God is so baffling.
Deep inside, I think all of us really would like Him to simply swoop in and take care of business. I mean, do we really need to live through that toddler having a diaper explosion in the restaurant? Couldn’t he just nudge us past the calls from the school principal, the stomach flu, losing a beloved grandma, or holding that old and faithful dog in our arms as the vet puts him to sleep?
Goodness, I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. I know that He can. I’ve seen miracles, I’ve lived beside miracles, but for some reason that is not God’s usual modus operandi.
On most days, He simply walks with us or rather, draws us into walking with Him.
Our family experienced just such a moment this week. The terror and the beauty of journeying through something we absolutely did not want to experience and yet being struck by God’s undeniable presence throughout it all.
Last week was the Camas Spring Break Survival Camp. A day camp where kids get to learn how to (safely) start a campfire, tie knots, boil water, set snares, build survival shelters, and use a compass among other skills. Scruffy was sidelined with a fever and chills and so Choco took up the slack. I stepped in to help as well and things were proceeding despite his illness. Our camp nurse asked if we needed any help, but we couldn’t think of anything for her to do and declined.
Then we got the news from our mechanic, our car was on its final lap around the track. Yikes! So I jumped online to see if there was anything in our price range. A vehicle, 2.5 hours away, that seemed perfect. Scruff was feeling good enough to car shop, but we were needed at Survival Camp. So we called up that camp nurse and said that yes, we needed her help after all.
Right before she arrived, Scruff began to experience chest and jaw pain. I went to camp and had a chat with her. We found out that jaw pain was a huge red flag and so I called our Dr. who recommended an ER visit. Scruff didn’t want to go in, but said that it was my call. We sat on the couch, trying to decide and I looked back over the day. Everything just lined up too nicely, enabling us to get to the ER, now that the nurse had arrived to help. Was God nudging me to take him in? I didn’t know, but told Scruff that we were headed to the ER all the same.
At the ER all his tests came back great. He figured that we were wasting their time and the nurses and Doctors told us that we would be on our way home as soon as Scruffy’s blood work came back. Then our room began to fill with medical professionals.
There is an enzyme released when the heart muscle is damaged. It only shows up 4 to 6 hours after heart damage. We arrived at the ER 4 hours after his chest pain, they drew blood for the test at 5 hours, perfectly within that window. That test came back positive for heart damage. Something had happened and we arrived exactly when we needed for the Doctors to discover it.
As Scruff was talking to the cardiologist, another heart episode occurred. “You are having a heart attack,” she informed us in stern tones. “Sign these consent papers!” As various nurses were stealing his pants and putting nitro pills under his tongue, he signed on the dotted line and they rushed him away on a rolling bed.
We had plans for a 7.5 hour drive the next day. In case you are wondering, Nitro is not readily available at your average gas station or greasy spoon.
Another heart event occurred in the night. It required a Nitro drip and an hour and a half to resolve. We should have been in Oregon, far away from home and doctors and all those powerful medicines that saved the day.
Scruffy did not have a blockage, however. It was inflammation of the heart muscle and lining. With a good diet, calm exercise, and taking it easy for a few months, his heart should heal just fine. We are heading into the summer camp season where diet is extravagant, exercise is extreme, and taking it easy is unheard of. But now he knows to guard his health and get the help he needs rather than just pushing through and doing everything on his own.
Sure, God didn’t swoop in the save the day. Yet, in a way He did. He was so clearly with us, every step of the way. So I want to encourage you, just because the path is dark and the obstacles are horrendous, that does not mean that you are forgotten by your Creator. He walks beside His children. He tugs at their heartstrings and draws them to walk beside Himself. He loves, He moves, He is there in all His Glory and Grace. It just doesn’t always look like what we would have chosen but is no less real all the same.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. –Psalm 23