My three-year-old niece, Shylah, is in the ICU. Doctors just discovered a very large mass attached to her lungs. It’s looking like it could be non-Hodgkins lymphoma. They will know more on Monday when they plan to do a biopsy. The growth is very large and she’s very small. It probably goes without saying, but it’s really scary. I’ve been a wreck ever since I heard. My heart is breaking for Shylah and for her mom and dad, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.
This morning, in my personal devotions, I wrote out the following verse and the following thoughts in my prayer journal:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
“The Lord is near.” Today, that one little sentence stood out to me more than it ever has before.
The Lord is near. Emmanuel. “God with us”. God with me. God with Shylah. God with Shylah’s mom and dad. Not, “the God of the universe looking down from some distant throne” – but, the Lord is near.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) The Lord is in the hospital room. The Lord is with the doctors. The Lord is with Shylah’s brothers. The Lord hears the questions, the tears, the anger.
The Lord is near.
He is not, however, empty-handed. He offers peace. Not “zen”, not “world peace”, not a two-fingered peace sign…but peace that transcends all understanding. Peace that will blow your mind. Peace that doesn’t make sense, given the circumstances. Peace that must come from outside of ourselves and what we can manufacture.
What is required of us? Prayer. Prayer that involves both requests and thanksgiving. The requests come easily, the thanksgiving, a bit slower.
Thank you for preserving her life thus far. Thank you that the tumor is shrinking after three days of steroids. Thank you for the doctors and nurses, knowledgeable and compassionate. Thank you for faith and hope. Thank you for prayer warriors rising up across the country. Thank you for the invisible tie that binds those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Thank you for listening. Thank you for moving.
We need you to MOVE.
Do it, Lord.
And when you do, we will give you ALL the glory.