I blogged a while ago about the experience of Praying in Hospital Corridors.
My mum was taken unexpectedly ill and for about 8 hours, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. Late on Sunday night, we finally got a diagnosis. It was a scary diagnosis, but nowhere near as scary as it might have been. I drove out of the deserted hospital car park at 11.30pm, shattered and exhausted, but repeating over and over, ‘thank you Jesus…thank you Jesus’,
I didn’t know what was to follow.
Over the next two weeks, it seemed as though every phone call and visit resulted in something worse. Her kidneys weren’t working properly, then she was retaining fluid and needed a heart scan. And more antibiotics. And then she had pneumonia. And she definitely had pleurisy. And hey, while we were on, how about a wee dose of MRSA?
My mum is an amazing active force for good – everyone knows her as the one who fixes things for others; whether it’s a house that needs cleaning, a meal that needs cooking, a person who needs loving…she can do it all. Watching her sit in her hospital chair, doped up on powerful drugs, barely able to communicate was a very difficult experience.
Each night I’d go home, conscious of a God closer than He’d ever been. There was not an audible answer or a lighting bolt of assurance, but there was a sense that somehow or other, we’d be ok.
Even as each day seemed to churn up something new, there was a sense, almost a voice in my spirit; It’ll be ok. It’ll be ok.
Even if not’s ok, it’ll still be ok.
And that’s the hardest part of this faith journey, clinging to God even when things appear to be getting worse, even when they are way, way worse than you expected.
But God is still there in the middle of the muddle. I can’t describe His presence in any other way except to say He centres me, He makes me whole, He brings reason and calm in the insanity.
Today, several months after being released from hospital, my mum is almost back to normal, fixing things, sorting stuff out, making things right for other people.
But I’m conscious for many others, that lately, life has not been ok. The worsening situation became the worst thing in the world, the arguments became a breakup, the money shortage became a mortgage nightmare, the cancer came back.
I can’t offer trite responses to terrible messes like these. I won’t even try.
But the God who walks with us through all the highs, also walks with us through the lows.
The God who hears midnight panicked prayers is also there in the silence, when it feels as though no one can possibly understand.
The God who designs and forms new life, also holds our hands as we walk (stagger) into the next one.
He’s the God of calm, when everything is exploding, imploding or apparently being destroyed.
He’s the God of order, when a situation like a tsunami threatens to sweep us away.
He’s the God of peace, the kind of peace that defies all logical attempts to explain it.
It will be ok.
Even if it’s not ok. Even if this life is winding down. Even if it’s not the ending you wanted or the outcome you expected.
With God in the middle of it all, it can still be ok.
It’s not about blindly ignoring the circumstances, or never experiencing horrendous pain and grief. But it is about knowing and experiencing the love of God, which holds us together, even when all is lost.