By Kathleen Swaney

September of 2013 did not begin well for me. Seeing my doctor twice that week and getting a call at 10:30 p.m. to go to the emergency room for a highly elevated white blood count were not what I had hoped for. It was my birthday!

It was 4 a.m. before I was able to get a room in the hospital. I sent my husband home to get some sleep. Seven to eight days later they finally diagnosed the problem.

At first, I was very scared and anxious. Though I was looking to my faith to sustain me, I seemed to be lacking in anything to bolster my faith or hope in this situation. Desperately trying to pray and not finding the words, I suddenly felt peace as I sensed my longtime friend and prayer partner was there “in the Spirit” telling me I would be OK.

My husband of less than a year was there every day giving me a kind of support I had never had before. On about the second day, Pastor Dan called to see how I was doing and prayed for me. It meant a lot! (He was out of state at a conference at the time.)

My husband brought my book of daily Scripture readings. Reading these every morning helped me because even my favorite Scriptures did not seem to come to my mind at all.

Over the intercom someone read prayers and a Scripture verse in the morning and in the evening. At night, I pictured my praying friends around my bed. I began to feel comforted.

Two unusual, unrelated heart incidents came up, and I was able to get through them. As days went by, I even had the opportunity to share my life and “faith” with some of my wonderful caring nurses. I told a few that I would pray for their needs to finish their training.

In the afternoon of the ninth day, I was finally told I could go home!

Afterwards, I realized once again how we cannot get through trials and difficulties in our lives without our community–the Body of Christ–reaching out to us with their prayers and love. And God’s Word has special meaning for me: “Though I am surrounded by troubles, You will bring me safely through them” (Psalm 138:7).