(The following article is adapted from one that I wrote originally in August of 2003, shared in this “You and God” installment with the prayer that someone who has been through, is going through, or soon will be in, a “valley of the shadow” experience, by one’s self or with someone, will be edified):
“As I write these lines, our daughter, Marti, is in the intensive care unit at St. Francis Hospital. She underwent an emergency surgery two days ago and she is fighting off infection which, if not checked by some high-powered antibiotics, could end her life on this earth.
I have seen hundreds of folks off to surgery, but this one Saturday was the most difficult ever. We did not know what the doctor would find. It was suggested that there may be a mass that would be discovered. Unbridled, my mind raced from bad scenarios to scenarios that were worse. It was an agonizing two and one-half hour wait. The report from the surgeon was somewhat of a relief when we learned that an appendix was the culprit. The bad news was that it had begun to leak and thus Marti would have to fight off infection. As I write these lines her body is mounting a fierce struggle against foreign invaders. Many people far and near are praying for her recovery.
Times such as these provide us opportunities to learn. Not that we would ever choose such an opportunity, but they come our way and we have no choice but to live the experience and try to draw upon His grace to get us through. I have so much to learn. I am learning. Please allow me to attempt to put onto paper a few of the things I am struck with because of this nightmare:
- Our family is so much a part of the fabric of our lives. Others are very important, but one’s flesh and blood is your very life. We take each other for granted too much. We assume things will always be all right. When an earthquake rocks our foundations, then things become so trivial and people so crucial. We do not tell each other often enough ‘I love you.’
- Things happen so fast. One moment you’ve got life on cruise control and then around the next corner there’s a major pile-up. It all comes so quickly and without time to prepare. The frames of our life freeze and everything has a different perspective.
- Prayer is so important. Not only your prayers, but the prayers of anyone who believes in prayer. We can listen to or read prayer lists with detachment until our flesh and blood is one of the names. Then, the prayers of those who believe become huge. We can never overstate the privilege and power of prayer.
- God’s ways are inscrutable. Bottom line must always and ever be, ‘Thy will be done.’ Don’t try to rationalize it or even understand or explain it. God loves us with an everlasting love and whatever He allows to come our way has to be seen though those lenses. And, we know there is a purpose for His glory.
- A support group of people of like precious faith is of incalculable worth. What a blessing the dear folk of Thompson Road Baptist Church are to us. We are not alone but surrounded by a family which loves us. A hug. A handshake. And hand on the shoulder. A phone call. A card and word of encouragement. Our family doctor (Ellen’s and mine), Dr. Ruley, has visited Marti every day in intensive care. He is a good, Godly doctor and though Marti and Dale are not under his watch care at this time, he cares enough to make a special trip to the hospital each day to check up on her. Besides that, God has placed there an ICU nurse that, shall I say, could have qualified as a doc. She keeps the physicians up to date and in some cases shares with them the approach she deems wise to take. She is a God send to all of us at this time. All are priceless.
As Marti was rolled into the operating room, I bent to kiss her cheek. After surgery she mentioned that to Ellen. I have never been very openly affectionate with my family. I feel very deeply for them and love them each more than I can tell. But hugs and kisses have never been part of my expression. In my heart, I have vowed that has to change. I can’t wait until my little girl is well enough to give her a great big hug and kiss. Too bad we are so slow to get it that it takes major crises to show us where we need to make some changes. I am sure there are many other lessons I will learn through this experience. Stay tuned.”
P.S. Today, September 30, 2021, I want to share with you, in case you are not already aware of it, that Marti did, by the grace of God, survive that experience that occurred eighteen years ago. She since has homeschooled or is homeschooling all of her children three of whom have graduated from college and/or grad school. She and her husband of 33 years, Dale, are faithful members of TRBC where I was senior pastor until 2019. Sadly, an emergency appendicitis situation visited the Nye household four years after Marti’s ordeal, claiming the life of their precious son, David, who was eleven years of age at the time. What all of us experienced through Marti’s near-death battle, in no way prepared us for the passing of the sweet young lad that David was and the strong young man that he was becoming. We had learned that “God’s ways are above our ways,” and that always, “My grace is sufficient.” “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” It is true. Selah.
“Blessed by God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Cor. 1:3,4)