Finding Peace in the What-If Moments
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” Philippians 4:6-7a (NLT)
If ever I needed peace, it was that moment.
My 18-month-old daughter, Dana, was on the other side of the closed hospital door, being prepped for a bone marrow test.
Three days earlier she woke up from a nap with bruises all over her body. Her pediatrician discovered that little Dana’s blood platelet count was dangerously low. He had her admitted to a children’s hospital to see a blood specialist and take a bone marrow test to determine if she had cancer.
My husband and two friends were planning to wait with me during Dana’s test. But the specialist arrived at the hospital a day early and decided to perform the test immediately. The nurse whisked my sleeping daughter out of my arms and took her into the surgical room for the procedure — the insertion of a needle into her spine to extract marrow from her bone.
I sank down to the floor on the other side of the door and prayed. “God, this test did not take You by surprise. Neither did whatever is going on in my child’s body. Thank You that You are in that room with her, and You are right here with me, too. Please give me Your peace and the assurance that You are in control.”
We all know what it’s like to feel helpless when someone we love is in need. We’ve all asked what-if questions, like …
What if it’s cancer?
What if we lose her?
What if I can’t get through this?
Worry seems like the most natural thing to do in these situations. But there’s a reason God’s Word tells us to pray instead: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:7a).
As I sat on the floor continuing to pray, I waited for the screaming and crying behind the other side of the door that never came. Dana slept through the entire procedure even though no anesthesia was used. She was still asleep when they handed her back to me 25 minutes later.
The next morning, Dana was fitted for a little padded helmet to protect her head from bruising, and we were sent home to await the test results.
A week later, word came that the bone marrow test results were normal. Dana had a condition where the child usually recovers anywhere from six months to five years. After two more weeks, the specialist informed us that Dana had experienced a complete recovery. He’d never seen a child recover so quickly and so thoroughly from this disease as she had.
Today, Dana is a perfectly healthy 23-year-old college graduate. I don’t call her medical scare a nightmare. Instead, I refer to it as the defining moment in which God built my confidence in Him and taught me that it is far better to pray than to worry.
I’m grateful for that experience so many years ago because it taught me that I am not, nor have I ever been, in control of my daughter's health, life or destiny. It also showed me where peace is ultimately found: Not in pleasant circumstances or the feeling that “all is well” in my child’s world, but in the palm of God’s hand as He allows whatever He will to come her way and mine.
Finally, it gave me an experience to look back on and build my confidence upon whenever I begin to worry, doubt or fear for an event in my child’s life — or my own.
Lord, thank You that nothing takes You by surprise and nothing touches my child’s life — or mine — that hasn’t first passed through Your loving hands. You are more than capable of caring for every what-if question that tempts me to worry. I trust You with what is closest to my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 55:22, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (NIV)
Matthew 6:27, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (NASB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What do you tend to worry about the most when it comes to your children? Ask God to remind you that He loves your children even more than you do, and ask Him to help you trust Him more and more each day.