Fear not … I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… (Isaiah 43:1-2)
Friend to Friend
While walking into the opening session of a marriage conference that we had been looking forward to, his cellphone rang. He answered the call and we took our seats. As the emcee kicked off the weekend with gracious greetings, my husband, Brad, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Preston fell on a rock at camp and is on his way to urgent care to get stitches in his chin.” He took my hand and whispered again, knowing from my expression that I was alarmed, “It’s just a few stitches. He’ll be okay, honey.”
My stomach flip-flopped. We locked eyes and shared pain – both wounded in the heart for our firstborn son. This was not the way we had imagined that our weekend away would begin. As the session began, my momma-bear instincts kicked in and my mind reeled. Though he was a hundred miles away and though he’s a man-cub teenager, I ached to be by Preston’s side while the doctor stitched up his chin. I am always by his side when he gets hurt. Yet, there was comfort in knowing that this was “just a few stitches.”
As that first session came to a close in prayer, Brad’s cell phone invaded the quiet. He leapt up and left the room swiftly to get an update on Preston. Right behind him, I asked repeatedly, “What are they saying? Is everything okay?”
“He said that Preston broke his jaw,” Brad said with a tone of disbelief. Again he said, “The x-rays showed that he broke his jaw. I can’t believe this. They need us to come get him and take him to Charlotte. He might need surgery.”
Gripped by his words, I struggled to think clearly, “A broken jaw? Surgery? It was just supposed to be a few stitches! Well – it’s probably just a small fracture. I really hate that I’m not with him right now…” Bags were packed quickly and by the time darkness fell on North Carolina, Charlotte was on the horizon.
The next several hours were a blur of doctors, x-rays, CAT scans and surgery plans. Bad went to worse as we learned that Preston didn’t just break his jaw… he broke his jaw in three places, and, as the doctor phrased it, “he pretty much broke his jaw as bad as you can break a jaw.” Nice.
Surgery began and the wait was on… and on… and on. The heart-distance between the operating room and the waiting room was a thousand miles. It killed me to not hold his hand and stroke his hair while his jaw was reconstructed for seven and a half hours.
In the wee hours of the morning, surgery was complete and Preston was wheeled to his room. Brad and I rushed to his side as they brought him to his room and though he was heavily sedated, I reached for his hand and assured him, “Preston! I’m right here! I’m right by your side. I will stay here beside you. I know you’re in pain, buddy, but you’re going to heal well now. I’m right here and I love you.” His eyes flickered open for a split second to let Brad and I know that he heard our love then he drifted back to post-surgical sleep.
Several times an hour the nurses came in to check his vitals. I hadn’t slept in nearly a day and was thoroughly exhausted, but each time a nurse entered the room I leapt to his side and whispered to my wounded child, “I’m right here, Preston! I’m right here. You’re not alone.”
After the third or fourth time of reassuring Preston of my presence, I lay back down and whispered to God, “Lord, please heal my son! Please heal him.” And in the still of the night, in the quietness of my bleeding momma-heart, my soul sensed Him whispering right back to me, “I’m right here, Gwen! I’m right here. For him. For you. You’re not alone.”
Peace. I heard the voice of Peace speak His presence and tenderness into my pain. He heard me. He knew of my plight. He knew I needed a word of encouragement. Not an audible word – just a heart whisper. He was right by my side. I knew it as I remembered His Word, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Peace.
There are times when your heavy heart-burdens cry so loudly that you struggle to hear the voice of Peace. Times when your prayers seem to go unanswered and your broken situations seem unfixable … and painful. Oh, so painful! We all know ache. We can’t get through this life without knowing ache. The Bible says that not a tear falls from your eye that isn’t known to God. (Psalm 56:8)
He knows all about your heart-burdens. He knows that you need a word of encouragement today. Hear His whisper now, friend. Whispers from His Word … from His heart, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I know your name and have engraved it on the palm of my hand. I hold your tears in a bottle and ache with you. My grace is sufficient and I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. I’m right here.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 139, Psalm 56:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, John 16:33)
Dear Lord, Thank You for reminding me that You are always with me, that You see me, and that You hear my prayers. Please help me to know deeper levels of peace today.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Isaiah 43:1-3,5a. “But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 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. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior… Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
How does this speak to your circumstances today? To your heart? Pray about it and journal if you’re the journaling type… then let’s meet on my Facebook page to talk about it and pray through it together. www.Facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic.
More from the Girlfriends
If this devotion resonated with you and if you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be reworked into a picture of God’s beauty, don’t miss Gwen’s book Broken into Beautiful. Every step of transformation begins with the heart of God. Broken into Beautiful will take you there. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s website: www.gwensmith.net.
LOVE MUSIC? Check out Gwen’s new CD, Uncluttered. Now available on iTunes! The songs of Uncluttered are purposed to sweep you away from life-noise and to focus your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ.