April 8, 2012…I was in the Critical Care Unit at Summa Hospital. This was Day 2 in the CCU…and I was stable, but not great. It was Easter Sunday. Because the CCU has very strict visiting hours, due to the severity of the patients and the rest that they need, I was alone throughout set hours of the day.
There I lay…PICC line in arm, BiPAP mask covering my face, helping me to breath, beeps filling the sounds in my room, nurses and doctors in and out checking my vitals. The mask shown in the picture below was a step-down from my first…that covered my nose and mouth. My family could not bear to capture a picture of that. This picture was taken because we were celebrating my move to the smaller mask!
I was a zombie. A human statue. No tears. No words.
Later, I would learn/realize that I was basically in shock and survival mode…my body not allowing me to let out what I was feeling inside.
Later, I would also learn of Romans 8:26…
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
As I laid there, I was still aware of everything happening. Drugged up with pain killers beyond imaginable, my mind was tired, but clear. I knew it was Easter…I knew I was missing out on my daughter’s “first holiday.”
I’ve said before that I don’t really remember praying while I was in the hospital…which seems crazy because something as severe as everything that I went through, you’d think I would be praying for my life every second of every day. But I didn’t…at least I didn’t pray any prayers of substance. I never felt like I had the words…I was too tired to connect with God…I was too shocked to acknowledge that I needed Him…and honestly, looking back, I don’t think I thought I did. I never let myself think that I might die…so the only prayers I remember consisted of a quick – “God, are you kidding me? I just want to be with my daughter. Just get me out of here and home to her.”
Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede our prayers for us according to the will of God. This is astonishing to me. And because the Spirit’s prayers for us are always according to God’s will, our prayers are essentially always answered.
So in my shallow prayers, the Spirit was interceding…pleading for God’s will to be done in groanings too deep for words. I imagine how my prayers were filtered by the Spirit…my shallow prayer of, “God, I just want to be with my daughter. Just get me out of here and home to her.” The Holy Spirit was interceding…Here is what she really means, God, “before you save my life, first save my soul. I cannot do this without you. I am nothing without you. Use this experience to break my heart completely…to empty it of the “me first” attitude, so that I can know the mercy and grace of Jesus…so that I can be filled with YOU…and live for YOU. I trust my life in your hands…I know you do not make mistakes and you’ve designed this journey for me. I know that you will use it for something truly amazing. Use this to change my life’s direction…through this, may I experience a heart change…one that will change the course of my future forever. One that will set my eyes on you, Jesus. One that will give me an unwavering faith in you and your will for my life.”
This is amazing and awesome!
Knowing that the Holy Spirit tenderly prays for us in our weakness, according to God’s will, should be an encouragement…a reminder to pray in all circumstances. A reminder that even when we’re not sure what to pray, when life is so confusing and our circumstances are bleak and our words and prayers become shallow and weak…our prayers and deepest needs are heard clearly by our Almighty Father in Heaven with the help of the Spirit.
Praise the Lord!
His will, His way…