MAI-Asia recently held a writing contest for LittWorld 2022 on the focus: “Tell us about a time when God came through for you.” The top two entries were awarded a full registration for LittWorld 2022. The winning entry, “My Eyes Are on You,” was written by Daffodil Dedel. Congratulations, Daffodil!
My Eyes Are on You
by Daffodil Dedel
I woke up on the morning of April 24, 2020, with an uneasy feeling. Something was not right. I had been working from home since Manila and the surrounding areas had been placed under community quarantine due to the COVID pandemic. Every day, I would wake up to the sound of my mother moving around the house or fixing breakfast in the kitchen. She had always been an early riser, and I usually emerged from my room to find her sitting at the dining table, having her morning devotions. Only on that day, she wasn’t. She was still in bed.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night,” she said.
I told her to take it easy and catch up on sleep. I reasoned that it must have been the coffee she drank the day before; she had a low tolerance for caffeine. I thought that she was just having an off day and hoped she would feel better soon. I had no idea that it was the beginning of a long journey through illness that would stretch us almost to breaking point.
Instead of getting better, my mother’s health steadily declined. She developed fever on the following day and complained of pain in her pelvic area. She refused to go to the doctor, but on the third day her temperature spiked and every step caused her so much pain that she could barely walk. I remember holding her in my arms as she shivered violently, her teeth chattering. I fought to remain calm, but my heart hammered. All I could do was hold her tight and pray as I waited for the fever medicine to take effect.
With help from some of our relatives, I took her to the hospital where she was admitted. She had elevated blood sugar levels, a urinary tract infection, and pneumonia. Antibiotics got rid of the infection and fever, but the pain in her pelvic area grew worse although an x-ray revealed no fracture. She was discharged from the hospital, but was admitted again the following week. By this time she was listless and weak, groggy from the pain relievers. She no longer took an interest in what was going on around her even when she was awake, and she barely talked.
It became a daily struggle to get her to eat, drink water, and take her medicines. One night she flatly refused to take anything. No amount of coaxing on my part could move her, and all she would say was, “Ayoko na” (“I no longer want to” or “I’ve had enough”). I was terrified that she wasn’t just talking about taking her medicines, but about fighting to live.
“I don’t know what to do,” I told my brother tearfully that night when he called to ask how Mama was doing. I told God the same thing, with an additional phrase: “I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.”
I would repeat that sentence over and over again throughout my mother’s illness. In fact, it was the only coherent prayer I can remember praying during that time. I was echoing what King Jehoshaphat said to the Lord in 2 Chronicles 20:12 (ESV), when he and his people were threatened by powerful enemies: “We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” And I clung to the Lord’s response to Jehoshaphat, which He gave through the Levite Jahaziel: “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. … Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem” (verses 15 and 17).
I had read that chapter in my Bible a few days before my mother got sick. Then it had been an inspiring narrative that stuck in my memory; now it became a lifeline. Those words grounded me by spelling out what I should do: Stand firm. Hold my position. Watch and see what God would do. They were doable, and at first glance they seemed easy. But I discovered that there were times when it was all I could do to stand firm, to keep doing my duty as my mother’s primary caregiver without giving in to discouragement or despair. It was all I could do, but it was enough, as the Lord was the one fighting the battle for me.
And did God come through? Absolutely, but not in the way I expected. I was hoping for a quick fix, for my mother to recover and our lives to return to normal as soon as possible. Instead, the Lord allowed us to go through an entire season that included a mild stroke, a fall resulting in a head wound that needed stitching, three more hospital confinements, weeks of physical therapy, and months of slow recovery before my mother regained her old strength and zest for living. I was looking for a miracle to come like a sunburst, but it came like the sunrise: slowly, gradually, allowing my eyes to adjust to the light until I realized the darkness was gone.
Now when I look back at those difficult days, I am filled with amazement and gratitude at what God has done for us. Those were some of the most trying times of my life but also some of the most blessed. I felt God’s love in the friends, family members, and brothers and sisters in the faith who prayed for us, encouraged us, extended financial assistance, served us, or simply stayed with us. I experienced His peace that passes understanding. I discovered that His grace is sufficient for all my needs, and that His answers are wiser than my requests.
I kept watching to see Him coming to rescue me, and realized that He has been beside me all along.