Recently I had a migraine. Often I have to take a pill, go to a quiet spot, and lie down before I find any relief.
I thought I’d find that relief in my bed but no sooner did I lie down that Roxy curled up at my feet. She doesn’t require much so I didn’t shoo her away. Then came Regi who wanted to watch the Olympics from his favorite spot. Next, and wouldn’t you know it, Eli decided to plop down between us. All we needed was Sophie to complete the moment, but she was dealing with a sinus infection and wouldn’t be showing up to the party.
Silence was nowhere to be found. Regi was cheering on the runners and Eli was intent on finding the best price, size and color of his latest obsession—Nike Free.
“What do you think of this color, Mom?”
“Ohhh. How about these pink ones? They look more like your style.”
“What size are you? 7.5? Or just a 7? They cost less here, Mom. Want to see them? Maybe I could get some too. Here Dad, what do you think? Maybe the whole family should get a pair.”
On and on and on and on. I tried to act interested when all I wanted was the headache to leave. I went downstairs without telling anyone and slipped between the heavy jersey sheets of one of Eli’s twin beds. They draped over me as I smashed his pillow over my head. All I could hear was the distant whirring of the fan. Peace.
Then Regi realized I was missing and came to find me.
“Are you okay?”
“Leave me to die in peace,” I wanted to say.
“My head is killing me.” He rubbed my temples for a few minutes, got me an ice pack, and left.
Next came Eli. “Mom, are you okay?”
“Seriously? You again?” I wanted to say.
Happy that I was going to be fine, he left. Right as Sophie came into the room.
“Mom, are you okay?” she whispered.
How does a mom do to get a little peace around here?
She took her laptop and climbed into the other twin bed and went about conducting her business next to me, in her brother’s room, for no apparent reason (you have to have a 14 year old daughter to even understand the enormity of this). The first day of school was tomorrow and she wouldn’t be going due to her fever; yet she left the comfort of her bed to be with me. I didn’t hear a thing from her, nor could I see her; I was buried in the pillow. But I felt her. Every now and then I heard her take a breath, maybe even smile if that’s possible, but that’s it.
Soon I didn’t feel the pain as much as I felt her presence.
We sat there for about fifteen minutes without speaking. I loved that she wanted to be near me so much that I stopped focusing on my pounding headache. When she slipped out unannounced, I immediately felt a change in the room.
“Get to the point,” you say.
Very often I’m guilty of assuming that I have to ask God to show up to my circumstance, as if he’s only available on Mondays and Wednesdays to perform his wonder-working-power. You know, let everything come up roses and I’m confident in my salvation. But let the house not sell or the IRS send a large bill and I’m all like, “Oh God! Where are you?!”
Psalm 34:18 (The Message) says, “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
It doesn’t say He’ll only show up as an earthquake to destroy whoever kicked you in the stomach! Nor does it say He will only show up as a hurricane force wind and topple whatever stands in the way of your miracle. It says, “You’ll find God right there,” and that means in the midst of exactly where you are.
Just like when Sophie was in the room, the presence of God is always with me—abiding so quietly that I forget (even doubt) He’s there. Trust me, I’d come close to begging if it meant He’d speak audibly every once in a while, or at least scribble something on the wall as a confirmation.
Alas, that’s just not how he works (in my life anyway).
Because lately I find that I’m most aware of His presence when I’m in the throes of my deepest pain. And the powerful and effectual presence of God that I wish would just raise a hand and stop the gale force winds? It grabs a hammer instead and helps me batten down the hatches so we can ride out the storm together.
So if your world is crumbling, don’t take it as a sign He has left the building. I promise He’s with you in the emergency room, living room, guest room, and your son’s room when you have a headache. He’s on the plane with you, in the train with you, and even in your car when it’s broken down on the side of the interstate. Sometimes it’s as a mighty presence but other times it’s as the whisper of a breath that fills the darkness reminding you of one of His greatest promises ever…
“I will never leave your or forsake you.”