A Dark And Stormy Night

rainy-night

Before I knew what was happening, it was over. A horrific crunch. Searing pain. I dug my fingernails into the steering wheel and closed my eyes, trying to focus on my breathing.

 In. Out. Slower. In. Out. SLOWER!

 It wasn’t helping and I was about to hyperventilate.

A knock on the window nearly broke my tentative grip on sanity. “Ma’am? Ma’am? Are you okay? Should I call an ambulance?”

I opened the door and the stranger stood there in the dark with the rain pouring over him and into the car. Instinctively, I looked at the place of my pain. My right foot was mangled.

Oh, God!

I was too shaken to speak. The stranger’s head ducked as he tried to see my foot.

“Ma’am, I’m calling 9-1-1 right now. Let’s close your door and keep you dry.”

Waiting for the ambulance, I had one clear thought: elevate the injured foot. I turned and pulled my leg up onto the seat next to me, careful not to let the foot touch anything. Pain worse than any I’d ever known pressed in on me. I closed my eyes and rocked in my seat. Nausea threatened to overwhelm me as I prayed the only words I could find: Oh God Oh God Oh God…

Through the ambulance ride and the wait in the wheelchair at the ER, I sat wet, cold, and shaking so hard that my teeth chattered. My parents made it to the hospital in time for my Dad to help hold me down while the doctor snapped my dislocated bones back into place. Only after my second shot of painkillers did my mind begin to thaw enough to form words. I wasn’t proud of the thoughts, but they were sincere.

Why did You let this happen to me, God? Where were You? How could You let this happen to me? I thought You were supposed to be protecting me. If I can’t trust You with this, what can I trust You with?

Weeks later, as I hopped around on my slowly-healing foot, the fear, the doubt, and the questions remained. I was so ashamed of myself for questioning God. He’s GOD—Who am I to question Him? I went to church, to work, and stayed busy—all the time, holding my finger up to God, saying, “Just a minute, God. Just a minute.” But I would never quite slow down enough to have a conversation with Him.

After several weeks passed, I was sitting at home one Sunday evening, feeling like everything in the world was wrong. My foot was hurting, but so was my heart. I was having nightmares. My emotions were upside down and I felt completely lost. I sat down with my little journal and wrote: “Lord, I’m a mess. I know that I’m running from You. But I can’t live in fear anymore.”

And because God was standing there waiting for me, He had His answers ready.

There are some things that God does and/or allows that are easy to understand. But sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. At the times that things are hard or scary or bad or difficult to understand, I can come to Him and be honest with Him about how I feel. In that relationship, He’ll give me what I need to make it through, whether it’s the answer or just peace over the situation.

Nearly a year after the accident, I sat in the foot and ankle injury specialist’s office and listened as he explained to me how the emergency room had treated my injury incorrectly. He explained that I would simply have to learn how to live with the pain. (“After all, Miss Salter, now that you’ve passed thirty, your body just doesn’t heal like you’re a teenager anymore.”)

I walked out of his office that day, disgusted. I sat in my car and said, “Lord, that just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think I can accept this.” It wasn’t a formal “Heal Me” type prayer, but God must have heard me, because within a matter of weeks, I was pain-free and have been pain-free ever since.

In the almost three years since my accident, God has reinforced to me over and over again that if find myself in any situation, then He will protect me there, even if it’s not in a way that I understand. When I’m scared, if I simply turn to Him and cry out from wherever I am, His Presence will find me there and will comfort me through it. And when it’s all over, I’ll find that I’m closer to Him than I ever was before.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

* This is a repost from April 2009.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. God is truly a wonderful Father, allowing us to question Him, remaining with us until we are ready to lean on Him.
    I am so glad your ankle healed.

  2. Like Helen said, God is a wonderful Father! He is always near, just waiting for us to Trust in Him!

    Very encouraging and heartfelt post, Sarah.

  3. Thank you Sarah. I suspect it might have been emotional for you to write this post. Thank you for being so brave.

  4. Sarah, thanks for sharing this. Many of the questions we ask might never be answered in this life. We don’t have all of the answers no matter how we try, we can only trust and believe. And that’s exactly the reason why it’s called faith!

  5. Thanks for sharing this story, Sarah.

  6. God is so good to us and is so great all of the time. Nothing is too big for him. We are constantly reminded to trust, aren’t we?

  7. So often is easier to doubt God than to trust Him, isn’t it? And we can never discount the perfection when he created our bodies. No man-made machine has ever come close to the synchrony and beauty of human flesh. Loved this, Sarah!

  8. That was awesome Sarah. I love hearing stories of people who trust God when it doesn’t make sense to. You’ve bolstered my faith today. Thank you for that!!!

  9. It’s amazing how we can think God failed us, but He was simply allowing some hidden feelings to come to the surface and be dealt with. It’s a beautiful thing. :)

  10. You know, I think it’s better to cry out to God in anger in hurt than to not speak to him at all. Look at David, after all.

    I think God welcomes our honestly, even though we can’t keep anything from Him anyway. Good post, Sarah!

  11. Sarah Salter says:

    Ooooh, good observation, Pastor Jason! It’s part of the Refiner’s Fire.

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    You know, when we’re growing up, our moms teach us that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. But that doesn’t apply to God at all. One thing about God is that He can handle the truth. He can’t do anything with silence or with a lie. But the truth, He can do something with. Thanks, Katdish!

  13. Wow, Sarah. You’ve led an interesting life!

    Great story of trust – and how we’re so fickle with it!

  14. Sarah Salter says:

    LOL! Peter, that’s an understatement! God has never let me get bored for long! Thanks for reading & for commenting. You are a great encouragement to me!

  15. Sarah, I think we’ve all had those times when we hang our head from God and say “How could you?” What an emotional time for you, thankfully with a good outcome. Thanks for sharing a difficult time in your life.

  16. “God has reinforced to me over and over again that if find myself in any situation, then He will protect me there, even if it’s not in a way that I understand.” Amen. With people trust is earned but with God he is always playing with a full deck while we can only see one card. Does that analogy work?

  17. Oh, Sarah. I can only imagine what this time was like for you. I rejoice with you for healing, for renewed trust that lives more deeply than before. I’m so very glad I didn’t miss this post.

  18. David Allen says:

    WOW, I read this the first time yes, but thinking of you hurt makes me hurt…

  19. Praise God you’re not in pain all the time. Even though we may not understand why God allows certain bad things to happen to us, I’m so thankful He never leaves us in despair and without hope. Your foot my not have been properly treated by the ER folks, but every day God’s grace is sufficient and He takes the pain away.

  20. Neal Salter (Papa Bear) says:

    God continues to use you, my favorite daughter, to remind me just how good He really is. I remember that night, listening to you cry on the cell phone as you sitting on I-95 in pain, hurting, afraid and your mother and I trying to get back to Burlington after spending the day on the road; now having to back track and get to Smithfield to the hospital just to see how bad you really were hurt. Inside I cried as well, because when you’re hurting, I’m also hurting. It was on that ride, I, too, heard the Father say, “everything’s going to be alright.” “When you’re in pain, I am also in pain.” “But, my Son, Jesus bore your pain so you don’t have to carry it, just give it back to Me.” When your mother and I got to the hospital and saw that you were alright, I know a dislocated foot isn’t alright, but we knew God had been with you to care for you and keep you safe. Thanks for reminding me just how much I daily have to depend on HIM!

  21. hi, sarah!

    i broke my foot a few years ago trying to catch a runaway puppy. it was excruciating. i truly felt that God was telling me that i needed to slow down. at the time, life was extremely busy and i wasn’t asking others for help. soooo…i had to learn the hard way. just me–i’m a slow learner. He tried to tell me straight up, but i didn’t listen.

    am i saying God broke my foot? well, not really. but He sure did use it for HIs purposes!

    i’m glad you are healed. thanks for sharing this story.

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