It's been almost eight years now. It seems like such a long time ago. My wife went in for surgery to correct some problems she was having. It was an easy surgery, most women who have it are out of the hospital in a day or two, but that was not to be.
The surgery seemed to go well, and after recovery the hospital moved Joye to a regular room. I stayed with her, not wanting to leave until she was awake and responding, but she didn't. She was having problems and I couldn't get a nurse to take the problems seriously. I started calling the nurses station at about 6pm to ask for help. They would come down, tell me all was well and that she was just resting, but I didn't think things were going right. I kept calling, and actually went down to the station to tell them something was wrong....come check her....call a doctor....do something.
Then, finally, at about 8pm they checked her blood pressure for the first time. It was 50 over 30. She was dying! The nurse quickly called down to the intensive care unit and told them we were coming. We literally took Joye, bed and all, and headed for I.C.U. to save her life. Now they are worried, now they are listening to me...but was it too late?
Doctors and nurses came from everywhere, and none of them looked good. This was serious. Joye had lost most of her blood, and they were scrambling to find out what was wrong, and what to do. The room was full of doctors working to keep my sweet wife alive. Joye tells me she knew what was going on, but couldn't do anything about it. She said she just prayed, "Lord if this is it, there's nothing I can do, I'm ready."
Within minutes they decide to go back to surgery, but first they gave her several units of blood. She received 6 units of blood in the next few days to replace what she had lost. Quickly the surgeon is called in, it's midnight, and they head back to surgery. So there I sit, in the waiting room at 2am with another of our pastors, Neil, waiting to see if my wife would survive. It was an emotionally charged night. I will never forget those early morning hours.
I literally had to think about the possibility of seeing a new day without my wife! This was supposed to be an easy surgery, why did this happen? Why did it happen to us?
They told me that she was bleeding internally. She had more than 1,200cc of blood in her abdomen from the internal bleeding. I still don't know what really went on...who was at fault, what really went wrong, why she was bleeding, but by early morning they had stabilized her, and she was back in I.C.U.
She spent a week in I.C.U. before they moved her to a regular room. Slowly, she recovered. It literally took several years for her to get her strength back. Over the last 8 years Joye has almost fully recovered from these surgeries. It takes a long time to come back from a near death experience.
The miracle? In my mind there are a number of them- One, that I stayed with her and knew enough to demand help. Two, although she lost so much blood they were able to repair the damage and bring her back from the brink of death. And three, that God dealt with me during those early morning hours to prepare my heart for the loss of my wife.
It's good to look back at difficult times in our lives and see God work. It's good to see God bless my by letting me keep my wife for a few more years. It's good to know that God does work all things out for our good. It's good to have a good God who loves us.
But here's the rub- there are others who have gone through what we did and lost their loved one. They might read this and think that God didn't love them, that they didn't have enough faith, that God is punishing them. Nothing could be further from the truth! I will tell you that whether my wife lived or died God still loved me. He still cared about us. He still heard my prayers.
For me the difficulty is explaining the "why" of any of this. It is a question we ask....why did this happen? Why did God let my wife die? Why didn't he answer my prayers? Why did you get to keep your loved one and I didn't? I can't answer those questions, but I can tell you that God loves each of us equally. The whole of our lives, if we trust Christ as our savior, is overseen by the gracious, loving hand of God.
So, today I just wanted to take a moment to share one of God's great miracles in my life....and for my sweet wife it gave her the opportunity to be a grandma. What a difference she has made in the lives of those little children! Today I just want to remember a miracle that has rippled throughout the lives of those we know for more than 8 years now.