A couple of weeks ago I experienced a series of symptoms that I later learned all suggested a heart attack. I guess I missed the memo about cardiac symptoms. Who knew that dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and sweating were indicators of a cardiac malfunction? Maybe you, but I didn’t. So, once the world stopped spinning, and I started to feel better, I proceeded with getting ready for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I would have preferred to have climbed back into bed, but John and I had appointments to get to so, as women have done for hundreds of centuries, I pressed on.
I’m going to fast-forward in this story, because the details about my medical symptoms are not the purpose of this blog. Long story shortened, I had some tests run on Tuesday, and had another on Wednesday morning before leaving for Bible Study. But, between the incident on Tuesday, and the appointment on Wednesday, I’d heard more about the cardiac symptoms that I’d experienced and was starting to grow concerned. That, combined with a much more painful than usual blood draw on Wednesday morning, left me a little on edge. So, by the time I got to Bible Study, I was kind of a hot mess.
Before our large group meets for Bible Study, the leadership team meets for prayer. As we were gathering a friend asked me how I was and I completely lost it as I told her what was going on. She told me she’d ask the group to pray for me. So, during our prayer time, she mentioned my medical concerns to the group and asked the other leaders to gather around to pray. Right at that moment, all of the women in the room (about 25) walked towards me to lay hands on me and lift me up to the Lord. It was a beautiful and humbling sight to watch these women, whom I love, gather around me.
As my friends moved into a circle around me the sight brought to mind a story I’d heard probably 30 or more years ago. I don’t remember all the details of the story, but this much I remember. A well-loved Lutheran Bishop got very ill and was fighting for his life. Someone asked him what was helping him get through this time. He answered by saying that he felt like a tree in a very thick forest. The tree was ready to fall but couldn’t because of all the other trees in such close proximity holding it up. Isn’t that a great visual of the body of Christ: all of us encircling each other to keep one another from falling?
As a Christian, I am not a lone tree. God doesn’t intend for us to be self-sufficient. He actually tells us to take care of each other. Galatians 6:20 in The Message Bible says, “Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”
God also calls us to pray for one another. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
In other words, he made us to need each other.
Thankfully, the blood work I had on that Wednesday morning determined that I had NOT had a heart attack. But, even if I had, I know that the amazing women in my life would be there to care for me, lift me up, and move in close, so I don’t fall in the middle of the storm.