“Early the next morning Abraham got up…” Genesis 22:3
All night long, I walked the floor of the hospital room while our eight-year-old daughter, Emma, slept soundly through the darkness of my pacing. The previous day unfolded as one of the longest ones I had ever experienced. After weeks of nothing more than a low-grade fever, Emma now faced the possibility of eternity.
A CAT scan showed a large abscess deep in her neck. The pediatrician paged a surgeon who arrived within ten minutes. My legs trembled as the surgeon spoke.
“Without surgery she will die.” His words were cutting and without emotion. “Unfortunately, she may not make it through the surgery.”
I stumbled to the phone to call family and friends for prayer. As I dialed each number, I remembered my own words a few days before while teaching a Bible study:
“God doesn’t always choose to heal our loved ones the way we want Him to,” I said. “Sometimes He walks us through the valley of the shadow of death.”
Now I walked the hospital floor wondering if my faith could stand this particular challenge. No longer was I sitting at the feet of Jesus. Now my face pressed hard to His feet in agony.
I had always wondered why Abraham rose early in the morning to offer his son Isaac on God’s altar at God’s request. The obvious choice in my mind would be to linger over coffee and delay the inevitable as long as possible. As I wrestled with the risk of my own daughter’s death, I now understood that Abraham was already awake when morning came. He must have been up all night too with his own questions.
“Why would God take my child?”
“How could God expect me to be okay with this?”
“Doesn’t He care about me or my child?”
The clock registered 2:00 a.m. and I sank onto the couch. I rubbed my weary eyes and wet, teary face. The aroma of hospital disinfectant sickened my stomach. Balanced on the edge of the couch, I heard the quiet voice of God, “If I take her tonight, will you still trust me?” That question had haunted me for hours. Now God seemed to be physically in the room asking one last time.
In desperation, I nodded my head, unable to voice my response. With that affirmation, a sweet peace filled Emma’s room. For three hours, I slept beside her until the clatter of pre-surgery activity frightened me awake.
“The procedure will last a minimum of 4-5 hours and she’ll go straight into the intensive care unit after that.” Then they rolled her away from me. I was helpless and fearful of the possible outcome.
Forty-five minutes later, the phone rang. After such a short time, I knew the worst must have become a reality and deep sobs began to fill each tight breath. Astounded by what had taken place, the doctor stumbled over his words.
“The anesthesiologist found a small spot in Emma’s throat where the abscess had already started draining. We pressed on the abscess and drained it through that opening. No incision, no danger.”
As I placed the phone back on its base I turned and saw in my mind the ram in the thicket that Abraham saw, and knew God had provided. My face at His feet filled me with iron trust, extreme fear, and beautiful praise all in a matter of hours.
Still at Your feet, God. Help me never leave this place where I know my dependence is enormous and Your provision is infinite. I want to share this story and so many others, stories where You are the hero and I, the admiring daughter, the recipient of lavish grace.