Circling the hospital parking lot I realized I was going to have to park far from the front door. My mother-in-law was already exhausted. She had not eaten or had coffee that morning in preparation for a procedure. Weak from cancer treatments, this strong and independent woman of 80 years agreed our best option was to drop her off at the front door and she would wait for me to park.
Suddenly a parking spot opened up right by the front entrance. We both exhaled in relief, thanking God for this small comfort He provided even when we didn’t think to ask. That was the beginning of a very long, tortuous day filled with God showing up unexpectedly around every corner.
Earlier that morning my niece called. We often pray together in the mornings to start our day off with God. She asked where we would be located in the hospital for the procedure. She was puzzled by an urgency she felt from God to be with us when there didn’t seem to be an emergency. I let her know I didn’t think we needed anything but I always welcomed her presence.
As we waited two hours to be called back to the procedure, I could see my mother-in-law growing weaker. My niece called and asked what could she bring us. Coffee and a freshly made egg and cheese biscuit would be heavenly waiting for us after the procedure. Little did we know, at that moment God had provided, through my niece, the only food we would have until late that night.
The procedure went well, so we ate the nourishment God provided through my niece. We were getting ready to leave when the nurse said we needed to consult with her primary doctor for a referral to a cardiologist; her heart was out of rhythm. Alarmed, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I consulted with my sister-in-law. After a call to the oncologist we headed over to the emergency room to get my mother-in-law’s heart checked out.
God sent us a joyful gentleman to wheel us over to an overcrowded emergency room. I had remembered him from the month before when my mother-in-law came in for a biopsy of her tumor. His joyful attitude comforted us as he danced us over to our next destination.
They connected my mother-in-law to machines that would monitor her heart for the next several hours as we waited to have an echo cardiogram. I pulled out her prayer shawl and continued to knit beside her bed positioned in the very noisy, busy hallway of the ER. Her monitor would sound an alarm every five minutes when her heart would beat irregularly. Victims from car accidents and critically ill people were being wheeled past us in a steady stream.
Thankful for technology, I texted my prayer warriors, both friends and family, to update. In the midst of all this loud chaos, I looked over at my mother-in-law and was astonished that she was asleep, her monitor still alarming every five minutes. God had surrounded us in His presence and provided a shield from the chaos to rest in Him.
Hours later they said she was being admitted overnight for observation. While it was a relief to be alone in a quiet room, my mother-in-law was stressed, wanting to go home to check on her dog. A Registered Nurse came in to introduce herself to us. She looked young enough to still be in high school, but her efficient efforts to get the echo cardiogram completed and get us out of there showed us her experience. Thankfully, around midnight a young doctor released us to go home. I felt that God knew she would rest better at home.
I had not known what to be prepared for that day. God did, and He provided it all day long, through the prayers of friends and family, and providing physical and spiritual nourishment and comfort throughout the day.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19 (TPT)
Copyright © 2019 by Karen Castleberry
Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Their son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.