And quickly I’m on my way back home. It’s a country road to the school and back, with horses and cows and various crops that have been shaved off the earth since the harvests. Quiet.
Then, just like that, I turn left on Route 17 south and everything is fast and busy in a four-lane kind of way. At that moment the morning sun was just in that spot where I was completely blinded by its radiance. I was jolted into utter blindness. What if there is a car going slowly in front of me. Panic.
92 million miles away, there was a powerful ball of energy that was blinding me right here on 17 South. Apparently, the light left its source 8 minutes ago, and here it was! I glanced down at the line on my left, outside the driver’s side window so I could get my bearings. Rats! I had those dark blinky blotches in my eyes so could hardly make out the lines. Of course, my sunglasses were somewhere in the bottom of my purse, and I was not about to search for them with one hand, when I was already sun blinded. I did take driver’s ed.
In a reflex action I reached up and pulled down my hopeless little unused visor over the steering wheel on my tiny car, not expecting much help. Suddenly, that little postage stamp of a visor fixed everything. The light which had travelled 92 million miles was blocked out by that visor. I could see the road! I had my vision and equilibrium back. Whew.
I know you know where I’m going with this – so let’s just do it.
How many times in the course of my day, when the glory of 93 million miles of love, sacrifice and amazing grace blasts into my everyday life, do I just flip down my visor of impatience, distrust, doubt and laziness and block out the whole thing? Something goes wrong and I flip down that visor. My feelings are hurt, and I let that tiny square darken everything. I lose my sense of direction and blame the light.
It wasn’t until I got home and saw on my calendar that today is Epiphany, that I just had to chuckle. I think I just got Epiphanied! You’ll see on most calendars that Epiphany is celebrated January 6. There are many church traditions around this, but it literally means “reveal” and celebrates the arrival of the Maji, who had been following the star from afar to see Emmanuel; God with us. When light breaks through, like the star, we have an epiphany. And sometimes that light can be blinding.
Here you can read perspectives on life, ministry and God's Word from a variety of PCC's female leaders.