Little did I know that the drive that should have taken seven or eight hours to get home, and ended up closer to thirteen, was a foreshadowing of the long and exaggerated hours that would punctuate the next week. Other events not originally on our calendar became emergent and non-negotiable, and left us trying to figure out how to cope—each of us individually, but also collectively as a family.
We had stopped part-way through our drive home on a holiday weekend to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants with friends in a city I previously called home. Conversation flowed easily and it warmed our hearts to catch up. We ended our time together with each family asking the other, “How can we pray for you?” We parted company eager to make the last leg of our drive home but looking forward to seeing them again whenever God opened a way.
Within moments of getting back on the interstate, and stuck in traffic (apparently everyone else was driving home after the holiday weekend too!), my husband mentioned chest discomfort. But he is NOT a complainer, so any mention of discomfort or pain is something I know to take seriously with him.
“It’s probably just heartburn,” he said, trying to allay my concerns.
In our 29 years of marriage, I’ve never known him to have heartburn. I messaged my three closest friends and asked them to pray for our travel safety and for his well-being. When we finally pulled into the driveway at home, exhausted, he went straight to bed, still not well.
When he changed the description from “discomfort” to “pain” the next morning, we called his oncologist who had been treating him for cancer over the last several months. She wisely advised him to go straight to the emergency room. By then he had chest pain that radiated up and over his shoulder and down into his back, and he couldn’t get a full breath of air without discomfort.
Blood work was immediately taken, and scans and imaging were run. Staff ran in and out of his room, checking, double checking, and conferring, before he was ultimately diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms, probably due to the chemotherapy thickening his blood. He didn’t care for the treatment but acquiesced: more medication and a multiple day stay in the hospital.
He looked discouraged as he relayed, “I’m sorry Honey.”
Tears formed in my eyes. “You have nothing to be sorry for. You are right where you need to be. I’m thanking God right now that you are here. This could have happened while we were out of town and landed you in a hospital out of state. Your doctor could have listened to you, assumed it was heartburn, and not sent you to the emergency room to be assessed in time. You could have thrown a clot to your heart or your brain. Don’t be sorry. Be thankful. God has taken care of us and we will trust that He will continue to do so.”
What do we do when the diagnosis isn’t what we wanted?
What do we do when the month is longer than the paycheck?
What do we do when the pain and heartache seem too painful to bear?
What do we do when we have more questions than answers?
What do we do when people let us down?
We trust. We trust in a Sovereign God.
We trust in the One who knew the situations that would arise before they ever came to be.
We trust the One who knows all the answers, and who provides all our help.
We stand on His word, we rely on His promises, and we trust His truth.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
The first and best option is always to trust God.
What do you need to trust God for today? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.