Reflections from My Recent Valley
by Welby O’Brien
We’ve heard it said that when everything else is taken away, then we find that God is all we really need. I always believed that but never had a chance to experience it. Until the last few weeks.
Rushed to the hospital severely ill, twice in 10 days, I lost everything. Instantaneously stripped of all comforts, and many other things essential for survival. For days I was not allowed to drink, eat, sleep, leave my room, or touch my loving husband, to name a few. Instead I was poked, pierced, probed, cut on, chained to an IV, radiated many times, and could barely function. And too sick to even turn on the T.V.
I was so deep in the valley that I could barely cry; but when I did, it felt so good to weep. Trauma and PTSD has an even deeper meaning for me now than ever before.
Then for 3 weeks due to the medication that was saving my life, my own body refused to let me eat, and I found myself literally starving to death.
The prayers of so many dear people touched my heart…and I know God heard them. The love of my precious husband held me up. But what will probably change me forever were the dark, lonely, frightening times when I was alone. I had nothing. All that was so important to me the day before this all began had vanished. It was all meaningless.
Nothing mattered except surviving. Yet surprisingly, even that paled in comparison to knowing that the Lord was there with me. In my darkness, the light of hope that heaven – and all He has said – really is true. We have no other hope but Him…and what a blessed hope that is!
Yet, as I look back I feel convicted at my lack of faith in many of the dark moments. He seemed so far away at times. Why did He not answer me and fix me? Now I realize that He WAS there and I DID trust Him. The treasure of faith is not how MUCH you have – measured by how little you are afraid, or struggle, or wrestle or have questions – but rather WHO is the object of my faith. The tiniest frailest line will connect me with Him…and that is all I need. That faith pleases Him and that teeny bit of faith is what has the eternal value. With or without the fear and doubts.
He WAS with me. IN my pain and fear and trauma. And every time I thought I could not take any more, He carried me a little further. What a comfort to have so many scripture verses come to mind…all through the day and seemingly endless nights. How very precious it is to be so close to Him…my Good Shepherd. And Jesus is no stranger to pain and rejection and fear and trauma.
My prayer through it all was that nothing would be wasted. I wanted to find the treasures along the way and not forget them after it was all behind me. I wanted to leave the hospital a changed person.
So here I sit writing this down as I recover and begin to rebuild, because I know my nature will be to just move on forward without looking back. If I had to sum it up, the three greatest treasures I have gained are:
1. Greater compassion for the sick and disabled.
2. Greater appreciation for ALL the blessings of life we so easily take for granted.
3. Confirmation that God and our relationship with Him through Jesus IS all we need; and in the long run nothing else matters.
Please remind me of this when I start to complain that the food isn’t to my liking, or the traffic is jammed, or I have a headache, or I wish I had a nicer house, or I feel fat.
It’s just good to be alive and be able to praise the Lord for ALL His blessings. And if He chooses to take them away for a while again, then I know He will be with me; and that is ALL I really need. Because all I really need He has already prepared for me…and in His perfect timing He will come get me to take me where I will always be with Him. And never ever again be sick. Or hungry. Or thirsty. Or in pain. Or afraid. And that hope keeps us going in the dark valleys.
Going to go eat now. And oh so gratefully! And then I will hold my precious husband tightly…oh so gratefully! And then I will sleep well tonight knowing Whose hands I am in.
“He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper…I will not fear.’”