by: Mary Reneau
Where am I, oh Lord, where am I? My mind was filled with questions as the lights kept circling overhead. Gradually my eyes began to focus on the people around me. Men and women in white uniforms. I must be in a hospital. How did I get here and when? My mind kept repeating the question, “Where am I?”
As the confusion lessened, I began to remember how I had arrived at this place. It had all happened so quickly. A burning, stabbing pain and within a few minutes I was in the hospital with a heart attack. I had truly believed that nothing could come into the lives of God’s children without His permission. Could this heart attack be His will for my life?
My husband, Richard, and I had been living in Trinidad, California, for a year. Our children were all grown and we were beginning to relax and enjoy just being together. We were both in good health and spent most of our spare time hiking on the beach or backpacking in the back country of Northern California.
While Richard worked, I kept myself busy working with children through Child Evangelism Fellowship. Richard had a ministry on Sundays in the county jail. We were contented with our service to God and our position in the world. Maybe we were too contented. Could this be why God had let me have this heart attack?
When the doctor had said, “ Your heart is dying for lack of oxygen, you must have surgery”, my life became filled with uncertainty. Where was the peace and security I had felt in the Lord all these years? I had searched my memory for something in God’s word to hold me steady. In counseling with young people I had often used I Corinthians 10:13,
“There hath no testing taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not let you be tested above that you are able; but will with the testing also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”.
With this verse God gave me peace. I had no fear, even when the doctor told me some of the tests could be dangerous. Hadn’t God promised that there would be nothing that I could not bear? He would make a way for me to escape the dangers involved.
I quoted this verse to my family and friends to ease their fears for me. I said it over and over to myself when I was alone. The tests showed that I needed three coronary artery by-passes. I hadn’t expected this, but I clung to my verse and flew to Eugene, Oregon for my surgery without fear.
Now what had happened? Why was I here in this place where I kept going from light to darkness? Had I had my surgery? Was I dying? Where was the verse that I needed? My mind could not bring back the words that would save me from this engulfing panic.
In the midst of all the noise and confusion three small words came to my mind: God is faithful. I wanted to shout, “Yes, yes! That’s part of it”. I needed to know the rest of the verse. “Oh Lord, help me.” I prayed. Immediately my fear left me. Why did I need to know more? God is faithful. This was His promise. It did not matter where I was or what was happening to me. God is faithful. With these thoughts came peace and I fell asleep.
The next time I awoke, Richard was sitting by my bed. I knew the operation was over and I would soon be going home. I have never been able to explain to any one what happened to me from that experience. When friends say,”What a terrible experience you had,” I can say, “No, it was wonderful. God taught me something special.”
It is not the promise we need to remember, it is God’s faithfulness.
I know nothing can harm me as long as I believe God is faithful.