|"For You have been a safe place for me,|
A good place to hide.
Strong God, I'm watching You do it,
I can always count on You, God -
My dependable love..."Psalm 59:16,17
What a winter this has been. All around me people are dropping like flies to some mysterious upper respiratory infection that hits hard and stays much longer than expected. For many elderly people I know, this infection hit unexpectedly and invaded the lungs with a ferocity that sometimes stole the very breath of life from its victims. I have several friends that did not survive the attack of this deceptive and dangerous invader.
Battling this infection myself, I found myself sitting in the cold, sterile halls of an emergency room recently for over five hours. Silly me. When I arrived at the ER, I noticed with relief that there were only three people sitting in the waiting room ahead of me. Ahh, I said to myself, I will be in and out of here in no time! Five and a half hours later, I finally went home. Grateful to have medicine in hand and a relatively non-threatening diagnosis, I was grateful to be going home and not to a hospital. It seems like hospitals are some of the most dangerous places to be if you want to survive.
The kernal of this story that I want to tell you about, though, is how God met me in the cold, lonely halls of the Emergency Room and cared for me and "loved on me" right in that place when I needed Him most. It is an experience I do not want to forget...
To give you a little background, I do not live close to any relatives, none of my children or grandchildren are close by for me to call on for help at times like this. Not wanting to pay for an ambulance to take me there, I drove myself to the ER and sat alone in the waiting room and then in the examining room for what seemed to be forever. Time passes very slowly when you are alone and not feeling well. A perfect set up for a pity party. Of course, I began to consider my circumstances, and, finding them very bleak, began to feel very, very alone in the world and, being sick, I felt extremely vulnerable. Ever been there?!
Not one to stop at the first sign of trouble, I forged ahead in my imagination, filling my mind with "what ifs" to keep me company. What if I need surgery? What if I have cancer? Or, Pneumonia (the untreatable, fatal type, of course!) What if I don't make it? After all, I have several friends that did not. I could go on and on, but it is enough to say, I got myself pretty wound up with all of the possibilities of certain disaster waiting for me around the corner. What made it all worse, though, was that I was feeling distinctly Alone, with a capital A. To drive that feeling home, the doctor taking my history looked at me and asked, as if he, of course, could tell, "Do you live alone?!" That confirmed it. Everyone knows I'm all alone! I didn't like answering that question in the affirmative. It only drove home my feeling of isolation when I so wanted to be loved and cared for at that very moment.
As the doctor left the room for another hour saying he would be "right back" I was overcome with feelings of needing comfort and love. My heart turned in the direction of the Lord. I do find that it is when I feel the most desperate and in need of help, my prayers are the most honest and real. Speaking to God as my dear friend, I asked Him to help me in that situation, admitting how alone I felt and how overwhelmed. Immediately, I mean immediately, Jesus spoke to my heart as clear as if he was standing right next to me. In fact, that is exactly how I felt. He told me I was not alone at all, that He was right there in that room with me, taking care of me, holding on to me, owning me as His own. I kid you not, I broke out in a huge smile and instantly began to feel His Presence comforting me and loving me more perfectly than I could even imagine. I knew that He was with me. I was not alone and I knew it very deeply. The nurse came in to take my blood pressure which had been slightly elevated when I first came in and told me it was the lowest it has been in many years. She must have wondered what had happened to me in the time since she had seen me earlier! I almost could not stop smiling!
I hope today, wherever you are, whatever you are going through, you will turn your heart in God's direction and listen for His voice singing His love song over you. You are never alone with God. He is a "safe place" in the middle of whatever storm you may be facing. He loves you. You can depend on it. He is right there waiting for you to turn to Him. He is our safety in the time of trouble. A hiding place for us to run to and rest in until we are recovered. He is "my always dependable love..." May you call out to Him and find Him right there, holding you, comforting you, washing you all over with His love. You are safe in the shelter of His wings...