06 March 2015

When Crisis Shook Me

Going abroad, especially with young children, stirs up all kinds of "what if" scenarios. Still, even in my wildest imagination, I didn't foresee the crisis that came home with my husband one autumn evening.

It's not like we were strangers to grief or distance or homesickness.
We didn't travel with naive notions about North Korea or the Thai military coups.
Likewise, we don't grip false theologies about a problem-free faith.

But--crisis. You cannot prepare for that. It is a shaking, an unexpected strike--like lightning through a window.

I remember little about that night, except sitting on the couch, trying to un-hear the doctor's diagnosis, trying to erase the words "time left" and "nothing you can do."

But I have this poem, a sonnet I penned, rhythmic with weeping:

I Need You Near

My stricken heart beats faster even though
I know it speeds me toward foreboding fear.
My moistened eyes squint back the coming tear
To keep up facades of my courageous undertow.
My knotted head twists more in futile searches
To find the miracle eluding me,
To find the happy end including me.
Still, no easy outlet yet emerges.
Am I to walk this valley then, my Lord?
I see darkness ahead and linger in the light.
I see danger to dread and hesitate to fight.
Be with me, O God, with Your Spirit and Your Word,
For I meant it when I said my life is Yours,
Stay near is all my aching heart implores.

Unlike so many others who face crisis overseas, ours closed with an almost-laughable end. Misdiagnosis. Was I angry? You bet I was! But I was also thankful. The weeks we spent waiting for a second opinion were long days of seeking the Lord. Although this was a false alarm, I am grateful for the test it gave my faith. Now, as we face other challenges, I can always remember my plea for the Lord to be near and rest in the reality that He did come to me--offering comfort and stability in the shock.

For when we are shaken from expectations and electrified right in the comfort of our living rooms, God is not surprised. How reassuring that no matter where we are or how alone we may be, God is present. And despite the severity or permanence of the crisis, God will not change. 

Abide in  Him,

This post is part of conversation on "Crisis" at Velvet Ashes' The Grove.

Related articles you may also appreciate:
Don't Pray for Safety
Sorrow: Grieving from Afar
To the Expat Mom Who Wants to Go Home
Deep Friendships Are Worth Hard Goodbyes
How Friends Become Family Overseas


  1. We've also experienced a misdiagnosis. The diagnosis wasn't life-threatening, but hugely life-altering. There was definitely some anger towards the doctor. But I am now able to look back on the pain of that season and have an overwhelming compassion for others that are truly walking that road. And like you, my heart knows desperate pleas that it didn't know before. Your poem is profoundly and achingly beautiful. So glad you shared.

  2. I can't imagine the fears you had when the doctor diagnosed something as awful as a fatal condition. How awful! I agree that the reality is God doesn't change. Circumstances change, faster than we like, but God? He does not.


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