Monday, February 21, 2011

Never Alone~ A Spiritual Article by Hogan Stevens

Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?
These verses drift into my mind as I sit in the hospital waiting room, my worried father in the chair beside me. Looking around, I spot a small Bible lying on a nearby chair and I idly wonder if I should fetch it and look up the verses that I am thinking of.

It’s been a worrisome past week. My ninety-three year old Gran had a stoke just last weekend and is now unable to speak. It’s hard for me to see my beloved grandmother--always so strong, so loving--lying in that hospital bed, her light brown eyes showing her pain and confusion. I know it’s been even harder for my father to see her this way.
If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.
I silently pray that my Gran knows this, that she is not afraid of being along in these dark hours, that she feels God’s loving presence. I know He’s there with her and that His thoughts are always on her. Glancing at my dad, I can see the anxiety on his face and it makes me wonder what he is thinking.

Without a word, I rise and go to the Bible, bringing it back to my seat. I flip through its worn pages silently until I come to one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament, Psalm chapter 139. I read it slowly, allowing the familiar words to wash over me, and a small smile tugs at my lips.

“Here,” I say, handing the open Bible to my dad. “Read this. It’s one of my favorites.”

I watch him as he reads to himself, hoping the words will lift him up as they did me. When he is finished, he nods, and it seems to me that he might look a bit more reassured than he had been just a moment before.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the light hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee. (Psalm 139:9-12)

These verses have always warmed my heart because I know without a doubt that they are true. God never leaves us, not even when it seems like everything is dark and hopeless. We need to trust in Him, especially in these hard times, because it is in the dark that we can truly see His light.

He is always thinking about us. Isn’t that a great thought? It’s a big comfort for me to know that He cares for my Gran as she lays in the hospital bed, regaining her strength. He thinks of her and loves her way more than any of her earthly family ever could, and that’s saying something because Gran is loved and cherished by everyone in my family.
How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. (Psalm 139:17-18a)
Later that day, I grip my grandmother’s hand between both of my own, my eyes taking in her face, a face that I have grown to love throughout my life.

“I love you, Gran.” I say, trying to keep my voice from shaking. I squeeze her hand a bit tighter. “I’ll see you soon, okay?”

Her eyes lock onto mine and I can see love and strength pouring out from them, filling my heart with hope. She says nothing, but I don’t need words to know what she means.

As I turn away from her and leave the hospital, I feel an emotion well deep inside of me. Not worry, but confidence. I know that whatever happens the Lord will be with my Gran, surrounding her with His all-encompassing love.

And I know that she knows it, too.

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