I’m sitting here in the waiting room of a cardiology group watching television coverage of the approaching storm in the northeast, Sandy, the one called “perfect.” The calls going out now as they have several days to those who live in the hurricane's path to stock up on food, water, batteries and to take evacuation warnings seriously.
On the other side of the door to my left, my husband is being interjected with radioactive material in preparation for a nuclear stress test. The chest pain he had a few days ago while exercising mandates this medical procedure.
I wonder if a perfect storm might be brewing in his arteries. Has the 40% blockage discovered during the stenting of another artery after a heart attack seven years ago now morphed into a nearly total occlusion? (Why did he have to eat that fried chicken?) How does one prepare for this kind of storm?
A trip to the grocery or home improvement store just won’t do it. But really, those kinds of preparations aren’t all that is needed for a meteorological storm either.
The artery in question behind the heart can’t be stented—only bypassed—a solution no one looks forward to which involves an incision right down the middle of the chest. Open heart surgery.
What provisions can one hide away for these moments of wondering and waiting?
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Lest fear become a runaway train, I return to the words which strengthen and sustain me—the promises of God, because “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Promises like, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
It is in moments like this I find in a real way that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, through the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, through its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1).
As I watch the newscast, one reporter stands in the middle of what appears to be a snowstorm, but in fact is sea foam churned from the raging waters behind him.
When the anxiety churns out of my own rising waters, and I wonder if the door will open, and a nurse step out to inform me there’s been a problem during the test, I remind myself to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ, to take my refuge in Him. When I do, I rest.
We’ve just returned from the meeting with the Doctor. Jerry's tests revealed no blockage greater than 70%, which for now means no surgery, and no more procedures. For that, we give thanks.
And we know these results are God’s mercy, not because we deserve a good report, but simply a matter of grace.
Every day we have is a gift.
A thousand miles away from the center of the storm, the wind blows at thirty miles an hour outside my window.
It reminds me of those still in the path of Sandy, the tempest described as nothing like we’ve seen in our lifetime.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns” (Philippians 4:6 The Message).
My prayers continually go up for those facing the wind right now that they also “…may receive mercy and find grace to help …” in this very real time of need (Hebrews 5:16).