Recently my daughter, Beth, spent a week in the hospital. She was admitted on an emergency basis following a visit to the doctor's office for abdominal pain and vomiting. While in "emergency" her white cell count was discovered to be 26; antibiotics and fluids were administered immediately. The picture above was taken as she was being released. As you can see she is smiling; but this return to health came only after five days of treatment, tests, scans, and a considerable amount of anxiety and worry....
Her recovery didn't come immediately. In fact, even though she is now home; a follow up visit with a surgeon has resulted in gallbladder surgery now being scheduled. We pray that the removal of her gallbladder will fully take care of the problem.
The gallbladder was actually not the initial concern: One doctor suspected a bowel obstruction. One thought the problem might be related to the appendix. Still another thought a bad virus was at the heart of the problem. But as four days of testing, treatment, and periods of improvement and relapse went by, her mother and I waited. More specifically, we waited and prayed. For you see nothing is more stressful than having a loved one in a hospital in a state of uncertainty.
As a pastor I have been aware of this reality for years. The number of times I have visited with families as they waited in a hospital with a loved one, longing to learn the exact diagnosis or prognosis, are countless. I have seen the stress and strain these situations take on loved ones in a state of suspense. But this reality comes home in a much deeper way when it is your own child who is going through a time of trial.
There are many verses that encourage us to wait upon the Lord. One that has been especially meaningful to me during this past week is Lamentations 3:25, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." It's a reminder that it is God's nature and desire to show His goodness unto us. It is also a reminder that it is our job to seek Him and wait for Him." Another great passage is Isaiah 40:31, "But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." In these passages, and many more, we are exhorted to put our trust in the Lord and to wait upon Him.
Obviously, waiting upon the Lord is sometimes a challenging spiritual discipline. But what a day of rejoicing it was as Beth finally "stabilized" and was released to go home. One spiritual writer, who is often an encouragement to me, says that, "peace only comes when we are able to place the 'outcomes' of our life circumstances in the hand of God." For us, the outcome for Beth was a good one; but is was only after a period of waiting that we were able to discover that this would really be true. The lesson for all of us is such a simple one: Wait upon the Lord!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.