Today I spent time in the surgical recovery area of a hospital. My husband had to undergo surgery, and I had the extremely unpleasant job of watching him wake up from anesthesia in horrific pain, out of his mind from the medicine, and basically in the worst state that I have seen him in 19 years of knowing the man. Not only that, but all around us were the sounds of agony, punctuated by the sobbing of a woman to our left and the dry heaving of a man in another part of recovery. It was frightening and miserable, and I’m so very glad that it’s over.
As Chad lay there in excruciating pain, in a condition that would probably cause many to yell or cuss or ask why me?, Chad quietly prayed, crying out to Jesus, IV-ed arms lifted in a posture of worship. He seemed completely unaware that I was there, witnessing his great display of humility, watching the man that I love more than life cry out to the God that I love more than life.
When I brought him home hours later, I couldn’t get that image out of my mind: strong man, brought to his knees by life, glorifying God as his only source of help and hope. It stays with me still, the sounds of his whispered prayers in the middle of a miserable place, Jesus invited into a dark hour.
Then this afternoon the news broke that there is a case of Ebola in the US. In Dallas, no less, right here in our own state. And, the fear started coursing across the internet. The chatter about the scary possibilities. And I’m certainly no braver than the next girl. I want to put my little family in a protective bubble and shoo away all of the bad and the scary in the world. I want to steer us toward the sunshiny spots of life and avoid all of those dark hours that lie ahead.
But, I can’t do that. I couldn’t even do that today for Chad as he lay writhing in pain on a cold hospital bed. Yet, today when I watched this man that I know so well reverting to a default posture of prayer and humility when he could’ve yelled or sobbed or refused to acknowledge a God who had let him land in this spot, I realized something. I may not be able to avoid the dark hours. But, I can invite Jesus into them. I can acknowledge His presence and His care. I can trust His power and believe in His goodness, even when good seems such a long way off.
Because when we bring Jesus into the dark, He shines. He carries. He always loves our worship, but worship in the dark must be especially beautiful to a God in whom there is no darkness. When we are at our weakest, when worship is whispered into the sterile air of a hospital room, when worship is honest and pure and borne of a desperation that only humanity can truly know and experience, when worship is all we have in this world to offer Him, it must sound so sweet to the holy ear of the Sovereign God.
So, when the threats arise, when the fear bubbles up inside, when the pain is too great, when all we have left is to raise weak hands in worship and cry out to the God of the universe, He is near. And, we can trust His power to make all things right in the end, even when things seem all wrong in the dark hours.
I’ll not soon forget the sight of my best friend, my pastor, praising God through the pain. God showed Himself today. And, He reminded me that when the dark encroaches on the sunshiny parts of life, the best response is always humility, worship, and trust.