This past Saturday, I received a text message from my mother:
“Have daddy in ER- they are transferring him to Greenville- think he is having heart attack…”
Zach and I had gone to London for the day, and I had just paid my 50p to use the public toilet (yes, they make you pay for that here, and no, they don’t use the word restroom). And now I’m sitting in the stall, slightly hyperventilating, trying to figure out how in the world Zach can convince the worker outside that he needs to enter the women’s toilet to carry me out of there since my body seems to have stopped functioning. Somehow, I managed to pull myself together and get back to where Zach was waiting to fill him in on what was going on. He held me while I cried from the realization that England was actually quite a long way from where I wanted to be in that moment.
To quickly summarize the next few days, after several tests it was discovered that my dad did not have a heart attack, but did have two partial blockages in the artery often referred to as “The Widow Maker”. Scary stuff, but something that would not require surgery, just medication and healthy lifestyle changes. The Lord seems to have orchestrated these events to let us know there was an issue in time to fix it, and we were so grateful for His sovereignty and grace in this situation.
It’s ironic that I was visiting London on the day this all occurred, a place that was my go-to answer for years if I was asked, “If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?” Upon receiving that text, London wasn’t quite the answer I would have given if asked that question again. But we pushed through and were met with good news after our waiting.
The Sunday night after our London trip, we went to the church we’ve settled into here in Cambridge, Eden Baptist. Matt, the assistant pastor, was finishing up a sermon series on Habakkuk. It was such a timely message, and as He often does, God used His people and, even more importantly, His Word to speak to my heart in loving and convicting ways. The following verses especially resonated with me:
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17-18, emphasis added
Sometimes, even in your favorite place on earth, it’s hard to see the fig tree’s blossom. Sometimes it’s just not there. There have been times in this journey that I find myself feeling guilty over my “sad days” because, after all, Emily, this is what you wanted. This is your favorite place in the whole wide world. But sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like it. And other days (perhaps even most days), I can see the fig tree’s buds and the vine’s fruit and I am just so happy to live in this place. But whatever the morning brings to my eyes, I can still say with Habakkuk, “Yet I will exult in the LORD”, because He deserves our rejoicing, no matter where – or how – we are.