My clock said 2:36 AM. I woke up praying for little Adam Chambers. Adam is at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital fighting cancer. He’s only 2. My prayers shifted to EJ, another little warrior fighting a similar fight as Adam. And then, for the next few minutes my prayers bounced from one suffering person to another just like a child’s bedtime prayer, “God bless Meredith, God bless Kurt, God bless Sarah …”
Outside the wind is howling and snow is piling up by the foot. Blizzard warnings scroll across my muted TV screen while a parade of news people battle wind and waves one after another. I don’t need the sound to know what they are saying. They’ve been excitedly talking about the devastation of winter storm Nemo for a few days now. Now it’s here and they can feed on the destruction and capture images to beam around the world. They’ll show stranded drivers, highway accidents, collapsed buildings and hope for footage of a house being claimed by the astronomical high tide. They think of the story. I think of the people.
I pray for my friend John battling ALS. Lord, please keep their power on tonight. I know that loss of electricity is an annoyance to most of us but for John, who needs power to help him move and sleep and communicate, it’s a much bigger deal. John’s faith and positive attitude inspire me.
It’s ironic that I’ve awakened during a giant snowstorm to pray for people weathering storms that have nothing to do with wind, snow or rain. As I pray I talk to God knowing their thoughts, their fears, their dreams and their struggles. I know the storm of liver disease and transplant in my own life.
I remember how Robin and I decided early into our storm that we would work to stay positive and praise our God no matter what. Today, nine months after my transplant, I know so many suffering people. Today, God has given me people to pray for, people to encourage and people to push onward. I know some who can’t see over the waves. I listen to others who can only see their troubles piling up. I do my best to try to get them to find the positive but some are determined to let their storm swallow them up.
In the last 18 months I have celebrated with a dozen or so who had life-saving transplant surgeries. During that same time I have said goodbye to almost as many who never got that gift. Some lost a hard-fought battle and others simply refused to fight it; they just gave up. I have seen faith-fueled positive attitudes sustain people and negative attitudes drain the life out of others.
If you are facing a storm in your life – health, financial, relational – I beg you to determine right now that you WILL look for the positive in every single day. I know there were numerous days while I walked in the “valley of the shadow” that it was difficult not to be consumed by the letdowns and bad news. I also know that our determination to find the positive, no matter how small, played a large role in helping us ride out our storm.
Please watch this video and hear this song that I replayed often during the worst of our storm. Please don’t give up.