I was in the hospital. It was my fault I was there. I had stopped taking my medicine. I had never done anything like that before. I had rarely ever strayed outside the lines too far. What a thing to step out of the boundaries on.
It’s hard for me to understand even now to be honest. I had been reading about the healing miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. I wanted to be free of doctors and medicine and tests and surgeries and appointments and needles and blood tests and pee cups and … oh how the list goes on.
I wanted healing and believed Jesus could.
I stepped out in faith the only way I had ever really understood to do. Pray, believe, walk in it and it will be done.
Why so little faith?
Upon reflection, perhaps my understanding of faith needed some fine tuning. I ended up in the hospital, a bit embarrassed to have to explain to the doctors, to see their shaking heads, to hear their voices. I’m not one to not follow rules most of the time. I don’t rebel so boldly against authority. Why now, especially when life was on the line?
I had no answers.
Truth be told, a part of me believes I was going to lose my kidney anyway. I have no proof of it, just a gut reaction to how I was feeling at the time. Otherwise, I don’t know why. I’ve tried to figure it out, but there are no answers, only some very hard lessons.
Strangely enough, in the middle of it all, I wasn’t beating myself up like I normally would have. Peace permeated my hospital room in a way I had never experienced before.
A long, deep breath of peace.
Into this entered a man, Jesse. He went to chapel where my father was chaplain. He told me he had never done anything like this before and was obviously a little nervous. This was definitely not his thing. But he believed strongly that God had told him to come see me and ask me a question. Ummm, ok…
“Who are you?” he asked.
I looked at him, “Huh?”
“He said to ask who you are. Who are you?”
“I’m Donna and … ,” my mind went blank.
I had no idea how to answer. There was nothing there. Then all of a sudden, it was as if someone grabbed my jaw, moved my mouth for me and the words “… and I’m a child of God” came out.
Well, that was unexpected.
I just sat there, put my fingers to my chin, wondering what had just happened.
Jesse stared at me and whispered, “That’s what He told me you’d say.” To be honest, he looked like he was going to faint.
I have no idea where that answer came from. I can’t stress enough that this was nowhere to be found in my thoughts, not by a long shot. I couldn’t have fished that sentence out of my brain to end with those words if I had tried. People say stuff like that all the time, but I simply didn’t think like that.
It literally felt like someone held my mouth to form those words for me.
Jesse talked with me a little and then left. I never saw him again.
Life went on after that. I endured dialysis for an extended period of time, but when I finally got a transplant, I received two kidneys. For the first time in my life, I had two working kidneys.
I am a child of God. That one answer, that one sentence, has steadily transformed my life through the years. I’m not all there yet, but what a difference hanging on to it makes.
I am His child. He told me so. No more doubts. No matter what.
It gives confidence when I’m lacking. It gives value when I doubt my worth. It extends forgiveness and compassion and love when I’m a mess of a person.
I am His child.
Nobody can take that from me. Ever.
Very few of us get through this life without making at least questionable, if not altogether bad, decisions. Life altering decisions. Decisions nobody can understand, not even ourselves. Years later, we still wonder why we did that. Sometimes there are unsettling answers. Sometimes there are simply no answers why.
But, I have learned, even bad decisions can be straightened out — through Jesus in God’s way and God’s time. If you belong to Him, know who you are. Hold on to it for dear life. He can take any situation and give back better than we deserve. At the very least, He can give peace where there is none to be found.
Turn to Him, not away. Fight with Him if you have to. Get it all out on the table. All the pain, all the grief, all the confession, all the confusion, all the anger, all the all of it all. We don’t have to fear giving him our stupidity, mistakes, awkwardness, missed chances, downright badness. You may have to wait for some time, but wait… and then watch what He will do with it. Regret can give way to gratitude. Shame can give way to strength. So much good can happen in God’s hands.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1b
Endnote: I do not know where Jesse is now. I don’t even know if he’s alive. Last I heard, he was not doing well. He had served in the U.S. Army in the Middle East, saw too much bad and was not in a good place when he returned. This information is many years old, so I have no idea how he is today. If he comes to mind, would you say a prayer for him? I can never repay him for the gift he gave me that day in the hospital.