1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I don’t think I ever really understood Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians until the last couple of weeks. On July 1, 2011 I entered the hospital for surgery due to an old neck injury and in the weeks preceding and the week following the surgery I have felt surrounded by a large dome of something which I can only call prayer. Even when I was in the worst pain ever and felt all alone I had reminders of those that cared for me were holding my spirit in their hearts. I was only supposed to be in the hospital for 3 days but due to complications it ended up being there for 5, a discouraging time to be sure.
Yet, holding on to a set of prayer beads made for me by Pastor Laurie I felt a presence that kept telling me “I won’t leave you alone.” And you know what … I wasn’t! There was a nursing staff that came when I need them most and offered not just medical help but words of comfort. There was a Chaplain, Father John, who came in to offer prayer and a reminder that I wasn’t alone, that people I didn’t even know were there beside me. I was surrounded by something outside the world of science that enhanced the scientific and medical efforts in ways medical staff and doctors cannot explain but I know exists.
Paul said to “give thanks in all circumstances,” even when things are darkest and you think that all is lost and no one cares. I am discovering that Paul is right; now that is hard for me to say because Paul and I have a very uneasy relationship. Prayer, rejoicing and giving thanks even when the world feels darkest is what keeps me from falling into the abyss. I love the prayer “God’s Promise” written by Ron Mills (see the previous post) and I kept repeating it during that difficult hospital stay. It gave me the courage to deal with pain, loneliness and fear, I wasn’t alone.
And so I rejoice and give thanks for all of the those who offered their prayers of love and healing, I could not have made it through those dark moments without the dome of prayer you surrounded me with. Blessings and Peace to you all
Ruth Jewell, ©2011