Psalm 31:22 In panic I cried out, “I am cut off from the Lord!” But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help.
A friend invited us to participate in her niece’s wedding. So Dave and I and our four young kids traveled many hours over rough roads to a remote village in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. We stayed in the bride’s modest home; seventeen of us in a two-bedroom cottage!
Rain poured down, so the passel of kids chased each other through the house, around and between and over the cement furniture. (Yes, all the furniture in the house was made from cement blocks!) Their games threatened to upset the ironing board and the aunts cooking the wedding feast and the bride packing her honeymoon suitcase. Every time someone went in or out, rain blew in. Our five-year-old Rachel, in hot pursuit of another child, slipped on the muddy floor and cracked her head against the cement sofa.
Rachel wailed from the pain of her injury, of course, but even more distressing, the concussion blinded and confused her. The bleeding and swelling within Rachel’s brain prevented her from realizing I was right there caring for her. Panicked, she threw herself around, crying “I want my mommy! I need my mommy!” as I tried to calm and comfort her. All the way to the nearest hospital I held her and tried to soothe her with my voice, singing to her as tears streamed down my own cheeks.
I remember this story at times when I feel hurt and panicky, cut off from the Lord’s care. Bad things do happen, and sometimes in the midst of the shock and pain, like Rachel, I can’t find the Lord. I can’t see or feel that he is right there, loving me and providing for me. Sometimes later on, in prayer, he has given me the gift of seeing that he was right there with me, and the excruciating wound of abandonment has been healed.
Rachel and I missed the wedding, and our family stayed in Minas Gerais an extra day while she was in the hospital. But the tender care of the nurse nuns at that sweet little Catholic rural hospital, the medications and rest, brought Rachel back to us, and brought me back to her—or rather, brought back her ability to know that I was there with her. I cherish the memories of those hours and days when my entire focus was my precious daughter. Lord, thank you that you do hear my cry and respond to my call for help, even when I am not capable of perceiving your presence.