I know, the terminology is associated with marriage vows, but to be sure, I have been forced to consider this in terms of my relationship with God, because after all, I am in union with Him first. Two weeks ago, I was experiencing the worst headache in my life. I actually went to bed with the headache, felt it nagging at me throughout the night and then it greeted me in the morning. I went to my doctor for some previously scheduled lab work and requested for my blood pressure to be taken. It was slightly elevated compared to my normal. I went on to work, head still hurting. As the day progressed, my head continued to hurt. Finally, mid day, I elected to go home. As I neared our home, I stopped by Walgreens to have my blood pressure taken again. My blood pressure was 166/114. The provider suggested that I either go directly to my doctor or the ER. When I reached the ER, my blood pressure was 177/114. Immediately, I was asked, “How long have you had high blood pressure?” My response, “I don’t.” I was given an IV and a cocktail of three medications to address my headache and blood pressure. Pause. I have never been so afraid in my life. Further, to look at the faces of my loved ones, in addition to the blinking monitor with red font of my numbers was frightening. As the medication began to take effect, I recalled murmuring “Jesus!” Enter in sickness and in health. Why wouldn’t the God who cares for me in all my healthy days take care of me when I’m operating in a crisis of sickness? I am reminded of Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” If ever I needed a time to be upheld, it was then…and now.
This was particularly evident navigating illness as a woman of color. I’m providing the abbreviated version, but take me at my word, the intersection at play of being Black and female was loudly pronounced in the interactions I experienced. It didn’t matter that I hold a terminal degree, had insurance and was deliberate in communicating the King’s english, with family members present in the ER and subsequent visits to the doctor. I still felt like a little Black girl, with little agency, trying desperately to get someone in the medical community to take me seriously. It was exhausting, frustrating and challenging. Even through this turmoil, God remained, when I felt silenced, ignored and dismissed. God remains when we feel this way just navigating life when we are not sick. The weapon may form, but it shall not, it will not prosper (Isaiah 54:17)!!!!!
I am grateful to God for the gift of life! I am grateful to God for having opportunity to write about the benefits of this thing called salvation and relationship with Him. I am grateful for the prayer warriors that went into closet assignment immediately upon hearing about my crisis. Since this incident, I’ve navigated regular headaches. I am monitoring them and maintaining records for my doctor in reference to my blood pressure. However, while doing this, I realized that while managing my activity, I neglected to engage in the best medicine of all for me, which is worship! How did I miss that? I mean, it is what has healed me in every facet of my life. And while, this is new territory, the same remedy, which is tried and true is the absolute best for me. Acts 17:28 declares, “In Him we live, move and have our being!” It wasn’t until I fully embraced this scripture, that I experienced a release and a pivot toward Jehovah Rapah, the God who heals. I began with listening to “Strong Name,” by Darius Paulk, then “Settle Here,” by William Murphy, sprinkled a bit of “Stay,” by William McDowell, and on to Maranda Curtis’ version of “Waymaker,” rounded out by “Have Your Way” and “Agreed” on J.J. Hairston’s project. When I tell you I got to feeling better in my spirit and began to remind myself and the doubt in my head of who God continues to be in my life, despite what I endure. I am reminded of David, and engaging in “encouraging myself.” I don’t have all the answers right now, which is most difficult for an inquisitive person like me – but faith doesn’t require answers as a prerequisite. Faith just requires faith. God has promised to be with me and with you. It’s a promise He is obligated to keep, no matter our race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or the intersection of it all, in sickness and in health. And I am mighty glad about it!