Last Friday I had successfully completed my CPE summer experience–a hospital chaplaincy rotation. Unfortunately, I found myself in the ER that evening…this time as a patient’s spouse.
Lindsay was having severe bleeding in her 13th week of pregnancy. Naturally this caused her and I to fear the worst–miscarrying the child we have hoped and prayed for for so long.
Over the next 8 hours we found ourselves stretched by God. He took us to our most base level…completely helpless. We discovered the reality and frailty of human life. Though we had prayed, and tried, and hoped, and cried for this baby for so many months prior–at that moment we were once again reminded that we are not in control, only God is.
In the deepest moments of fear and despair, I discovered what true prayer is…and we prayed these words
“To you I call, O Lord my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who have gone
down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place…”
While we feared going to down into the pit of losing this child, there was a deep security that God would hear our cry for mercy. And strangely a sense of peace filled the room. It was not because we were (or even now) certain that we won’t lose this child, but because even there–in the worst possible situation we could fathom–we believe that God will be with us.
So we continued to pray this Psalm during the evening. Over and over I would read it, and I felt the Spirit emphasizing different words at different points.
At first was the fear of entering the pit of despair, then the hope that God would hear our cries for mercy.
Towards midnight the final part of Psalm began to stand out:
“Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
the Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one
Save your people and bless your inheritance
be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
While Lindsay gets to carry this child, hopefully for 9 months, it is God who will carry the child forever (is it not amazing that God allows us to briefly participate in the miracle of creation?).
The nurse, Diane, came in with the doppler machine so we could hear the heart beat for reassurance that the child was “okay,” but also for the first time. These words were no longer my words. Rather they became the words of our child: for at the moment that the doppler found the heart beat we heard it sung, “My Heart Leaps for Joy.”
The pulsing beat was a thankful song that God is our strength and our protector. There was (and is) nothing Lindsay and I could have done to save the child that evening, it was (and is) only by God’s gracious love that we were able to return home after a long, scary midnight run into a pit of despair.
How are we doing now?
We are praying hard and trying to rely upon God more and more.