Some years ago, I passed through a shadow of deep depression when I was convinced that I must be dying of something really serious. In retrospect, I call it ‘hypochondria’ but it was absolutely terrible at the time. I’d look at the three sweet faces of my children and groan deep inside my heart, convinced that I’d never live to see them grow up. It was all I could do those few months to get out of bed and plod along without bursting into tears. I’d been to doctors, who were not encouraging and suggested alarming tests for various conditions. I was terrified of going through with the tests, but just as petrified not to.
One evening while I was out walking, a sudden thought popped into my head. I wondered if depending on these gruff doctors’ dire words and grueling tests for absolute proof might mean that I was ‘relying on the horses and chariots of Egypt,’ as it says of the Israelites in the Book of Isaiah. The more I pondered it, the more reasonable it seemed that modern people may find it too easy to rely on medical ‘horses and chariots’ for their well-being.
I said one of my most heartfelt prayers ever. I asked God to please send me a sign that He loved me and would bring me through this heartbreaking trial. I felt so sick and exhausted that I wanted to receive an unmistakable sign before the end of the night! I don’t think I can wait another day! And Lord, just so that I’ll be sure to recognize your sign, could it please include something about Egypt?
I went home longing to see something as simple as an image of a Pharaoh or pyramid on TV. How I would have pounced on that as a possible ‘sign’ but nothing happened. There was an illusion to north east Africa in a book I was reading, but I miserably dismissed that as too vague. At last I went to bed disappointed and flipped open a little book that I’d borrowed earlier that day from my in-laws. It was an old book from the 1960s, “None of these Diseases” by S. I. McMillen. There staring up at me on the very second page was a quote from the Bible and it was Exodus 15: 26. If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.
Those written words caused something like a bolt of electricity to pour through me. The tears I cried were full of relief and joy for the first time in months, instead of terror and fear. I had my first sound night sleep for a very long time. In the morning I felt confident that I could cancel those looming tests. By far best of all, I’ve been able to cling to those beautiful promises of Exodus 15: 26 whenever I’ve felt looming anxiety about some health issue, and immediately, my spirit begins to rest.
Do you agree that this was a wonderful, generous sign from God? Every so often, in my depressed moments, the thought crosses my mind, "It was just a coincidence!" Then when I remember the remarkable accuracy and impeccable timing, I find my courage renewed again.