Enjoy this Devotional by FlourishWriters Student Almira Robinson
Who knew that twelve simple words from a Sunday school song would save my life on one dark night?
Because I had no white blood count after rounds of intense and grueling high-dose chemotherapy, I was in the hospital in agonizing pain from a severe infection. Doctors put me in a vacant, dreary, gray radiation room to isolate and protect me from germs. However, it did not protect me from my infectious thoughts.
My breath was heavy as my tears dripped like a broken faucet. Moans and groans rose from my body that only the Holy Spirit could interpret. I heard only the slow tick-tick of the clock in the room, which had two bay windows overlooking the heliport. No prayer nor Scripture came to mind. This was daunting for a Christian woman dedicated to her faith and study of God’s Word.
God, I know you love me. How could you allow so much pain to one person? I know all you have to do is speak, and it will go away. I cannot take anymore. I just want to . . .
In the stillness of the night, a voice whispered, “Don’t say it.”
A second voice said, “Just say it.”
The voices competed for my attention as if I were in one of those commercials with the little devil on my left and the angel on my right.
In deep distress, I rolled to my other side. Then I heard it again: “Don’t say it.”
The other voice repeated, “Just say it!”
I will not get through the night alone, I thought.
Using the arm with the IV antibiotic drip and morphine, I reached for the phone and called my calm, prayerful nurse friend, Cheryl. She had escorted me to my first visits with the oncologist. She was my ears and took copious notes.
She answered and said, “I’ll be right there.”
“What time is it?” I asked.
“About 3:00 a.m.”
Before I knew it, Cheryl arrived with her Bible. She sat in the chair to my left, grabbed my hand, and prayed.
Aided by the bright lights from the heliport, she quietly spoke the Word of God, verse after verse, with the spotlight of the moon shining through the bay windows as her guide.
My spirit and ears heard her. My anxious breathing calmed. She wiped the tears from my face. Peace blanketed my soul like the white comforter her husband gave me the day he told me, “You will have to walk through the valley and shadow of death, but fear no evil and keep walking.”
It was still dim outside, and Cheryl regrettably apologized that she had to leave to get ready for an appointment.
Alone, yet calmer and stronger, I lay in bed as those voices scrolled repeatedly across my mind like ticker tape.
“Don’t say it,” one said.
“Just say it,” the other countered.
Hoping to silence the voices, I began to whisper a childhood hymn. “Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The words rose up from deep within.
“Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
I sang it until my eyes opened and noticed the early morning light.
The “Just Say It” voice was silent. Gone.
The “Don’t Say It” voice flew away in triumph. Gone.
Peace filled the room.
I pulled myself up and realized the pain had subsided. My breathing was normal. With comfort and delight, I heard:
“I’m glad you didn’t say it. I would have had to honor your will.
I override no one’s will. You trust my love for you.”
God knew I wanted to give up and die. Some call it the dark night of the soul where reality wrestles with our faith. It is a fight. I had faith, but it was remembering His everlasting love that allowed me to overcome. Those twelve profound words resuscitated my hope and then wrapped me in His love.
“Jesus Loves Me” is a Christian hymn written by Anna Bartlett Warner. The lyrics first appeared as a poem in the 1860 novel, Say and Seal, penned by her older sister Susan Warner to comfort a dying child. Who would have thought that over 150 years later, saying those same words would comfort and save my life to seal God’s love?
We all have these dark moments in our lives one time or another. However, it becomes overwhelming when life hits you like a bowling ball making a strike. You begin to wonder if God loves you. How could he? Why would He allow all this? Does He see or hear me? Why is He not answering my prayer? That was where I found myself that night.
God’s perfect love not only cast out my fear (1 John 4:18 NIV), but remembering God’s love also guarded my heart from the enemy of my soul. My focus shifted from my grueling pain and negative thoughts to God’s character.
“God is love” (1 John 4:16a NIV). Love is His nature and the essence of who He is. Every decision He makes comes from love even when our circumstance appears insurmountable. We may not see or feel Him. We may not understand His will and ways, but His love is present.
His incomprehensible love allows us to walk through anything. Our evidence, displayed in His Son Jesus Christ, went to the cross to demonstrate His divine, immeasurable, and inexhaustible love.
God desires that we daily embrace and experience His loyal and unfathomable love. His ever-present love cleanses, covers, directs, fills, frees, hides, keeps, seals, speaks, sustains, and so much more. Abiding in that powerful love makes all the difference. God’s love did not fail me in my hopeless hour. His love will never fail you.
1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Our faith and hope are in His love.
Now, I know why the greatest of these is love, and I pray you do too.
Almira Robinson is a woman of faith who loves the Lord with a passion for the Word of God. An introvert at heart, she enjoys encouraging, teaching, and coming alongside those who desire practical Biblical teaching to build their faith and trust in God. After surviving two cancers with three weeks to live, she desires to share with the world how great God is and the value of living in the moment. A reader of an infinite stack of books, she cherishes and nurtures solitude to live a balanced second chance at life near the beautiful beaches of Wilmington, North Carolina.