Coincidence or God sent?

How I Chose Between Faith VS Fear

I was numb. I was indifferent. Neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I refused to waste another tear over our situation because that’s all it would be – an absolute waste.

That’s how I was feeling as I sat there in my husband’s hospital room. It was the summer of 2008 and it was our tenth hospital visit that year.

Our minister said there are two ways God answers prayers – He either delivers you or sustains you.  It could be that we’re simply being sustained – not quite delivered yet but sustained. Perhaps the events of the last few weeks have made me realize that we absolutely have no control.  Not that I didn’t know that already. At that time, we were just riding the wave of uncertainty and just seeing where God will take us next. Hands raised in total submission and surrender.

Taking It One Day At A Time

It’s been day-to-day living. One step forward and one step back. Faithful one day, then fearful the next. We were always “full” of something.

I realized that you can’t be high on “faith” and high on “fear” at the same time, one is always higher on the see-saw of life.  This constant fight between faith vs fear had been eight long years dealing with my husband, Jason’s cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart) along with other complications that came with it while raising two young kids.  

"You can’t be high on faith and high on fear at the same time… one is always higher on the see-saw of life." Share on X

A few months before, he had an emergency open-heart surgery, after a routine procedure of correcting his arrhythmia went sour. I don’t know that we were better or worse off spiritually. We were just there. Existing. We had done and are doing all we could. We asked for prayers, we asked for the anointing of oil and we begged for strength. Perhaps this feeling of indifference or “anesthesia”, as I refer to it,  is the “strength” we’ve been asking for.

We’ve gone through so many levels that sometimes I can’t tell the difference anymore. All I knew was we were still in the thick of it all, with no clear indication of a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve finally come to the full acceptance of our situation instead of hoping for a different reality. Coming to the full realization of acceptance, was perhaps the strength we’ve been praying for. I often reminded myself of the amazing strength our Lord Jesus Christ had, always in full acceptance and submission to God’s will for his life.

But in the toughest of days, no matter how many people tried to reach out to us, they had no idea what it was like to be in our shoes and spend the minutes, hours and days the same way we did ours.

Coincidence or God Sent?

When life is hard, God is still good. #Faith #TheStruggleIsReal

All I prayed for was for God to let us know somehow that He is still watching over us. And it’s funny how He finds a way in showing us.  In our weakest moments, thoughts of “is this a punishment for our family” linger in our minds. But then He does little things that make us think otherwise.

Of all the nurses that could possibly take care of Jason this time around, we end up getting the same nurses that took care of him from last time (the really nice ones), even though we’re on the other end of the cardiac wing. They are more caring because they know us and have gotten to know our family. Coincidence or God sent?

Being able to see and acknowledge these micro blessings became our saving grace. I fought hard to find the good in the every day. There are days where I witnessed my once, strong and burly 36-year-old husband constantly puking so hard that his whole body would shake in a cold sweat with no energy left to even just open his eyes or how simply inhaling air was a chore. But at night at home, as we do our routine “3 things you’re thankful for” with my seven and four-year-old, I hear their prayers as they plead to God to help their dad, I then see the strength of their young faithful hearts. It’s those moments when fear takes a back seat and faith is in the lead.

Faith vs Fear

It doesn’t have to be an illness that forces one to watch “faith” vs “fear” in a boxing ring. Life gives us many opportunities to watch and experience these matches.  And just when you think you’ve developed an immunity for pain, it still hurts every time it comes to visit. The only thing that changes is the tolerance level and spiritual muscles to punch your way through it all.

It’s now 2019 and seeing excerpts from my journal like the one above, has allowed me to realize that I must always choose faith in every boxing match because like Romans 8:28 NIV states, “all things work together for good to those who love God.”

A few weeks after I had written that entry, Jason was put on the heart transplant list and because of God’s mercy, he received a new heart six days later.

Six days.

Coincidence or God sent?

God is So Good

Our hearts exploded in gratitude to Him but also to the selfless act of the donor family. Since then, Jason still had some complications here and there. He needed a hip replacement years later and just two years ago, he needed a kidney transplant. And as God’s plans would have it, I ended being the one  “God sent” because I was his match and my left kidney is now a part of him, but that’s for another blog.  And by now, I’m sure you’ll understand why I no longer believe in coincidences.

But all in all, he is a healthy, strong and God-fearing 47-year-old who leads our family in prayer, a youth group leader, part of the choir in our church and is a peer to peer mentor at Stanford Hospital, where he received both his transplants.

Jason’s prayer was simple. He begged God to give him the physical strength he needed to keep serving Him and to be of service to others. And when that became our focus, instead of the fearful unknowns of the illness that plagued him, it changed us. Needless to say, “faith” holds the winning title in our lives.

Join The Conversation

What helps you make the choice when it comes down to faith vs fear? Do you have any stories you could share or tips to recommend? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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About The Author

Aliw Garcia Pablo is a wife, mom of two teens and kidney donor to her loving husband.  A child of God and storyteller at heart, she has dedicated her life the last 20 years as a Christian media producer telling meaningful stories of how God works in our lives.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and new pup.

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  1. A book I recently read on contentment defined it as a “deep satisfaction with the will of God.” The author went on to point out that Christ was not just submissive to the will of God in going to the cross but CONTENT with God’s will. That gave me such a different perspective on what it means to submit to God in each and every situation I find myself in! Contentment is found in gratitude, and is as you mentioned, our saving grace in difficult circumstances. It’s the knock out punch in the boxing match I guess 🙂
    Grace and peace be with you and your family as you follow after God on a path that not everyone travels. Thank you for your faithful witness during such times.

    1. Hi Marty! Thanks for your comment and kind words. I love that definition of “contentment”, it’s so true! I will be sure to share it with my family. Isn’t it ironic that we see the vibrant color in life in our darkest moments, but only if we open our eyes wide enough to see it. Thanks again for the sharing your perspective. God bless!

  2. “Being able to see and acknowledge these micro blessings became our saving grace. ” This is such a powerful truth, one that I’ve experienced during many seasons of my life. I’m so thankful your husband is now healthy and that you were able to give him the gift of one of your own kidneys as part of that process.

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