By: Cheri Fuller
"Prayer, even prayer for what God desires, releases
power by the operation of a deep spiritual law;
and to offer up what one loves may release still more."
My spirits fell like the rain pelting the window beside me. Swallowing a huge lump in my throat, I thought about the yellow Snoopy lunch box our son had picked out, the new jeans and red plaid shirt waiting on his bunk bed for the first big day of school. “Holmes, there’s no way he’ll be well enough to start school!”
“I think we have a lot more to worry about than school,” he bristled. After we got our son all settled in his fifth-floor room, Holmes sent me home to stay with Alison and Chris while he kept vigil next to Justin’s bedside. I just knew he’d be better in the morning. But when I walked in at 8 a.m., Justin was white faced, an oxygen tube in his nose. The muscles in his neck and chest strained as he fought for air. Every breath sounded like a rib-rattling staccato. In spite of other treatments, his condition worsened throughout the day. On his afternoon rounds, Dr. Spencer examined him again, shook his head, and took us out in the hall.
“Something inside his body has got to rally. We’ve done everything I know to do,” he told us.
Stunned, I couldn’t believe what I had heard. My heart raced. The rising anxiety cracked the thin veneer of calm I’d tried so hard to maintain.
“Why don’t you go home for a while?” Holmes said.
“I can’t leave now.”
“You’ve got to nurse Alison and reassure Chris. They haven’t seen you for hours. Besides, you aren’t much help unless you pull yourself together. You’re only making him nervous,” he said.
I hated to leave, but I knew he was right. In a dazed fog, I rode the elevator down and walked out the front door of the hospital. A loud clap of thunder startled me. A slap of cold rain stung my face. I searched up and down the rows of parked cars but couldn’t find our station wagon anywhere. Finally, soaked and shivering, I ran back into the hospital to wait for the storm to let up. Huddling next to the door, I noticed the sign: Chapel.
Reluctantly, I slipped into the empty chapel and was drawn to the large white Bible at the front, open to Psalm 42:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. (v. 5 NIV)
Finally, in the quiet, I prayed, “Lord, I’ve put my hope in the doctor, the medicine, Holmes, and myself to save our son. That’s why I’m in so much despair and fear. I’ve trusted You in some areas of my life, but I’ve clung to my kids, trying to keep them safe. I even dedicated them in a church service, but I never really entrusted them totally to Your care. I’m like the disciples who in the midst of a fierce storm, cried out to Jesus, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ ”
And a quiet inner voice said to me as He had to the disciples,
“Cheri, where is your faith? Peace. . .be still.”
Lightning caused the chapel lights to flicker off and on, and thunder boomed outside, turning my thoughts again to God.
The Creator of the whole universe—in complete command of the thunderstorm outside, yet I couldn’t trust Him with my son’s life. In not releasing him to God’s care, it dawned on me that I was thwarting the very power that could help him.
“Hope in Me,” I felt Him say. “Trust his life to Me totally.”
I bowed my head and this time said, “Father, forgive me for not trusting him to Your care sooner. I forgot that he was Your child first and that You made him. I give him to You, whatever happens.”
As I walked outside something warm began to melt away those icy feelings that had gripped me. The torrent of rain had turned to a drizzle. After searching several rows in the parking lot, I found our car.
I drove up the hill to get on the expressway. When I slowed at the Yield sign, I looked up and was struck by a tiny sliver of terrifically bright sunshine that broke through the black clouds. At that moment, a huge weight lifted inside me and a feeling of peace unlike I’d ever experienced swept through me. Justin was safe and cared for. In some inexplicable way I knew this. . .knew I could trust God with our precious firstborn son.
I spent a happy, unhurried hour with Chris and Alison in our favorite yellow rocking chair at home, munching cheese and crackers and reading Richard Scarry books to them.
An hour and a half later I returned to the hospital and walked into our son’s room. He was sitting up in bed, coloring a picture, and chatting with his grandparents who’d just arrived from east Texas. A smile lit up his rosy face as he asked, “Mom, when can I go home and see Chris and Alison and puppy?” His recovery from that point on was remarkable. Although Justin still battled asthma in the years to come, his treatment never required hospitalization again. When I packed his Snoopy lunch box on his first day of school, I sent him off with a deep sense of peace. I wouldn’t be there to protect him.
But I knew the One who would.
And there wasn’t only healing that took place in our son that day, but also in me because my focus changed from the afflicting problem to God. I saw Him anew as the all-powerful, almighty Lord for whom nothing is too difficult; as I experienced His love in the midst of the crisis, the tight grip of worry about my kids was broken. Just as God reached down inside Justin’s body to restore his breathing and oxygen level, He reached deep inside of me to restore trust. Never again did I respond in panic when he had another asthma attack. As the years passed, our son still had asthma but grew stronger each year. He was a varsity tennis player for his high school and in his forties became a long-distance runner for whom marathons are a breeze—even completing rugged fifty- and seventy-mile trail runs. God has surprises around the bend as we trust Him!
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”