Did you know that even when you’ve walked away from God he doesn’t walk away from you? Even when you’ve kicked him and punched him and called him every name in the book he doesn’t love you any less? Now that’s love. And I’ve got a perfect example of it.
It was May of 2009 and I was 43 years old. I had walked away from God several years before. I wasn’t even sure anymore if he actually existed. How could he? It didn’t make sense that all the awful stuff that happened to me and my family would have happened if there was a God in control. And even if he did exist, I was angry at him for abandoning me and letting me get hurt over and over and over again. I figured I’d rather just take my chances without him. (Think Jim Carey in Bruce Almighty saying “Smite me, oh Mighty Smiter” here.)
I was being treated for some female issues. I’ll spare you the gory details (you’re welcome) but one day it got so bad that I found myself in the ER. I was hemorrhaging. They admitted me for blood transfusions and high doses of IV estrogen to make the bleeding stop. It worked and I was sent home a few days later. But I never really felt well after I got home. I was shaky and anxious and struggled for air when I walked more than a few feet.
The next morning I got up and the shortness of breath was worse. My arm was all swollen, my wrist was numb, and the area where the IV had been was hot and red. I went back to the ER and my worst fear was confirmed. I had developed a massive blood clot that spanned the entire length of all three major blood vessels in my arm, and multiple pieces had broken off and gone to my lungs.
To say I was terrified is putting it mildly. You see, I had been a registered nurse for 20+ years and I knew that blood clots in the lung can kill you instantly. In fact, when I say my worst fear had been confirmed, I literally mean my WORST FEAR. For some reason, I had always had a nagging fear that I would die of a pulmonary embolism. Maybe today was the day.
They wheeled me down to ultrasound to have more tests done. I was laying on the table, frozen in fear. I was pretty sure this would be the day that I died. As I was laying there wondering which moment would be my last, I heard the ultrasound tech’s voice break through the noise of my fears. “I can see that you’re scared” she told me. “You know what I do when I’m scared, I pray”. And then she quoted Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. She asked me if she could pray with me and when she touched my hand I felt a rush of warm energy flood through my body. I looked up at the ceiling and noticed the tile above me had an angel painted on it. There it was right above my head. A beautiful reminder of the protection provided by the God I had abandoned. It had been there all along, of course, but my eyes were not opened to it because I was so distracted by my fear.
At this point I began weeping buckets of tears. I can’t even describe what I was feeling. It was an overwhelming sense of sorrow and remorse for the way I was living my life. Yet at the same time it was an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort and an absolute awareness that I would not die that day. I had an instant recollection of the goodness of God and all that I had walked away from. I thanked the technician and told her what happened. Now, do you want to know what she told me? Of course you do or you would have stopped reading by now. She told me that her shift had actually ended right before I came in but the department was busy so she stuck around to do one more ultrasound!! Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Whoa! Look at everything God did that day! He used my BIGGEST FEAR to get my attention. The he meticulously arranged for just the right person to be in just the right place at just the right time, and he used her to deliver a message — and I received it loud and clear! He said :
“Lori, quit messing around now. I don’t care what you’ve said, I don’t care what you’ve thought, and I don’t care what you’ve done. You are mine and I am yours and it’s time you got that through your head. I’m going to prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am real. I’m going to show you that I am bigger than the thing you’ve feared the most. And then I’m going to show you that I love you enough to move one of my soldiers into place to bring you back to me. Just like the angel tile above your head, I’ve been here all along but you couldn’t see me because of your fear and your anger. Here I am, come back to me.”
Ok, now, a disclaimer – – He didn’t speak those actual words to me. I made them up. But that is the knowledge he gave me that day, and I am so grateful for it. Now I know for sure that God is real. And I know that there is nothing I can say and nothing I can do that will turn him against me. It doesn’t matter to him how awful I’ve been or what terrible things I may have done. He LOVES me and he still wants me (and you) no matter what.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8