Disclaimer: This will be a long post since I’ll be sharing a personal experience. Please be patient
or not, you decide. 😆
Last week has been the longest week of my life – okay I’m exaggerating, but you get the point. 😂
Josh had dengue. His fever started Saturday after lunch and continued on until Sunday. He went to the hospital Saturday late afternoon but was told to go back Monday since he still cannot be tested for dengue (he was told that it takes 2 to 7 days incubation of the virus before it manifests, or something to that extent, please don’t quote me though 😁). By Monday morning, he had a blood test and was said to have a 129 platelet count. He was then asked to return the next day for another blood test so they could see if his platelets will go down from there. Monday night came, he was already vomiting. So Tuesday morning, his parents already brought him to the hospital, had a blood test and yep, his platelets decreased to 110. That same day he was admitted.
So with all that happening, of course the girlfriend got terribly worried. Overthinking and paranoia does not really go well together. (So friends remember, don’t feed those thoughts. Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life. – Proverbs 4:23 NCV) But I am not here to talk about myself as a girlfriend, or about how hard it was for me choo-choo. This is not a mushy post about my boyfriend. I wanted to highlight something else here. I am writing about this because I want to share something more important, I want to talk about fear and what the Lord has revealed to me about my heart through this experience with the hope that it could help you in some way.
[The very reason why I am overly affected is because] Ever since my dad died, I had this fear of sudden death. When my dad died, it caused me too much pain. Too much that in every corner of our house, I would stop and just cry. I also stopped keeping a planner and remembering happy moments. For years, I protected myself by practicing to easily forget anything that makes me happy. I thought to myself that at least when someone else dies, I won’t remember that much and the pain won’t be as much as well.
[Here’s the backstory, allow me to waste your time a little bit longer] My dad died while he was away from home. He was aboard ship in Russia, veryyyyyy far from us. Heart attack, as his death certificate indicated. But based on the hospital’s record, he was admitted for more or less 8 hours before he passed on. And the battle of not knowing what actually happened was the hardest. That feeling that you just have to accept things as they were and just move on. My mom, my sisters and brother did not have much choice but to move forward and just accept the fact that dad is gone THAT FAST. Thirty-three days after niya sumakay ng barko, twenty-one days after his birthday and just nine days after my college graduation. It was a terrible terrible terrible feeling. Even up to this day, I still remember how heart-wrenching that experience was for us – personally for me, especially as I was the closest to him, I was the youngest daughter, his favorite [they say]. It was then an ongoing battle in my mind. It was a struggle. To trust the Lord and to get over what had happened. I realized how short life was. How things can change in just a span of 8 hours. How your plans can never go your way and how sometimes, you won’t have a choice but to work your way out through the dreadful circumstances life throws at you. After three years, by the grace of God, I was completely healed. I can declare with all of my heart that God is still good. His plans are sovereign even at the times that we do not understand, and by faith, all things work together for the good.
But you know fear has its own way of slowly creeping in. When Josh told me, he was positive for dengue, my mind got way ahead of me. I started thinking of the worst scenarios (blood transfusion, critical blood test results etc.) based on the stories of the people who had dengue. I started worrying so much and before I knew it, fear has already taken over my mind and my heart. I could not get any sleep. I woke up every two hours, checking up on Josh even if I know he wouldn’t be able to reply because he feels too weak. I was even checking up on my mom if she was okay, checking if everyone in the house is still alive and breathing. I was just so paranoid to lose another loved one that I already forgot about God – to submit to His sovereignty over my life and the lives of the people around me.
And the hardest thing about the whole situation, dengue has no definite and medically-acclaimed cure. Day after day, the nurses will just check you for a blood test, check your blood pressure, check if you have no signs of bleeding and check for signs of neurological changes or if you’re already becoming lethargic. They’ll double check if you still know your complete name and birthday, in short, kung aware ka pa sa sarili mong katinuan. And as the patient, all you have to do is….. Well, wait until the platelets will go up again and make sure your immune system is strong enough to combat the virus. Drink water, eat fruits, get enough sleep. But because the nurse comes in and out of the room for the daily check-up and blood test after 12 hours (every after 6 hours on Josh’s day 4 and 5 as it were the critical phase, his platelets went down to 44 and 38), its not easy to get that enough, uninterrupted sleep.
Now here’s what I realized from the entire waiting experience – a different kind of waiting experience I must say:
1. You have to leave your fears of the past in the past. The wife of our NewGen pastor told me, “Not all situations are the same”. Yes, you may go through the same things at different times. You perhaps experienced a same situation in the past and the outcome then was heartbreaking and painful (just like what happened to me) that it has now created fear in your heart. It greatly affected you, the way you think, the way you relate to people, the way you react to situations. You’ve built walls, you’ve been consumed by your worries and doubts. And without you noticing it, fear already has a foothold in your heart and have overpowered your faith. I repeat, NOT ALL SITUATIONS ARE THE SAME. Learn how to trust the Lord as you go through that trial (again), learn to surrender the pain and the anxiety it caused in the past so you won’t have to carry them to the present. The same God that have saved you then is the same God that will lead you through the current valleys in your life.
2. Prayer changes our hearts. Most of the time while we wait, we pray not because we come to God with a genuine heart of submitting to His will. We pray demanding that He should do something for us and expecting to have something good to come out from it – “because we prayed”. Day after day, I was praying to the Lord that the next blood tests will have better results. And day after day, I was let down. Platelets are still decreasing. While it is good to have faith in the Lord, to declare Him being in control of every situation, we have to realize that prayers are not magic pills. Not because we prayed about it, we’ll already get the result we expect to have. Prayer does not work that way. Instead, we should pray because we want to invite the Lord as we go through a disheartening or challenging situation. We should pray because we want the Lord to give us peace. We should pray because we trust the Lord and His will over our life. Yes, we may not all the time get our expected result but it will give our heart peace and courage to face what we are and will be going through.
3. Wait with faith. I was doing my own research and consultations from my friend in med school and while everything Josh was experiencing was really part of the dengue phase, I was getting impatient. I wanted to fast track everything. I believe in my heart that Josh will be safe and he is in good hands, I was telling myself, its just dengue Mae, compared naman to other sicknesses and diseases some people are going through. (But I cannot also dismiss the fact that in snap, a lot can happen) My bestfriend, being the supportive that she was, sent me a verse and was rebuked by the Lord through Psalm 112:
Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. [Psalm 112:1, 6-8 NLT)
Even if I have been a Christian and have become a leader for more or less 6 years now, the Lord is continuously teaching me new things. I was reminded to not let current circumstances dishearten me. He revealed to me the importance of having to wait with faith – to be faithful in prayer even if the situations don’t get better. Wait on the Lord with faith. Whatever your fears are, lay it down at the foot of the cross and believe in the power of His Word: Put your confident trust in the Lord for He will take care of you.
We all have fears we need to conquer. Some we can move on from in an instant, some we’ll need forever to understand. But the God who has carried me through the most meaningful experience of pain I had when I lost my dad is the same God who can show you that there is hope after every losing battle.
My fear from the past still stings from time to time but I know for a fact that it could not and should never hold me down. Remember if God is for us, who can be against us?
PS: Josh has been discharged already last Sunday and is now in Cebu with our NewGen pastor ministering to a youth camp. Thank you for everyone who prayed! 💪