Passing Through? Pray Through
"The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16b (NIV)
On Sunday afternoon, I went to the beach for the first time since coming home from the hospital last August. I almost cried happy tears as I took in every bit of the experience. I could keep my balance on the sand. I watched my little boy happily tote some of our gear and splash in the ocean. I listened to the ocean sounds as I buried my feet in the sand. Filled with gratitude, I marveled at how different things were compared to a year ago.
Last June, I was in the hospital again after having some complications in physical rehab, meanwhile my family tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for my then three year old son. I would hear stories of my family going to the beach. My husband would tell me how much our little boy loved the water. I longed to be with them. My journey was a seven month hospital journey that began in January 2020 with abdominal pain and vomiting. After testing and surgery, the doctors determined that I had necrotizing pancreatitis due to extremely high triglycerides. I required emergency surgery. I would have many surgeries over the next two months to clear infection in my abdomen.
An army of people prayed for me. There were a few times when the doctors considered discharging me, then there would be a delay, like a pulmonary blood clot, pneumonia, and a few other things. I'm grateful for those who pressed through in prayer during these setbacks. Sometimes, we pray, and we see immediate favorable results. Other times, situations appear to go from bad to worse.
Today, I want to encourage you as you pray through. The work that He is doing behind the scenes is equally as important as the outcome you seek. I recognize one outcome of prayer. He surrounded me by the right doctors and staff. I had people praying for me in the hospital too. A few Christian housekeepers visited me every shift. When I got moved to a different floor, they'd find me. There was a medical technician who used to sing me praise songs and encourage me. The nurse who determined I needed to go to surgery was a Christian; I went into surgery just in time because the infection in my abdomen was compressing my other organs. I had a wonderful surgeon who was very thorough with my care.
Aside from how God surrounds us with the people we need, consider the impact of your witness to others. I had a peculiar experience with a nurse who cared for me a few times. One day, she said that she had learned a lot from me. I don't know exactly what I said that impacted her. One day, I had a procedure because swelling caused a blockage in the passage from my stomach to the intestines. I couldn't keep food down. I had a feeding tube, and I needed a dilation in order to eat food again. The doctor performing that procedure had done several procedures on me. That day, he told me that he and my surgeon admired my strength. I know that my strength only came from the Lord. In the midst of our difficult situations, His light shines through us. When it hurts and we grow weary, we may overlook the importance of these encounters. Just remember that people are watching you live out your life.
Determine to pray through as you pass through challenges. A life verse for me is Isaiah 43:2 (NIV): "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Not only is He committed to being with you during the trials in life, but He is listening. First Peter 3:12 (NET) says, "For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil."
Regardless of the nature of the trial you're passing through, the Lord's promises are the same to those who diligently seek Him. Just like the Lord spared my life and brought me home to my family, He can meet your needs and lead you through any trial. I recently had to walk through a smaller trial. I had a cancer scare. Some residual blood from last year appeared like cystic masses over my ovaries. I had to visit an oncologist. When we were going through the intake process, his nurse accessed my medical files from last year. She looked at me and said, "You're a miracle!" I told her that I had many people praying for me. She commented that the previous night, her small group discussed how prayer was powerful. As a medical professional, she understood the serious nature of what I passed through. As a Christian, she could see God's miraculous hand. Today, you may be going through some difficult situations, but tomorrow, you could be the miracle someone else sees.