I close my eyes and focus on soaking up the warmth of the sun. It is halftime, and I am exactly where I most love to be: on the sideline, cheering on my girls and their coach. This is my joy.
Just before the game is about to resume, I hear the prompting. Pray for protection for Meg. My heart begins to beat a little faster, but I rest in gratitude for the prompting. I will. I begin to pray. And every few minutes for the rest of the half, I continue that prayer. For protection. For Meg.
It is in the last two minutes of the game that it happens. Meg comes around the back of the goal intent on defending it. Her cleats move quickly across the turf, her lacrosse stick raised. She rushes the goal just as the opponent shoots, releasing the ball in one fluid motion, sending it flying toward the left corner of the net. It happens so fast that I can’t see where the ball went; I just see Meg collapse on the ground.
The referees run over. They yell frantically for the coach, their arms beckoning in urgency. I watch Greg run from the coach’s box and kneel down at our daughter’s side and then hear him yelling for me to grab the keys. I watch him scoop Meg up in his arms, how he cradles her against his body as he begins to run. I follow, trying to catch up, adrenaline coursing through my veins. Keys in hand. Pain shooting through my heart. Why did the protection not come? Why? Why, God?
I look Meg over carefully when we get in the car. Her left eye is swollen beyond recognition. Where soft lashes would normally rest on smooth skin, I see her bruised and reddened skin stretched tight. A huge mass swells where her eye would normally be, as if a golf ball has been inserted underneath. She is in intense pain, and we drive the two blocks to where the hospital waits, just down the street from the high school field.
We enter the emergency room and the medical staff takes over, using sophisticated machinery to assess the damage. Bright lights. Blue gloves. Meg whimpering in pain. I try to chase the bitterness from my heart. Why did He not hear my prayer? Why send the prompting if it wasn’t going to be answered? I feel the anger rush in with the fear, the doubt settling in thick. There is no trusting here.
Finally, Meg is calm. The doctor walks in from looking at the reports and sits on the round black stool to talk to Greg and me. “She is really lucky,” he says. “A quarter inch lower and it would have shattered her cheekbone; a quarter inch higher and it would have damaged her eye; a quarter inch to the left and it would have hit a major artery—she could have been killed.” He paused for a moment and then said the words I will never forget. “Your daughter was miraculously protected.”
And for some reason, I had first turned to doubt.
In Even This, Emily Belle Freeman shares her own deeply personal experiences of feeling forgotten by God—from the fear of abandonment in a dark hospital room to the desperation that followed months of unanswered prayers. In a moment of honesty, she found herself asking the question she had been afraid to consider: "Where is God in this?"
Through biblical insight, genuine realness, and beautiful prose, Emily will help you discover how to:
- Diminish the power of doubt by coming to understand why the place of deepest asking is where the believing begins.
- Stop letting fear dictate the depth of your belief through daily reflections that will restore your confidence in God.
- Let go of your need to control by discovering what is holding you back from being completely vulnerable with God.