Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Lessons learned while in the Emergency Room

God is with us
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 
– Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

There is little in this world that tests both faith and patience like the emergency room. I would know. I’ve spent an awful lot of time in them recently with loved ones in health crises.

We’ve arrived in a rush, panicked, and after vitals are taken and decisions made we wait. Nurses come and go with various treatments and tests and we wait. I’m not a particularly impatient person, but I’m used to being in charge, and when sickness comes, it’s the boss. A kind of tension develops between the fervency of my prayer and the stretches of time with no updates.

It’s in these moments that I think about Psalm 46:10a (ESV), “Be still and know that I am God.” The song floats through my mind as well. Being still is not something I excel at. I’m a doer. When trouble starts, I make a plan to end it.

But in life there’s so much I can’t plan my way around, so much that is outside my control. Sometimes I have to sit in it and deal with the trouble as it is. It’s easy to be angry at God in these moments, to doubt that He’s even paying attention to what I’m going through. That’s when I remember this verse from Joshua.

God is with me wherever I go, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even in the emergency room when things seem pretty bleak, He’s there.

When my daughter was a toddler she’d often run ahead of me, giggling with happiness at her newfound freedom. She’d look around and think she was alone, but I was there. I was with her, watching, making sure she didn’t get lost. I think that’s how God is with us – we can’t see Him or feel Him, but He’s with us in our troubles.

God has not promised us an easy life, free of difficulty. Far from it.

The New Testament is full of warning that we’ll face persecution and trials. But we won’t be alone. We can draw strength from our saving faith in Jesus Christ to be “strong and courageous.” If we try to draw from ourselves, we’re lost. The reserve of strength inside us is limited. I’ve hit my limit more times than I can count. It’s a terrible feeling to know that you’re at the very end of whatever emotional and physical strength that you have. It’s a lonely feeling as well.

Instead of relying on ourselves, we need to remember that God is with us. He is our strength, and, in reality, He is where any strength that we might seem to have comes from. We don’t need to despair or fear.

God is walking with us, sitting in the emergency room with us, the boardroom, the courtroom, the classroom. God is with us so we can be strong with His strength and courageous to live the life that He has given us.

So don’t be frightened, don’t be dismayed. Wherever we go, God goes with us.

Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at


  1. Thank you so much for this amazing word!! I'm going through something very trying with my 16 year old daughter and I needed this reminder more than I could begin to explain and will probably be reading it repeatedly over the next few weeks!

    1. Parenting teens is one of the most challenging things I've experienced! I pray that God brings you strength and comfort and all the wisdom. He's right there with us. :)


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