I’m not one who usually remembers dates well, but today’s date is one I don’t think I’ll soon forget. It’s been a year to the day. Not a day or a season I really want to remember, yet painful enough that I don’t want to forget the lessons I learned.
I had just returned from a writer’s conference, so amazed by the unique and marvelous ways God had shown himself to me there. I was ready to return to my dream of writing the book God had laid on my heart years before. I had renewed hope, and I had plans!
I was in my office seeing patients, when I was overtaken by sharp shooting pain. I kept on seeing patients, pushing through the pain and ignoring my body, like I’m so accustomed to doing. Suddenly it became obvious that something was terribly wrong.
I surreptitiously escorted my patient out of my office to schedule her next appointment. Immediately bee-lining it back to my office, I met my husband at the back door of the office as he was walking in. “Something’s not right” was all I could explain before the pain intensified, I began vomiting, and fainted.
We decided I just needed to go home and rest, but on the short drive home the pain worsened to the point of taking my breath. There was no going home, but rather, straight to the emergency room. We didn’t know it then, but it would be the first of five visits to an ER, resulting in three hospitalizations and two surgeries.
The next four months were some of the most difficult times in my life: physically incapacitated, unable to work, forced bed-rest, and at times very close to death and seeing no answers in sight. My weight dropped to a dangerously low 74 pounds. Unable to hold down food or drink, I was sustained by IV hydration and nutrition, but so dehydrated most of the time that I was bruised up one side and down the other from all the needle sticks just trying to find a viable vein for an IV.
The road back to health was long. Many days felt like I was in battle for my very life. There were some days I wasn’t sure it was worth the fight. I hardly recognized the frail image in the mirror staring back at me. Many prayed for healing for me. When I wasn’t vigilant, thoughts crept in making me wonder why I knew of God healing others but not me.
Days ran into weeks, and I generally lost perspective of time. A natural born “do-er,” it was painful to lay there, hooked up to machines, void of any remnants of my normal life. I couldn’t do much physically, but I could read, pray, and listen. I read and read…the Bible and so many other books that I lost count about God and his character and his desires for his children. I prayed continually. I watched and listened to old sermons of favorite preachers and teachers of the word. As friends would share scripture with me that particularly spoke to me, I’d look up the passage, write it down on a post-it note, and stick the notes up anywhere around my room where I would see them and meditate on their truth.
I have come to realize over the past year, that God desires for all of his children to be in full health. He wants healing for us more than we want it for ourselves. More importantly, however, God desires a relationship with us more than he desires our healing. Those months of illness and recovery were painful, to be sure, but they gave me intense time in God’s presence and created an intimacy with Him that I never knew was possible.
It’s not lost on me that this anniversary date comes at the start of Easter weekend. Because of what He did in and for me during this past year, this date can be one of celebration. For surely, “what satan intended to harm me, God intended for good” (Genesis 50:20). What held true 2000 years ago holds true for me this year: I sing Hallelujah, The Lamb has overcome!