Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finishing its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV (emphasis mine)
Ever feel the ecstasy of passing a huge test? I felt like that this week. It was a test of my faith. God promises that the testing of our faith brings perseverance. It’s worth it in the end. Sometimes it does not feel that way. This time it did.
Since I returned from my fantastic Denver get away, I had been having trouble breathing. We take breathing for granted far too often. Being unable to get an easy, deep breath, was unnerving to say the least. A coworker at the radio station agreed that I am trained to breathe correctly. He laughed, “You breathe for a living.” So why was I unable to get a deep breath without a struggle?
I went to the internet. Seriously a dangerous thing. I looked up altitude sickness and depending on which site I visited I was either going to be dead in 10 minutes if I didn’t get to an ER OR I just needed to rest at a lower altitude for 1-3 days. Yeah. Thanks Google.
So I spent Sunday taking it easy and drinking water. By Sunday night it was getting worse. Monday morning I called my doctor. The nurse agreed I should take it easy and drink water. By afternoon when it was still hard to breathe deeply, I called back. I explained I was trying not to overreact but since I’m all my kids have, I didn’t want to miss something huge. She agreed and brought me right in.
After seeing my recent labs proclaiming I’m healthy as a horse, they ran a few tests. My BP was excellent. I was getting enough oxygen. The EKG showed my heart working great. The chest X-ray was clear. So off to draw blood I went and told they’d call me tomorrow. Oh, and I should see an allergist about the pistachio thing. (See Adventures in July: Pt 1)
The next day while the allergist was testing me to confirm pistachios were my kryptonite, the nurse called. She calmly explained that my something-or-other test was positive and that was not good. She’d made me an appointment in three hours at the hospital for a CT scan to rule out a blood clot in my lungs. Tears rushed to my eyes. I tried to stay calm as I asked if that was quick enough. She said this was just a precaution. “Blood clot” in my lungs and “don’t worry” didn’t seem to belong in the same conversation.
I called my friend, Deb and told her I was trying to stay calm and figure out what to tell my kids. Deb prayed with me. As I drove home, I called my sisters and a couple of friends and the fear tried to overtake me; fear of the what-ifs and absolute panic at having to walk back into the same ER where Kraig died.
Let me tell you since his death I have been terrified of entering that place. I’ve been scared my children will need urgent care or ER services since I believe both missed what was happening with him. The thought of meeting Deb at the ER doors was a terrible déjà vu. How was I going to do this?
And then it hit me—a simple thought. Money where your mouth is time, Jenn. Do you really trust God as you’ve been proclaiming the past 10 months or do you trust your own strength? There wasn’t an ounce of my strength that could force my feet through that door. So that’s what it boiled down to: did I trust Him?
Did I trust Him to care for me? Did I trust Him to care for my kids if this was serious? Did I trust Him to take care of them if the worst possible scenario happened and I did not walk out of that ER?
The answer came clear and strong, like a loud voice in my mind. Yes. I trust Him no matter what.
The overwhelming peace that blanketed me with that answer was phenomenal. It covered me like a shield in a comic book movie. I could sit with my kids at home for that three hour wait without feeling terrified or panicked. I could snuggle Lucy and not feel afraid. I could walk up to that ER door with no tears, no trembling, no what-ifs.
In fact, as I sat in the CT prep room, praying and thanking God for Him being in control, the enemy started lobbing terrible flashbacks at my heart of that night Kraig died. Let me share these are images that haunted me for a long time. Images that stole my breath and brought choking sobs before. This time, if I may continue the comic book metaphor, they stopped at the edge of my force field. They stood at a distance, blurred and without power.
I sat on a comfy couch and laughed to myself that I was experiencing a fire that purified my faith. I wondered if the three men in the fiery furnace had comfy couches to sit on and marvel about the peace that surrounded them like a bubble.
The CT scan found no blood clot. The chiropractor adjusted a rib the next day and my breathing began to ease. I still wasn’t 100% but the rest could be stress finally catching up with me. (No idea what I had to be stressed about. Smile.)
But as I walked out of there, I felt the elation of having passed a huge exam. I kept my focus unwavering on the God who can be trusted. I lifted my gaze from the waves and walked on the water keeping my heart set on Him. He surrounded me in His force field of peace and calm and the fiery darts the enemy lobbed at me had no effect. None.
There will be other tests of my faith in the future. This is a lesson most of us have to struggle through again and again. But for this one, I passed. And that filled me with joy unspeakable.