Some of the best – and worst—times in my life have been where there is nothing I can do but pray. It’s that moment when the realization hits me, that the only way I am going to get through a certain situation is to pray. It’s a moment of giving up control (like I ever had it anyway.) It’s a moment of letting everything else go. It’s a moment of saying to God, “I cannot handle this situation on my own. All I know is to give it to You, to trust that You are in control of this situation and that You have the solution.” It’s a moment of complete surrender.
We Americans place high value on self-sufficiency. We have laws in place that place high value on protection, safety, education and health. Access to these things is top priority. As a pharmacist, I often put faith in my own training and understanding. I hate to admit it, but going to God in prayer is often the last thing I do when faced with a difficult situation.
Living and serving in Haiti has required me to give up a lot of these securities. It’s required a deeper faith and trust that God will keep us safe, healthy and provide a way to educate our kids. I often take these things for granted. We’ve made our home here and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Last week was one of those times when all I could do was pray. Early Monday, Rob flew to the US for a week of meetings. It was me and the kids here for 5 days, nothing I haven’t done before! All day Monday and Tuesday nagging discomfort in my back, kind of like muscle spasms. Around 11 pm Tuesday night, I started having heartburn-like pain and by midnight, I was in the worst pain of my life. The Pharmacist in me kicks in, and starts doing everything I know to do for heartburn. By 2 am, nothing has yet worked to relieve the pain. That’s when the worry that it may be something more serious kicks in. You can only imagine what was going through my head: Is this serious? Will I be able to see a doctor, get answers? Will I need to fly to the US for emergency surgery? What about the kids? Rob is not here! It’s not like I can just go to the ER. There is a hospital very close by, but they don’t really have a way to diagnose anything in the middle of the night. Doubled over in pain, I felt it, like a whisper, “Becky, pray…” In the middle of that night, there was no medicine I could take that worked, no doctor to see, no husband to support me through the pain and no solution in sight. All I could do was pray.
I am so thankful I could spend those hours in prayer. What peace and assurance that I was in God’s hands. Prayer took the focus off my extreme pain and worry and put it on Him. Prayer got me thru that painful night.
Later during the night, God let me to an article online that linked heartburn pain to back pain as a gallbladder attack. That provided me a little bit of peace—at least it wasn’t likely to be a serious problem with my heart. In fact, as the sun rose that Wednesday morning, God provided all I needed throughout that day to get answers and relief. My friend and co-worker, Amy, came down to get the kids ready for school. Gary and Marilyn were making phone calls to find out what doctor’s were available for me to see. There were no US doctor’s here that week, but there is a very reputable Haitian doctor in town that was able to see me that morning. The serious pain subsided while waiting for the doctor. Gary and Marilyn were there the whole day, driving the kids to school, taking me to the doctor where he confirmed it was pain in my gall bladder and I had blood tests done. Another missionary friend, Beth, found the one doctor in our local hospital who can do ultrasounds so we could get an image of my gall bladder that morning. By the end of day, I was praising God for how he provided every step of the way.
I am so thankful that the sharp pain subsided that day and the dull pain after a few days. I’m grateful that there was no sign of infection or gall stones and that surgery isn’t needed. I know if it happens again, it might be a sign that surgery is needed, but I’ll take it one step at a time. I am so thankful for the peace God gave me.
I am so thankful I can go to God in prayer. I am thankful for those moments, however painful (literally!) they may be, that He reminds me to put my complete faith and trust in Him. Moments where He shows me ,” Becky, I’ve got this! Every step I’ve got worked out for you!” Moments of surrender, when all I can do is pray.