Bearing Witness to the Truth
Christi Lupher shares how doing her duty as a Christian completely healed stress-related stomach cramps.
Categories: Gratitude, Health, Power of Prayer, Putting God First
After our daughter was born, I started a project to read the Bible all the way through. I went slowly—reading it in two different translations (the KJV and the NIV), stopping to look things up in commentaries and read books on the times, places, etc. It took me years, but it was very enriching. One of the main ideas that leapt out at me was the importance of bearing witness to the truth. It’s what the prophets did. It’s what the disciples did. It’s what Jesus said his whole purpose was (John 18:37). So this idea was sort of resonating with me: bear witness to the Truth.
A few years into this, when our daughter was four and our son had just turned one, we planned a trip with some friends (who had kids the same age) to Galveston, Texas, to play at the beach. But trips were extra stressful for me, and whenever I felt stress in those days, I would find myself struggling with stomach cramps. I knew it was related to stress, so as I packed and corralled the kids, I kept telling myself, “Think calm thoughts. Don’t get stressed!” But the thought that it was my responsibility not to get any more stressed was more stressful. So I was already uptight and in pain.
About noon, our friends called to say that the tropical storm which had been swirling around in the Gulf had transformed into a hurricane, changed course, and was now slamming into the hotel we’d been heading for. The police had literally closed the island and were evacuating it. I did not find this information calming. After a couple of hours of scrambling for ideas, we decided to head inland for San Antonio to a little resort that had a river-like pool and a little fake beach.
We arrived late that evening, tired and frustrated. After a hectic day, I bathed and dressed our baby and toddler and tried to get them calm enough to lie down and close their eyes. As I got ready for bed, I was in so much pain, I didn’t see how I could sleep. The only way I’d ever found freedom from this particular problem was solid, long night’s sleep—10 or 12 hours worth. So it looked like in the morning I was going to be the exhausted, short-tempered, pain-filled final straw to drag everyone else down on this, our already half-ruined vacation.
And my son started crying, like all babies do. But I was worried he would keep our friends in the room next to us awake, plus whoever was unfortunate enough to be in the room on the other side of us. And it was all my fault—or that’s how I felt, even though I knew better. I picked up the baby and walked the floor with him, praying for peace. I lay down and held him close, speaking gently to him.
Finally I gave up trying to fix anything. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t heal the pain in my stomach, and I couldn’t stop the baby from crying. But I decided I wasn’t going to just lie awake all night wallowing in misery and worry. I was going to spend it doing my duty as a Christian—bearing witness to the truth. So I started in with what I knew: “God is all good, and He is all powerful, and He is ever present. No matter what it looks like, God IS good—." And, instantly the pain in my side disappeared, and our baby stopped crying. Instantly. It was like a light switch flipping. I was so grateful—so grateful. I just lay there saying in my head, “Thank you, Father!” and bearing witness to the Truth, until I very peacefully fell asleep.
The next morning, I was just bubbling along, while the general feeling of our group was grumpy. In addition to everything else, it was, of course, raining. We finally decided to go to the San Antonio Zoo, but we had to go buy raincoats and umbrellas first. This wasn’t anyone’s idea of an awesome way to spend a vacation, but I was so grateful and told my friend, the other mother, about my wonderful healing.
By the time we got to the zoo, it was lunch. And the tables under a closed snack-bar roof we spotted were dirty with lines of ants running across them. As we scrubbed them clean, I kept looking out at the gray drizzle thinking, “You know, I bet the ducks must be so happy today!” As we finally settled down and pulled out our penny-thin peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I found myself bursting out, “Isn’t it a lovely day!” I think everyone looked at me a little oddly. I looked at me a little oddly. But I couldn’t help it. I was just so joyful.
And that was the turning point in the group mood. It WAS a lovely day. We had the zoo all to ourselves. We got to view all the animals for as long as we wanted. The girls collected acorns, rocks, and leaves in little plastic bags. The boys rode in their strollers without complaint. We grown-ups had a lovely time chatting. And the gray, drizzly weather was just beautiful to my eyes. And, best of all, instead of being the one to drag the whole group down, my healing enabled me to be the one to lift it up.
A week later, as I was sharing this experience at church, it suddenly struck me how fully I had been healed that night. As I told about my declaration, “Isn’t it a lovely day!,” I realized that at the zoo, without any effort on my part, I had still been bearing witness to the Truth: It was “the day which the Lord hath made” (Ps 118:24 KJV)! And the blinders had been taken off my eyes so I could see it. All this from the humble willingness to give up thought for myself and simply do my duty as a Christian. All this from one small lesson out of the Bible.
Look for an upcoming interview with Christi Lupher sharing insights about transitioning from the workplace to stay-at-home mom, supply, redemption, trust.