The other day I was talking with a good friend of mine discussing trials, and how sometimes they can be such a burden. She is going through a tough time right now, and I was sharing with her my vast experience of 51 years. (haha)
I recalled the many times that I have gone through trials of different natures – times of uncertainty, times of struggle, times of illness – and how each one brought me closer to God. Each time, He made Himself so real to me. Each time His hand brought a sense of comfort even in the storm. Each time He made it very clear He knew what was best, and would make sure that His will was done.
As my friend and I were talking, I remembered a specific time of trouble I went through when I fervently prayed and asked God for one thing, and then when the reality of the situation was revealed, I was doing the crawfish asking Him, please God, I changed my mind - don’t do as I asked!
It was three years ago, our son had gone on a mission trip to Africa. It was a great opportunity for him, and we were very excited for him. The trip went well, and he came home and shared with us experiences of how God moved and worked.
About two weeks passed by and on a Thursday, he started running fever. He ran fever off and on. I put him on a regiment of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. By Saturday, he was still not better, so I sent him with his girlfriend (now his wife) to one of those quick medical places. They diagnosed him with strep and sent him home with some antibiotics.
Monday morning came around and he was still running fever off and on, but was steadily getting worse. We put him in the car and went to the ER at Baptist Hospital. When they checked him in, I told them that he had just returned two weeks ago from Africa, and could possibly have malaria. I really didn’t think that he had malaria, but told them just in case.
They immediately pulled him into a room, and hooked him up to an IV and blood pressure cuff. The nurse came in and took his vitals. His blood pressure was 30 over 80 (or reverse) I can’t remember; I just knew it was way below normal. The whole time I was sitting with my son, I quietly prayed under my breath, please God, don’t let him have malaria. My pastor-husband was there, being calm, trying to make jokes and making us laugh. We were keeping a smile on our faces, trying not to scare our very sick son with our concern.
The doctor came in (mind you not just any doctor, but a doctor who had just moved to Beaumont from Houston who had some experience with contagious disease. She told us that the blood work looked like malaria but she wanted to send us to Houston where they have more experience dealing with a disease like that.
She saved our boy’s life.
It only took an hour and a half from the time we entered the doors of the ER to get him by ambulance to Herman Memorial in Houston.
I drove home to gather up some clothes since my son was being admitted to the hospital in Houston. I would need to stay over. My mind was going a million places all at once.
I need to call the hotel, I need to call my mom, I need to call the …… Lord God, please don’t let him have malaria. Drive, Kristi.
I arrived at home, ran inside, gathered my things. By this time, my rock of a husband was there and our son was on his way to Houston. We got in the car, set the Garmin and drove to Herman Memorial.
We arrived a few hours after the ambulance did, and it was very late. We passed through security and they directed us to where our son was in the intensive care unit.
We found the unit, walked in and told the nurse who we were and asked to see our son. The nurse looked at the nurse on duty with her – a nonverbal sign that we weren’t ready to receive. They told us, we could see him, but we would have to gown up. He was in isolation.
What? Isolation? Dear God – please don’t let him have malaria.
We could see him through the glass; there were many people in his room, many IV lines, and a heart monitor. We gowned up, masks and everything, and went in to see our son. At this time, he was only 21 but very brave and strong.
We asked him, “How are you doing buddy?” He said “oh, I’m alright.”
We could not stay long, so we gave him hugs and kisses and said we would see him in a little while. We drove to the hotel, checked in and tried to get some rest.
Laying there in bed, thinking about all of the things that had just transpired, I just prayed:
Thank you, God, that he is doing better, and again, Lord, I don’t know why this has happened, but I know that You know everything about this whole thing. I trust You Lord – but please, please Lord, not malaria.
The next morning we were at the hospital by 7 a.m. We walked into a whole different medical scenario. Our patient's door was open, and when we checked with the nurse, she said “go on in – you don’t have to gown up.” Wow! That was great news! We went in to see our “little buddy,” he was indeed looking better. I walked out into the hall to talk to the nurse.
“Uh, excuse me, can you tell me what is different today about having to gown up?” I asked.
She said, well, last night we had to determine that yes, he does have malaria, and to eliminate any other diseases that he might have like ebola.
Ebola? did she just say Ebola? My God, My God! Thank You! Thank You! He only has malaria.
This experience taught me that sometimes in the struggle we often think that we know the quick fix or the answer to the problem, but really we have no idea what is needed. Please friends, be comforted in the fact that God knows your situation. He has already been preparing all of the people who will be needed to be His hands and feet. He even knows that sometimes we do not even know how to pray, what to pray, but the precious Holy Spirit intercedes for us on our behalf.
Romans 8:26 says, And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Our son spent the rest of the week in ICU. He had a few terrible, bad days. Days that caused us to wonder if the Lord was going to take him home. There were days when all we could do is pray and think positively and speak scripture to encourage and reassure our family. We found strength in the Lord standing on His Word.
At the end of the week, his fever broke, and they moved him out of ICU, then two days later we brought him home. I am humbled to say that he is strong, healthy, and has no form of malaria left in his body. He is married to his sweetheart and is currently serving and working at East Texas Baptist Encampment. God is so good!
Friends, whatever your struggle is today, God has got this! Trust Him. He is so worthy, and totally capable of handling whatever problem you have!
Romans 8:28 - And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Kristi Bean, wife of Donald Bean, has been in ministry with her husband for the past 27 years. They currently serve at Calvary Baptist Church in Nederland and have been there for 15 years. Kristi also works full-time as Ministry Assistant to the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Nederland. They have three grown and married children, Ashley, Amanda and Mikeal; sons-in-love Jamey and Ricky and daughter-in-love, Judy. Kristi loves spending time with her “Sweet Bean” husband and family, reading, teaching and mentoring.