Even If…

It started with my husband having ‘allergies.’ Then my ‘allergies’ kicked in. Then our son, who doesn’t have allergies. We knew at that point it had hit us: COVID.

Quickly, that escalated to a trip to the Emergency Room and a promise of an infusion to fight the virus for my husband. Then another trip to the ER and still no infusion. Then a third. They say third time is a charm. They admitted my husband for COVID Pneumonia on a hot Thursday night. Never did I think it would hit our family. He travels for his job. He’s been flying all over the country and had not gotten sick for a year and a half of this pandemic. Thus started what would be the thirty-four most difficult days of our lives and the beginning of a long journey of healing.

Every day I would wake up and pray that God would heal my husband’s lungs. Every day I would ask my friends and family to pray, and they did! They prayed. They brought dinners. They brought baskets of fruit, snacks, nuts, and cookies and loads of food. It was an overwhelming outpouring of love and support.

After twelve days we received the first late night call from the hospital. It was my birthday of all things. Of course, the call didn’t come to my phone but to my 14-year-old son’s phone. Earlier that day my husband had been moved up to the PCU. The last text he sent me on that day was “Happy Birthday, I love you.” He wasn’t handling the breathing apparatus well. He was combative. My son came to my room and woke me up. He said the hospital was on the phone. The doctor on the other end told me they had put my husband on the ventilator. They said he asked them to do what they could to save his life. The doctor assured me this would give his body rest it needed to heal.

Every day for the next twelve days, I prayed for healing. I cried out to the Lord to heal my husband’s lungs. I begged God to not take away my children’s daddy. I tried to ensure the kids that he would be okay, but I also knew that I didn’t know that for sure, only God knew the future.  I called the hospital twice a day to get an update because we weren’t allowed to see him. I couldn’t talk to him because he was sedated. The nurses would brief me on how he was doing, and a couple of times let me call later at night to talk ‘at’ him. My friends and family prayed for him. My Love God Greatly family prayed. My church prayed. My co-workers prayed. My neighbors prayed. Nowhere in this whole timeframe did we ever anticipate anything other than complete healing from God.

It was a Friday, and I was on my way to work. He had been on the ventilator for ten days. As I was driving to work, as usual, I prayed and spent time talking to God. I begged God to heal my guy. I prayed and prayed. But that morning, my prayer was different. God was working in my heart. He reminded me that my husband belongs to Him first. It was at that moment I prayed the hardest prayer I have ever prayed: “Lord, your will be done.” I surrendered my will to God’s will that morning on a long stretch of road on my way to work. I cried because I knew that I had no control. Not that I had any control before then but I had the illusion of control in praying with full faith that God would answer.

He did answer. Just not in the way I wanted.

Two days later, on a beautiful Sunday morning, the hospital called. It was the call I dreaded. They said I could come see him. I knew, this would be the last time I would see him. I immediately reached out to my church leadership. My son’s youth pastor arrived at my home first, then my friend who had been with me this entire time arrived. Next, my family deacon arrived. My pastor’s wife hurried to the hospital while the church stopped the worship service to pray for my kids and I as we said our last goodbyes to our boss. And as he entered glory, my son and I were holding his hands. At that last second, he squeezed my sons hand and then faced Jesus. He was healed. Ultimately healed and standing in front of Jesus with no pain anymore. I can only imagine what he saw.

God moved mountains that day. My stepdaughter wasn’t there but she was able to say goodbye via phone. My son, who was ‘too young’ to go back was able to go back to say goodbye in person after a dear friend of a friend interceded. God opened doors for us to see him. God held us close. He showed us immediately that He was there for us.

Later that afternoon, a dear friend sent me a verse.

Since his days are determined,

The number of his months is with You;

You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.

– Job 14:15

God knew the number of my husband’s days. He knew that I would have to raise our teenage son without daddy. God knew that I would have to continue working while also caring for a grieving child. Reading this verse gave me the peace of knowing that if God knew these things, then He also knows what I need. He knows what plans He has for my family. He knows what I need moving forward. I praise Him because His plans are perfect. I trust Him. I praise Him even if the prayer isn’t answered the way I wanted. I praise Him even when I don’t understand.

It has been sixteen months since my late husband met Jesus face to face. Our road has not been easy. I had knee surgery, my mother had back surgery, and my son spent two days in the Children’s Hospital with a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. This has truly been the hardest time of our lives.

But God.

God has shown us over and over that He loves us, that He is there for us, and that He is making a way for us. He has answered prayer after prayer to get us through this time. Sixteen months later, God is still on the throne and still carrying us and we praise Him every day. We praise Him even if, even when. No, He didn’t answer that prayer the way we wanted. But He did answer and we praise Him even still.

Sweet friend, do not ever believe that God has left you. Even if. Even when. It is in those “even if” times that God will hold you close and never leave you. You are secure in His mighty arms.  He has more love for you than you will ever know. When those hard times do come, and they will, seek His face. And rest in His loving arms.

—Jesse

 

 

 

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Melissa Fuller

Melissa Fuller

Melissa loves God’s Word and is committed to helping women fall in love with Scripture (and its author!). She has a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and served as the general editor of the NET Love God Greatly Bible and the managing editor of the CSB She Reads Truth Bible and the CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA, loves running and hiking and is currently pursuing her goal of visiting all the National Parks in the US!

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