Three months later, despite what he thought possible, I was split right open and a brilliant surgeon patched up my broken heart, held by God’s Sovereign Hand.
They all told me recovery would take time. Time. That’s all they would say. But, time ticks along like an old Grandfather clock that runs slow, when the days are hard and healing is long.
Time, it seems is the antagonist in a story where immediate results would be more sensational. Who wants to put in the hard work of slow improvement when we can gratify our selves by indulging in instant success that will impress?
That first winter after open-heart surgery dragged on cold and harsh. We couldn’t see it, but hope was tucked deep in our souls.
Spring did come as sure as new seasons always do. That long winter finally gave in to warmer days.
As the spring flowers poked through the ground, I stood helpless as I watched wild rabbits relentlessly chew off all the young tulip shoots. Only a few tulips survived.
Flowers fade. Hearts break. Lives are laid low.
Even when life doesn't turn up the way we plan, our hope is secure in the One who died, was buried and rose again.
So, when the apples were red and ripe on the trees, I bought more bulbs to plant in the front garden. Time ticked on, a little steadier. Some days began to pick up the pace a little. I thought we were too late to put the bulbs into the ground—September had marched past and October refused to stick around despite my longing for more golden days.
It was early November before we had a chance to stir up the soil in the garden as the sun gently beat down on our backs like a warm embrace, and we planted.
The littlest one took hold of the bag of tulip bulbs. Her Daddy grabbed the garden tools and together we buried 50 bulbs in the dirt.
That same night my son, between bites of an apple--his second bedtime snack, recalled, "Mom, you how I said last week that I didn't miss you that much last year when you were in the hospital? Well, I did, but I think I was able to go on because God calmed me. If every day I thought about how you could die, I don't think I could have handled it—I wouldn't have been able to eat, I would have been exhausted. But, God helped me."
I knew what he was saying. Life is hard. Waiting, suffering, healing, yes they are all hard, but there is always hope.
Last week, another warm day in May, three years since my life was turned upside down, I had another echocardiogram to examine how my heart is holding up from the surgery. After I cleaned up all the cold goop used in the ultrasound I sat waiting in another exam room in the cardiac clinic. The resident doctor walked in with my medical file in the crook of her arm, a Starbucks Venti in her hand and bloodshot eyes. She worked in the cardiac clinic after a 26-hour shift because my cardiologist, she said, is a fabulous teacher. She scrolled over the latest results with me, and we compared them with the last few tests before the teacher-doctor joined us.
No change in the last year and the latest three echos is good news. Three years later and my cardiologist stood smiling down at me. He was taken back at how my children, who were hanging out in the waiting room, have all shot up. There has been a lot of growth in three years. I beamed with gratitude and the resident doctor, weary as she was, observed what hope does even when healing takes time.
There is no doubt that dark, uncertain days and hard, heart-breaking circumstances will come. Don't lose heart.
Hold on to Hope. We read in the book of Hebrews that: “ . . . we who have fled to [God] for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Jesus has gone before us. He is our hope.
In seasons of waiting, when pain and suffering press in, when time slows and days pass by long and trials are hard, you are never left alone in the darkness.
Hope never fades. And joy, well it is always right there rising out of hard places. Healing may take time, but God, He holds time in His hands. He, “who works all things according to the counsel of his will” is faithful to do just that.
My broken heart is still held together by our only Hope.
And the rabbits still run wild all over our yard. But, for the second spring in a row, fifty bright red tulips stand stunningly in our front garden stretching black faces toward the sky, yielding as harsh winds blow.