“Your husband is having a heart attack,” the ER nurse said.
I watched Mike’s breaths get shorter and shorter.
“He is not!” I wanted to scream back.
But instead, I watched.
After all, he was in the same ER a few days earlier with pressure in his chest. But after a series of tests and a host of needle pricks, we were told it was his blood pressure. After a day and a half, they sent us on our way with a slew of new medications.
“His heart is strong,” the cardiologist had said, as his whole team nodded in agreement.
And now they were telling me he was having a heart attack? Sorry, but my mind was stuck in what they told me that first time, so I just waited until she saw she was wrong.
I wondered why the hospital had a chaplain with me. Jim the Chaplain was very nice, telling me step by step what was going on.
“I need to go to the bathroom,” I said.
But when I got back, my husband had been transported to another room.
All this transpired while no one else knew. Our daughter was sleeping, same as our son and his wife. Why wake them, when I didn’t know myself what was happening? Unless I wanted to share what the nurse told me. No, she was wrong.
I was escorted to a new area and handed a little gizmo, much like the ones you get in a restaurant when you have to wait for a seat.
“When this flashes, bring it to me,” the nurse said.
I sat with others around me, wondering who they were waiting for.
“God, let Mike be okay,” I prayed. But silently I wasn’t worried. He had a strong heart.
I did not feel alone. Once again I was reminded about what God said in Hebrews 13:5, that he would never leave me nor forsake me. But there was something more. Philippians 4:7 talks about a peace God grants us. I’ve tasted that peace more than once in my life.
I tasted it when I had to testify at my sister’s murder trial.
I tasted it when I had a 3 1/2 pound baby and nearly died. And I’m certain you’ve tasted it in your life as well.
Sitting there with the gizmo in my hand, I waited. The lights flashed and I heard a buzzing.
“When the phone rings, pick it up,” she said, reaching for the flashing piece.
“Are you with Mike Peterson?”
“Well your husband was given an emergency angiogram which showed he had a blockage. They put a stent in it and he is going to be fine. A surgeon will be out to see you shortly.”
I took my seat back in the waiting room. No longer did I have to watch the TV screen to track his progress.
Minutes later, a surgeon approached me holding out a screen.
“Here is a picture of your husband’s blockage. Here is the stent, and as you can see, the artery is now clear and doing well.”
I had to ask, “So did he have a heart attack?”
And then I finally heard it. “Yes, he did. We will come and get you when we’ve transported him to a room.”
As I sat back down, the “what ifs” began to bombard me.
What if I hadn’t brought him in when he woke me breathing short breaths and holding his chest?
“Breathe deeply,” I had told him. “It’s just your blood pressure.”
What if he had gotten even worse in the car?
I quieted myself the way I learned to do when anxiety threatens my peace. I recited hymns I know by heart.
Looking back, the ride to the hospital was scary. Just like a few days prior when I saw him taken in an ambulance.
God’s peace was there. God was with me. Even when I went through a red light at 3:00 a.m. with no cars around, as Mike pleaded, “Please, don’t stop.”
God is sovereign. He was not surprised by that night. He saw it long before I did.
Nor was it something God couldn’t handle. There is nothing God can’t handle, even in this crazy world.
God is Faithful
God gives us peace when life is unpredictable. He strengthens us to handle difficult situations. He’s never caught off guard by the circumstances of our lives. And he never changes. We can count on him today just like we have for years.
Life is unpredictable, but God is faithful. And our lives become difficult we can hold on to his truths.
God is Good
When hard things happen to us, we are tempted to blame God. After all, since he’s all powerful, couldn’t he have stopped the bad thing from happening?
God’s goodness is not determined by his actions. He is good because it’s part of his very fibre. He can’t be anything but good. If God chose to take my husband last week, God still would have been good. Our lives would have changed dramatically and it would have hurt terribly, but that has nothing to do with God’s goodness.
God is Infinite
We keep trying to understand things we’re incapable of understanding. Our minds are finite, yet, we try to decipher God’s infinite thinking. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God has told us that we think differently.
And in Proverbs 3:5-6, he tells us what to do about it. But instead of leaning on him, we keep turning our thoughts over and over, desperately trying to make sense of them.
I’m looking over at my sleeping husband. The one I married 40 years ago, come July. God has helped us in our marriage over the rough spots. God has been our constant companion.
And because I know that God is good, that is where I’ll rest.
Anne Peterson is a poet speaker, and published author. She has written poetry books, her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, and several children’s books which are illustrated by her daughter. You can visit her author page here. Anne is a regular contributor with crosswalk.com.
If Anne is not writing, she is probably spending time with four little ones who call her Grandma.
To find out more about Anne you can visit her at:
Publication date: June 10, 2016