While walking into the opening session of a conference, my husband’s cell phone rang. He answered the call, then as the emcee welcomed us to the weekend, Brad leaned over and whispered in my ear. “Preston fell on a rock at camp. They’re taking him to urgent care to get stitches in his chin.”
Deep breath in.
Less than an hour later, my husband’s phone rang again. “The doctor said Preston actually broke his jaw. They need us to pick him up and take him to Charlotte. He might need surgery.”
Gripped by his words, I struggled to think clearly … A broken jaw? Surgery? It was supposed to be just a few stitches! Bags were packed quickly and by the time darkness fell, Charlotte was on the horizon.
The next several hours were a blur of doctors, x-rays, CAT scans and surgery plans. Bad went to worse as we learned that Preston didn’t just break his jaw … he broke it in three places.
Surgery began and the wait was on… and on… and on.
The heart-distance between the operating room and the waiting room was a thousand miles. It killed me to not hold Preston’s hand while his jaw was reconstructed for seven and a half hours.
In the wee hours of morning, surgery was completed. When Preston was wheeled to his room, Brad and I rushed to his side, and though he was heavily sedated, I reached for his hand to assure him he wasn’t alone.
“Preston, I’m right here! I’m right beside you, buddy. We love you and are with you.”
His eyes flickered open for a split second as if to let us know that he heard our love. Then he drifted back into post-surgical sleep.
Several times an hour the nurses came in to check his vitals. I hadn’t slept in nearly a day and was thoroughly exhausted, but each time a nurse entered the room I leapt to Preston’s side and whispered, “I’m right here, Preston! I’m right here. You’re not alone.”
After the third or fourth time of reassuring Preston of my presence, I laid back down and whispered to God through oceans of tears, “Lord, please heal my son! Please heal him.” And in the still of the night, in the quietness of my heart, my soul sensed Him whispering right back to me, “I’m right here, Gwen. I’m right here. For him. For you. You’re not alone.”
My soul heard the voice of Peace speak His presence tenderly to my pain. He heard me. He knew of Preston’s plight. He knew I needed a word of encouragement. Not an audible word – just a heart whisper. He was right by my side. I knew it as I remembered His Word:
“Fear not … I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
There are times when our heart-burdens cry so loudly that we struggle to hear the voice of Peace. There are times we struggle to remember and recognize the unsearchable, inescapable presence of God. Times when prayers seem to go unanswered, and broken situations seem unfixable and painful. Are you there now?
We all know ache.
We can’t get through this life without knowing ache. Thankfully, we’re also invited to know the Healer, and the holy Healer knows all about your heavy heart burdens.
The Bible says that not a tear falls that isn’t known to the Lord. (Psalm 56:8)
Hear His whisper now. Whispers from His Word … from His heart: I will never leave you or forsake you. I know your name and have engraved it on the palm of My hand. I hold your tears in a bottle and ache with you. My grace is sufficient, and I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. I’m right here (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 49:16, Psalm 139, Psalm 56:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, John 14:27, John 16:33).
Dear Lord, Thank You for always being with me and for hearing my prayers.
Please help me to know deeper levels of peace today as I soak in the wonder of your compassion and constant presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
How would your worries look different if you took God at His word and allowed His presence to inform your fears today?
Read Isaiah 43:1-3,5a. Identify the promises found in this passage. Do you believe that this is the heart of God for all His children, including you? If so, leave a comment and say, “I do!”