“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” (Ps 91:5-6, NIV)
Tomorrow will be exactly one year since I experienced my terror in the night. I had just celebrated the birth of Jesus with my family, and I had enjoyed every part of the celebration. I was completely relaxed, and when around ten at night I was starting to doze off, I went to bed.
I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea approximately five years earlier, and as a result, I never went to bed without my C-PAP mask. But as I put it on that Christmas night, I suddenly became overwhelmed with terrifying anxiety. I couldn’t breathe. I felt as though I was suffocating, and I tore the mask off at record speed.
It was the first anxiety attack I had ever experienced, and I could feel my heart beating frantically.
Up until this time, my sleep apnea had been getting worse. As a result, my C-PAP machine had been turned up to higher and higher settings. The high air pressure caused my mask to leak, and to avoid being awaken in the middle of the night with the sound of air escaping from my mask, I had resorted to sleeping on my back. What I didn’t know was that this only made the sleep apnea worse. I had already experienced a few episodes where I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was unable to breath. These episodes found their culmination in what I experienced that Christmas night.
The following night I had another attack. It was a terrifying experience, and for the next three days I was completely unable to sleep. During all that time, however, I received comfort from above. Though it was far from reality at the time, I received assurance that all would end well.
Looking back I can only see beauty through all of this. I can certainly understand Paul’s words when he wrote: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV). I had prayed to my Father to help me grow closer to Him, and these experiences drew me closer to Him more than than ever before.
Today I feel quite different from one year ago. A year ago my health was fragile and I was often out of breath. Today I can vouch that I can fly like an eagle, as every aspect of my life has improved hundredfold. Isaiah was so right when under the inspiration of God’s Spirit he wrote: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isa 40:31)
There truly was nothing to worry about. God led me though this experience in order to help me learn to depend on Him and Him alone in all things. I would like to share this journey with you so that when you experience adversity in this life, and you most certainly will sooner or later, you don’t have to panic, for your Father in heaven will lead you through.
Two days ago we had freezing rain. The ice built up on the power lines resulted in multiple power outages, which crippled our entire town. In our home, the lack of power rendered our sump pump inoperable, and before long water was rising in our basement. We weren’t worried, however. Nature was displaying such beauty around us that we knew God would come through. And He did. Right on time.
There is beauty amidst our trials. We generally never see it, for we tend to focus more on our problems than on God Himself. I invite you to join me as I relate to you the things I experienced in my journey through terror; things that led me to utter beauty. There is a God who is faithful, and He loves you!
Written on December 24, 2013
(To access the entire, “Flying Like an Eagle” devotional series, please click here.)