by Margaret Bellers
Her sickness began with the turning of the seasons. As the leaves burned over-bright and the grass withered, the fevers and the pain began. She called for Me and I came. She asked Me to stay by her side through the lengthening nights. I did.
As the days passed, she lay curled beneath blankets, head sweaty with fever, hair matted, face pale. When she had the strength to sit, I combed and washed her hair. I told her stories when she could not sleep.
The only thing she wanted more than Me beside her was to get better. Please, heal me, became her constant plea, echoing through her darkened room like the ceaseless winter winds. When her health worsened, she shunned Me, commanded Me out of her room, yelled for Me to leave her alone.
But when the pain became unbearable, and the night’s darkness crowded in, she whispered My name and I sat beside her. When sleep fled, I held her hand and said, I love you. I am here.
Her hand was small in mine and wilted even as I held it. Her eyes, glazed with sickness, looked at Me and her heart whispered, Thank you.
Yet I knew even then, more than Me, she wanted health.
Doctors came and went. Their visits brought bursts of hope that faded into thick apathy when they had no answers, no solutions.
She stared at the ceiling for days and nights, until finally her apathy crumbled away and all that was left was her aching heart, too young to hold this pain. She cried, and I cried with her. She fell asleep with Me beside her.
Snow coated the world that January. Icicles lined houses and the sun hung unevenly in the sky, a blurred circle behind weeping clouds.
Some days she loved Me. Others she would cry and curse Me saying, If you loved me, you would make me better.
If only she could understand the way of My love; not the rapid rescue from darkness, but the hand held in the dark, the Friend that doesn’t leave, the Father who watches over His sleeping daughter.
Though it seemed like it never would, January passed, and February too, with aching slowness. Hope failed her. She no longer begged for healing. She slept with her back to Me as I sat beside her.
Then one night, she awoke, wide-eyed and burning with fever. I had pulled back the curtains from her window and stars glittered above us, just out of reach.
I had a dream, she said. I was lost in a snowstorm. I couldn’t see past my own hand the snow fell so thick. I walked and walked but made it nowhere. I was so cold. I was alone and didn’t know where I was going. I thought I would die.
Then I saw a faint light in the distance. When I got close, I saw it was a fire, warm and glowing. Beside it was a table, covered in all sorts of food.
You were there, smiling. You had a coat and you wrapped me in it and told me to sit. My feet were bloody from walking so long in the snow, so You bandaged them.
We sat together and talked and laughed. When I finished eating you said, ‘The storm will last the night, or maybe longer, but you can stay here with Me till it’s over.’
Her eyes glittered with tears as she told Me her dream.
But I didn’t stay. She continued. I got up and walked back into the storm, alone. I left the coat too. I don’t know why, but I just did. You were calling my name, but I didn’t turn back.
She shivered. I lifted the covers to her chin. Why did I do that? She finally asked. Why did I leave? Why didn’t I go back to you?
I didn’t answer. I felt a deep sadness within myself.
Then it was spring. Her sickness, undiagnosed and untreatable by doctors, began to fall away from her of its own accord.
Color returned to her face. On the first warm day, I helped her out of bed and together we sat under the sun.
Is this the table set in the storm? From my dream? She asked. Sunlight danced on her closed eyelids. A bird chirped from an oak beyond. She smiled brilliantly. If it is, I won’t ever leave.
She turned her head, and squinting at Me she asked, You’re smiling, but You’re sad. Why?
I did not answer and soon she drifted off to sleep.
Days passed and she grew steadily healthier. Flowers stretched upward and blossomed into color. She grew strong and full of life with them.
She stopped holding My hand in the dark, stopped calling Me to her bedside.
When long, bright summer days arrived, Opportunity knocked on the door. She opened it, hesitantly at first, but then broadly, dutifully, hopefully. She went with it, dreaming and planning and growing.
I would have joined her. I would have left her sick-sodden room with her. I would have guided her, been a friend to her, held her hand even then, but like a dream I faded from her memory.
Summer passed and I waited for her familiar voice to call Me, but she chose to weather the winter alone.
Did she see the snow falling thick around her still? Did she hear My voice, calling her softly to sit by the fire, to eat till she was full, to listen to my stories, to laugh with Me, to cry with Me? Did she remember My stooped back as I washed her matted hair, bandaged her bloodied feet?
I am her father. Even if she does not think of Me, I remember her. I remember her voice, and even if it calls me faintly, and in the darkness, she will find Me seated there beside her in the night.
Margaret Bellers is an aspiring writer in her twenties. Throughout her adult life, she has struggled with Lyme disease and chronic migraines, and through them has experienced God’s personal, unconditional love for her. Her relationship with God is a true and lasting joy for her, even amidst suffering. She wishes to share her Savior and His love with others through writing.