The Reality of Hope // GUEST POST: LAUREN MILLER
Lauren Miller, and her husband, Don, have been some of our dearest friends in LA for years now. We first met through the Young Marrieds class at Bel Air Pres, and to this day, they host our weekly small group, just a few blocks from our house, the group that we have called our LA family for nearly 6 years. In that time, we have certainly lived an incredible amount of life together. Lauren happens to be one of the more insightful and articulate people we know--not surprisingly, she has shifted from a successful legal career to a successful writing career (more info on her debut novel, "Parallel", here). In this poignant guest blog, Lauren recounts the hours directly following Katherine's stoke and the movement of prayer and hope that resulted. This brought tears to our eyes. Thank you, Lauren!
I was in the kitchen, making a peanut butter sandwich, when I got the call. "Katherine’s been rushed to the hospital," my friend said. Something to do with her brain. Ten minutes later, that friend, his wife and I were on our way to UCLA hospital in Westwood. We got there just as Katherine did, from UCLA Santa Monica. There were only a few of us in that first waiting room. The ER waiting room. It was nothing like the warm and homey place where we spent the next several months, in 24-hour shifts, in what we called (and announced with a bright banner), “Katherine’s Corner.” This waiting room was sterile, like an airport, with hard plastic seats, and the lighting was harsh and unflinching. This is an emergency, our surroundings screamed. It was helpful, in a way, since the reality of what was happening hadn’t sunk in for any of us.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t supposed to.
What is “reality,” anyway? Is it what appears to be true in the present moment, or is it something that is true even when it seems impossible that it could be? Was the “reality” in those early hours and days after Katherine’s stroke that she was on the brink of death? Or was the reality that she was in the process of being healed, from the moment her brain began to bleed?
As the hours passed, the crowd gathered at UCLA to pray for Katherine grew from a half dozen to close to a hundred, but in that first waiting room there were only a handful of us, and the faces were all familiar. They were the faces of people Katherine called her LA family -- people she and Jay always said they were “doing life” with. We didn’t talk much as we waited, so I had no idea what the others were thinking or feeling, but somehow we made a decision together in those early moments. Or maybe, more likely, the Lord enabled us to do what we otherwise couldn’t have.
We chose to live in His reality instead of our own.
I think it’s why there were fewer tears than I would’ve expected. Rather than dwelling in the uncertainty and fear of the present moment, we’d opted instead to inhabit a future moment, the time when Katherine would be restored.
We were overwhelmed by IFs (there were so many ifs -- if she would live, if she would wake up, if she would be able to move, if she would ever eat or speak or walk). But we let go of those IFs in favor of WHEN. As we gathered together to pray that evening as Katherine was in surgery and the medical odds of her recovery were slimmer than slim, we approached the Lord boldly, both as individuals and as a group, thanking him not only for the miracles He’d already accomplished but praising him for the ones that lay in store. We did not pretend to know that he would heal her completely. We did not condition our praise on her healing. What we did was put our faith in His goodness and in His promise that all things work together for good for those who love Him. In short, we HOPED. It was all we could do.
This, I believe, is what created the Pray for Katherine Wolf movement. The one that stalled computer servers and crashed UCLA’s network. The phenomenon that brought thousands of people all across the globe to their knees before God within hours of Katherine’s stroke. I think somehow the people who came together to pray -- regardless of whether they even believed in the God they were praying to -- felt the power of the Living God, and the power of the miracles He was accomplishing, even before those miracles were accomplished. And so, together, we were all just waiting for the outcome that we knew God would deliver. Again, it wasn’t that we were certain of what lie in store for Katherine. Far from it. What we were certain of was God’s goodness and his infinite love for his daughter, and we stood upon that goodness and that love with every ounce of our beings, boldly asking God simply to do what He does best: restore to wholeness what had been broken.