Scared and alone, I entered the hospital.
While doctor’s appointments and tests have become a standard part of my life since receiving a rare disease diagnosis, this day was different. I’d grown accustomed — and unquestionably taken for granted — the ability to have a family member or friend by my side. With the pandemic continuing to press on, my only option was to brave the appointment alone as I faced the added fear of being exposed to a disease that didn’t play nice with weakened immune systems.
In the twenty-four hours leading up to the appointment, my emotions ran the full gamut. Every potential scenario played out in my mind: Would I be exposed to COVID? Was my immune system strong enough to handle it if I was? Would this visit counteract the stay-at-home orders I had so rigorously followed?
Fear and uncertainty weighed heavily on my heart as I longed for a different reality.
As I rummaged through the house to create a make-shift mask, my emotions continued to escalate. In a last-ditch attempt not to have to deal with the appointment alone, I asked my husband to drive me to the hospital and wait in the parking lot. As luck would have it, our schedules didn’t coincide. I had to undertake this alone — or so I thought.
You can do hard things, I reminded myself as I drove to the hospital. After enduring a year and a half of chemotherapy, undergoing routine bloodwork should have felt like a walk in the park, but I couldn’t deny the fear and uncertainty that had welled up inside of me. Throughout the years, I’d learned that bravery isn’t so much a choice as it is the willingness to do the hard things even when we are scared.
After I parked the car, I got out, and my feet began to propel me closer and closer to the hospital doors. I took several deep breaths, in and out. Stepping through the automatic sliding doors, peace slowly began to replace my panic, though at first, I couldn’t pinpoint why. COVID prescreen, check. Registration, a breeze. Bloodwork, done in record time.
In less than fifteen minutes, my feet were back on the parking lot pavement making their way to the car. As a sigh of relief escaped my lips, a slow realization dawned on me: I hadn’t been alone. God had been present.
The Bible reminds us that, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 ESV).
Life often requires us to do things scared, to take steps forward in faith. How quick I am to forget that God goes with me through the trials and burdens of this life both big and small!
Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Fear reminds me that it is okay if I don’t feel equipped because my weakness can be a place for God’s strength to shine through. On my own, fear can be a powerful deterrent, but with God, fear does not get the final say.
I won’t always have a family member or friend by my side as I walk through the burdens of this life, but I can take one courageous step after the next knowing that God’s presence is in my midst (1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV). While I cannot eliminate fear from my life, I can cast all of my anxiety on God because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). There is no burden too great or too small for God to bear.
How has God’s presence been a comfort to you in this season?
Bravery isn't so much a choice as it is the willingness to do the hard things even when we are scared. -MaryBeth Eiler: Click To Tweet