When we moved to Oklahoma in 2014, it was a season of sunshine. The first two years seemed to be testimony followed by testimony of God lavishing upon us great gifts. At one point, I called a mentor, and now treasured friend, to say, “I have yet to experience a season like this. He continues to open the flood gates, pouring out endless goodness. I feel guilty and I hesitate to share with others, because they may not be in such a season.” She responded to me, “Enjoy the sunshine. Bask in the warmth of the rays. Seriously, stand outside, turn your face to the sun, open your arms wide and receive it all. It won’t always be this way, so relish in it while it is.”
Two years later, the summer of 2016 ensued and the next several months would prove to be a season that called for an umbrella and rain boots. We slogged through appointments with multiple doctors, became decent acquaintances with the phlebotomist, we embraced the sounds and sights of machines that would take pictures of different parts of my body or prick and prod the health of my vision and my nerves. We kept hearing, “This seems indicative of a combination of MS and Lupus.” Finally, my neurologist referred me to the Cleveland Clinic.
In September, the appointment for Cleveland was set for December 14th. I would see a Rheumatologist in early morning and a Neurologist in mid-morning. Come November, I received a call from the Cleveland Clinic that my neurology appointment needed to be changed to late January because of a conflict in the doctor’s schedule. Matt and I felt like we had been punched in the gut. To prolong the wait seemed unbearable. I would call the clinic 1-2x a week asking if there were any openings. The response would always be the same, “Nothing yet. We have you on a waiting list, but feel free to call back as often as you want.” I called Monday night December 5th only to receive the same response. We never cancelled our rheumatology appointment and we continued to hope that a neurology appointment would open in the vicinity of December 14th.
Time was running out. My mom was in town to care for the kids, Matt and I were off of work and no neurology appointment. I felt defeated. I was ready to give up searching for an answer and just live with the ailments. In our quiet, darkened bedroom, Matt grabbed my hand and began to beg God to intervene. The next morning, I woke up and called the clinic again. A kind and empathetic voice met me on the other end of the phone line. She asked questions and stated, I think you need to see a specialist in our MS department. Let me see what I can find. Her end of the phone went blank, I curled my head against the chair in our office. I quietly and repeatedly begged God, “Part the waters, Lord. I need you to part the waters. Please, if nothing else, remind me that you can part the waters.” Matt sat across from me anxiously awaiting the return on the other end of the phone line. The woman finally returned and said, “This is hard to believe, but we actually have an appointment that came open on the afternoon of December 14th. Do you want it?” Tears ran down my cheek and Matt’s eyes were misty. God had parted the waters for us! He doesn’t always answer in the ways we want, nor does He have too. Regardless, of His response, we would continue to serve Him and know Him to be true to His character. However, that morning’s miracle encouraged our hearts in a deep way.
The Lord not only parted the waters to open up that appointment, but through His people, He provided every financial aspect of that trip in less than a week. Our only expense has been the doctor bills. It was as if He picked us up and took us across town to be seen by some of the best doctors in the country. Walking away from our Cleveland Clinic trip, we did receive answers of what my ailments were not. In the words of one of the specialists, “You do not have MS and you do not have a big bad disease.” Although, it is still to be determined what is happening in my body, the thought is that I have some delayed reactions to certain foods and my body needs extra doses of certain vitamins. We also have strong reason to believe that the Lord has and continues to heal me. I will write more on that another time.
Driving into Tulsa one day, I asked the Lord, why? Why did you go to such great lengths to provide and open doors for us, when you knew we wouldn’t get the concrete answers we were seeking? I believe He spoke to my spirit, “Because you needed to know that I could. You needed to know that I could open and shut doors at any moment and in any way. If I don’t, you need to trust me. You need to trust that I have my purposes and that I am always working on your behalf.”
Friends, we often find ourselves navigating storms in this broken world. What I know is that He is always doing a work in us and through us, whether we are basking in the sunshine or trudging through the mud, He is doing a work. We don’t have to like it, but we need to know that He never leaves us to dance or to limp alone.
Reading through chapter 3 of Lamentations, the circumstances are dire. The writer is lamenting the turmoil the people are having to endure. Yet, he gets to verses 21-24 and says this, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.” *Underline is mine
I’m thankful that in seasons of endurance and long-suffering, I have the truth to call to mind that IN HIM lies my hope.