I heard a falling sound with a couple of bumps followed by a loud thud. My thoughts raced as to what the sound could be. I jumped off the couch and rushed to the bedroom where my mom and dad were sleeping during their weekend visit. As I went in, I saw my mom, passed out, teeth clinched, arms extended—a sight no son ever wants to see.
We went to the emergency room that Sunday night. My mom had ups and downs as one test after another revealed nothing conclusive. Over the course of the next three days we discovered a problem similar to diverticulitis, which stopped on its own, and she recovered. Many times during the struggles of life, we look at God with a “why us” attitude, but during these few days, I have been thankful to God for his grace which has been clearly evident amidst this trial.
First, I am thankful for God’s grace that it happened at my house in Texas rather than South Carolina. This is partially just plain selfish, but it would have been much harder not knowing and not being around. I had several good, although long, nights with my mom in the hospital. I will cherish that time forever, and I am thankful to God that I could serve her in some small way.
I fear that with such good hospitals, nursing homes, and memory care facilities, we miss opportunities to return a portion of the care that our parents demonstrated for us as children. I also believe that discussing and contemplating our own mortality helps us live with a true eternal perspective. Having the right eternal perspective combats materials, encourages spiritual productivity, and focuses our thoughts towards our own mortality. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to refocus my own priorities even if the environment may have been less than ideal.
Second, I am thankful for God’s guidance in our hospital choice. Sunday night, we had options, but we felt like Baylor All Saints was the best choice. The second night as I entered the hospital to spend some time with mom, I saw it. This sign on the wall.
Baylor All Saints specializes in Gastroenterology—the exact specialty that my mom needed. God led us to one of the best hospitals in the country for what she needed.
Third, I am thankful for God’s grace in preparing me for this trial. I preached on Psalm 139 the Thursday before my parents’ visit. I had been studying the passage closely for two weeks. I preached about God’s omniscience and omnipresence—the God who knows. He is truly all knowing and everywhere even when it comes to my mom. He knew what would happen, when it would happen, and where it would happen. I am thankful for His grace in allowing me to preach this passage just before going through this experience.
Fourth, I am thankful for support. We felt the support and encouragement of friends who prayed for us, sent us text messages, and commented on Facebook. Through social media, we kept people updated on her condition literally throughout the world, and felt the compassion and prayers of those friends. God has extended grace to us through many good friends supporting us during this time.
Finally, I am thankful that God graciously saw fit for my mom to recover. Life is precious and fragile. I will cherish the coming days with her even more and not take as much for granted—especially the grace of God amidst the challenges of life.