My lanky sixteen-year-old son towered over the bed in the darkness. “It hurts,” he said, his hands pressed over his lower abdomen.
It sounded all too familiar, but I didn’t tell him that. Instead, I encouraged him to go back to bed and try to sleep.
In a few hours time, we would catch a flight to Orlando. It had been a last minute decision to take a family vacation over the New Year. My son hadn’t been himself since his appendectomy. “Two or three days in the sun will do him good,” I said to my husband.
Yet, as I tried to get back to sleep, worry filled my mind. His symptoms sounded exactly like those before his appendectomy. I couldn’t understand it. The surgery had been successful. He’d been on antibiotics and been given the all clear by the doctor.
As we drove to the airport in the early morning, Max complained of feeling nauseous. The pain persisted.
We stood in the terminal, bags by our side, boarding passes in our hands. A hard decision had to be made. Should we make our way to sun and fun or not?
Thankfully, we chose not to.
Only a few hours later, Max was being prepped for his second surgery in two weeks. This one more major—an abscess had developed at the surgery site. Part of Max’s intestine needed to be removed, immediately.
As my husband and I sat for over two hours in the waiting room, I prayed. And, I realized, on this occasion, I could do so quite calmly.
This was not the first crisis we had faced with Max. He and his twin brother, at seven-weeks-old, had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. When my husband asked the doctor the prognosis, his words carried no reassurance. “Let’s get through the next twenty-four hours,” he replied.
In those minutes and hours that followed, I relied on other people to pray—leaders at the church we had just started attending, and my family three thousand miles away. I felt too fearful to pray myself.
So, what had happened in those sixteen years that made me able to turn to God and rely on him in the middle of a crisis?
I had been nurturing my relationship with God.
During run-of-the-mill days, I had been connecting with God—talking to him and listening for him. I found time to pray each day, chatting to God like a friend about everything going on in my day. I made the effort to listen for him—reading the Bible and going to church. A verse would stand out and I knew this was God speaking. Words in a sermon would resonate with me and confirm in my heart these were more than the pastor’s remarks.
Without realizing it, doing these things when life was going well meant I was caring for and growing my faith and trust in God, and this was making me stronger so during hard times I could survive.
The Bible describes it as being a tree by a stream:
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8
Is life unexceptional right now? Use ordinary times to deepen your walk with God. Discover more about his faithfulness. Perhaps, join a Bible study where you can learn more, and work through anything you don’t understand or find difficult. Find time to talk to God regularly. Lean into him and ask him to strengthen you now.
My son is now fit and healthy. Yet, I know there will be other hard times ahead. Life’s like that. So, I too am reminded to keep growing my relationship with God.
What steps can you take today to develop your trust in God?
Pop your ideas in the comments below and let’s share some ideas and encourage one another.
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